NEW BRITAIN - Despite still lagging behind much of the state, New Britain students made improvements in English language arts and math assessments last year.
According to the school district’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) results, elementary and middle school students in the city scored higher in ELA and math last year than in 2016-2017. The assessments are made up of four levels, with level 3 meaning “meeting expectations” and level 4 representing students who “exceeded expectations.”
The school district’s assistant chief talent officer, Nicole Sanders, and District-wide Director of Research and Development John Taylor presented achievement results to the Board of Education on Monday.
The percentage of students who hit level 3 or 4 in ELA last year increased to 22 percent from 19.4 percent in 2016-2017. For high needs students, that percentage improved from 16.2 percent to 18.9 percent.
Though not as large as the improvements in ELA, math scores increased last year as well. Some 13.7 percent of students hit level 3 or 4 in math last year, up from 12.2 percent in 2016-2017. For high needs students, that percentage went from 9.8 percent in 2016-2017 to 11.3 percent last year.
Taylor pointed out Jefferson Elementary School as a school that had outstanding gains last year. Students at Jefferson gained 10.7 percentage points in ELA achievement and 14.8 percentage points in math from 2016-2017 to last school year.
“That’s a very significant gain,” Taylor said of Jefferson.
Despite the gains, New Britain students are still behind their peers in terms of achievement. Last school year 55.3 percent of students in the state met or exceeded level 3 or 4 in ELA and 46.8 percent did the same in math.
“Overall, it’s good news that we’re moving up … but we have a lot of work to do,” Taylor said during the presentation.
Sanders and Taylor spoke about the district’s strategic priorities when it comes to student achievement. Among other things, the school district’s revamped curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math and increased teacher collaboration time will help the district close the achievement gap, Sanders said.
In other action Monday:
n Superintendent Nancy Sarra announced that the district has received an additional $367,000 from the state to go towards servicing students displaced from Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico last fall. The money will go to the school district once the Common Council amends the Board of Education’s budget to receive the funds.
n The Board of Education accepted several donations, including: $750 from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain for New Britain High School’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid assistance event, sponsored by the American Savings Foundation; approximately $2,000 from Donors Choose to help address student engagement and attendance; $9,375 from the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut from the school district’s agreement with CHDI to implement a School-Based Diversion Initiative program, which aimed to reduce out-of-school suspensions. The agreement was incentive-based and the schools that used the programs met the criteria.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.