On May 18, SunGard K-12 Education presented Closing the Achievement Gap: The Bloomfield Blueprint, which showcased efforts by Bloomfield Public Schools, Conn. During the session, which was moderated by Joel Hames, SunGard K-12 Education’s vice president of product, Bloomfield’s superintendent, Dr. James Thompson, and the district’s accountability, performance, and assessment officer, Dr. Bethany Silver, shared insights and initiatives that have been instrumental in closing the achievement gap.
Hames launched the session, saying, “One of the most challenging issues in American education today is the observed, persistent disparity of educational measures between the performance of particular groups of students, especially those groups defined by socioeconomic status, race, language, and special learning needs. Commonly referred to as the ‘achievement gap,’ this problem often becomes apparent when observing measures, such as standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and college enrollment and completion rates.
“In March 2015, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, a nonprofit organization that has a stated mission of closing the achievement gap and raising the academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut, highlighted Bloomfield Public Schools, Conn., for excellence in addressing this issue. Connecticut historically has had one of the widest achievement gaps in the nation. However, tangible and encouraging progress is occurring in Bloomfield Public Schools as a result of the district’s Accountability Plan.”
During the webinar, Dr. Thompson described what he found when he became Bloomfield’s superintendent four years ago. “The student performance data was very uneven. The elementary and middle school students were performing fairly well, but the high school in 2011 was cited by the state Department of Education as one of the five lowest-performing high schools in the state,” he explained. “In addition, the district was, and still is to some degree, one of the most segregated districts in the state.”
To address the identified achievement gap, the district developed and launched an Accountability Plan, which had as its components a vision, a theory of action, and four priorities—Holistic Accountability; Rigorous Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; Positive School Climate; and Family and Community Engagement.
To learn more about Bloomfield’s initiatives and their outcomes, please watch this webinar: