Yale Daily News

The New Haven Public Schools’ Board of Education met Monday night to unveil its “instructional frameworks,” a slate of guiding principles, for physical education, math and social sciences. 

During the meeting, the Board passed a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for staff, discussed attendance numbers for the first month of school and saw the unveiling of instructional frameworks within physical education, mathematics and social science departments of New Haven Public Schools, or NHPS. The institutional frameworks are part of NHPS Superintendent Iline Tracey’s larger strategic plan for NHPS “to be the premier urban school district that ensures access to equitable opportunities and successful outcomes for all students as they prepare for college or other futures.” 

The three presentations were a continuation of the institutional frameworks presented at the Board’s previous meeting. Board members shared praise and critiques for their instructional frameworks presentation. 

“I want to give a shout out [to district administrators],” Board member Edward Joyner said. “This is one of the most impressive board meetings I have been to in a long time with regard to teaching and learning.” 

Joyner also noted that the district is “setting a standard for every classroom … without even going into many classrooms and seeing teachers teach.” He then asked administrators about what assessments district officials would use to gauge student performance. 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Ivelise Velazquez responded by highlighting a new high school evaluation, called the High School Common Assessment, in which students have to read and annotate articles, as well as write an essay about the information they synthesize. 

The math institutional framework has eight major components. These include a focus on workshopping or guided math in which the district will combine direct instruction with hands-on and student-centered learning opportunities. 

Velazquez explained that the framework aims to move past “simply memorizing algorithms and regurgitating facts,” to “engaging them through the models in the framework.” 

Lisa Pietrosimone, Quinnipiac Magnet School Assistant Principal and former NHPS math coach, presented the math framework. She explained that the plan is focused on providing students with concrete math and problem solving interactions, while also utilizing modern technology. The plan also aims to tailor assessments to students so that the district can understand each students’ mathematical journey.

NHPS Supervisor of Social Studies Sandra Clark unveiled a history framework that “is organized on a schema that signifies the relationship to standards suggested for college, career and civic readiness with inquiry at its heart and the driving force for learning,” she said. 

The framework presented was largely drawn from the National Council on Social Studies, which sets the state and district standards for social science education in primary and secondary education. 

According to Clark, the district’s history framework is focused on learning the value of good citizenship. She added that civic engagement is a priority for the district because it is important for younger people to get involved in voting and politics.  

Overall, Clark said she hopes the framework will “lend itself to the study of our past and make sense of the present and prepare our children for the future.” 

While the institutional frameworks dominated the board meeting, it also discussed raising the minimum wage for some part-time workers. 

The board also voted on a resolution to raise the minimum wage to $14 for some nonunionized part-time workers — including clerical, paraprofessional and student and bus monitors within NHPS. 

Board member Darnell Goldson advocated for raising the minimum wage to $15 instead. He said the district should finalize the raise in the near future instead of delaying it. 

However, the rest of the board disagreed with Goldson. Other board members argued that the raise would cause nonunionized workers to have a higher wage than unionized part time workers, who have automatic pay raises due to negotiated contracts.

The Board of Education meets on a biweekly basis. 

 

YASH ROY