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Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I had told myself I wasn't going to write about this, but I don't think there is a better example of what is wrong with Hartford's schools.

Last night I received a call from a 15 year old girl who is a student at Weaver High School, and I want to apologize to her upfront for writing about this, but even though I know her name, I won't post it out of respect for our conversation.

When she called she asked if she could talk to me about my blog. The caller was very well spoken and she told me that she was a student at Weaver and both herself and many or her friends read the blog and she wanted to talk about some of the things I posted.

The conversation went well for a while and she said that I was right about the conditions at Weaver. She told me how she had at times thrown her lunch out because she would lose her appetite watching bugs and roaches running on the walls. She told me about days when it seemed like it was warmer outside than it was in the school because of the lack of heat.

She told me about the lack of equipment and teaching materials. She even told me about the principal that would come into the classroom and scream at other students.

Suddenly, she began crying and told me she was going to drop out of school because she couldn't deal with it anymore. She said most of the kids realized that many of the so called "leaders" were all about the money and not at all about the kids.

How do you respond to that? How do you try to convince her that she is exactly right, many of the adults are about the money, but hang in there anyways since it is definitely better than dropping out and ending up on the streets?

It just doesn't make any sense and it seems difficult to try to make sense out of it to someone living it. As much as many try to blame the problems on children and parents who don't want to learn, I think it is so much more about a system that is so broke and doesn't want to change.

How fast do you think the conditions at Weaver High School would change if suddenly Superintendent Adamowski was told to pack up the 960 Main Street "Taj Mahal" because their offices were being moved to Weaver.
Adamoski's gold lettered signs and mahogany desks and woodwork would be replaced. Replaced with spray painted stencils on cinder block walls used as signs to direct you around a building eerily similar to a prison.

Imagine Adamowski and Kelvin Roldan eating their catered Max Bibo lunches on desks and tables with roaches scattering about. Imagine Dr. Kishimoto using a rest room with mold and filth and no toilet paper or handsoap.

Maybe then the conditions might actually become about the kids, and a fifteen year old who really wants to succeed wouldn't be crying about the thought of dropping out. Maybe then our schools would be about educating children rather than about making adults rich.

The phone call from a 15 year old seemed to bring it much more into perspective but it also makes you wonder what it will take to change things. Hopefully my fifteen year old caller will finish her education and consider going into education herself, with a commitment not to repeat the mistakes she has had forced upon her by the adults currently doing it for the money.

I guess we can hope.


Insider said...

Kevin you are right on with you comments and your blog overall. What's interesting is that Weaver was one of Kishimotos so called redesigns. I cannot believe this is who they are going to let run the school system. Weaver joins Burns and Milner on a long list of so called redesigns that have failed. Look into the data. Since being redesigned very few of her schools have actually achieved anything but they slapped that lipstick on the pig and people accepted it.

Anonymous said...

Why are the nine board members not going to these schools and reporting back to the B.O.E.
You would think as part of being a member of this board they would already be doing this? No student should have to be dealing with these conditions! Why isn't the chair of the Common Council Education committee stepping up and doing anything? It seems these people are only reactive, not Proactive.
Eight months ans all will change!!

Insider said...

This entire process was a setup. Anyone who works at the HBOE knows that this was in the bag for Kishimoto. Milly used to swear, literally swear, when she thought it was going to be Kishimoto. She was backing Dr. James Thompson early on and then changed her stripes when she realized Kishimoto would be the nominee because she wants her parent university started up. Shes not alone either, Marta Bentham was also not a fan of Kishimoto, but she wants to keep her job so she got on the bandwagon too. The principal of Belizzi wsa on the search comittee. Do you know who her supervisor is? Kevin, McCaskill. Wanna know who he answers to? Christina Kishimoto! Mr. Mayor stand your ground on this one!

Anonymous said...

Kevin, please let this student know that as hard as it is, she can rise above this. She has been failed by a system that is less an entity for the benefit of children and more an employment agency for adults. Tell her not to let them win by walking away from her education. Tell her to find a mentor - I can give you a few names. They can connect her to other education options and prove to her that there are adults who do care and do want to help her realize her dreams.

Anonymous said...

Folks, are you even aware that HPS is trying to invest over $40 million to reinvent Weaver, but the commnunity is putting up all types of roadblocks? Please try to be balanced in your reporting. For every student you find that has a hearbreaking story, there is one that HPS worked for and whose life it changed.

Anonymous said...

The students at Weaver deserve better. How is it possible that it was better off before the so-called reform of the last decade? There are too many low-level academies in Hartford. How many chefs can we have? nurses? enough with culinary, nursing & these themed academies. Let's focus on getting more kids ready for college. Kids are tracked too early and have to choose career paths in 8th grade. What ever happened to a normal high school experience? Students at Weaver have been robbed of that. It's awful.

AbilioSol said...

Kevin, as a Hartford teacher (not at Weaver) I know exactly how this girl feels. I have often taught my third grade class in 40 degree temperatures bundled in jackets and scarves. The roof continually leaks and mold is growing everywhere. One week we actually had tarps hanging across the hallways to keep water from hitting the floor. The discrepancies in buildings across the city is quite noticable. Thankfully, I believe in the children of Hartford and care for them deeply, or else I'd be teaching elswehere.

Anonymous said...

A very touching story. Its sad that Weaver and other schools are lacking learning materials and the buildings resemble prisons! The MAGNET SCHOOLS on the other hand are Mini Taj Mahals with hand picked students from all over.Just check out Hartfords Learning Corridor near Trinity, Hartford Middle Magnet,Sports Science ,etc All Hartford Schools should be like Magnet Schools!
Kevin ,Dont be shocked if Tim Sullivan ends up with the Deputy Supt position (He had to have cut a deal the way he just excepted being ousted ) You heard it here first!!

peter brush said...

Its sad that Weaver and other schools are lacking learning materials and the buildings resemble prisons!
Sadder still that State law requires school attendance (ha!), and makes sure that school districts are under "local control;" i.e., you can't go to school there unless you reside there.
Gov. Malloy will be suggesting huge give-backs from other State employees. How is it that his Hartford School District teachers are looking at pay increases for the next three years?

Anonymous said...

To the smart young lady at Weaver:

Please hang in there. Don't give up. I know the conditions are appalling, but don't give the adults that want to see you fail satisfaction by dropping out.

It looks like the $150 million+ renovation of Weaver High, which the funding will mostly come from the State of CT, has been officially put on hold.,0,2946635.story

I agree with 7th District Representative Doug McCrory's comments in the article.

Now I have nothing against all these new magnet schools, but why is it that when I go to Hartford's suburbs, they still have a decent comprehensive high school in town.

Why can't the residents of Hartford keep (and significantly improve) the three comprehensive high schools we always had for years (Weaver, HPHS and Bulkeley) in addition to all the new magnet schools?