Borough to expand summer school

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NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck schools will expand summer school offerings to serve about 200 more students over the summer.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Chris Montini last week told the Board of Education of the plan to fund the program with state grant money earmarked for alliance school districts including Naugatuck.

Administrators want expanded summer school because Naugatuck students typically show higher scores on math and reading assessments in the middle and end of the school year than they do at the beginning of the school year.

This seems to indicate that students are learning from teachers but forgetting much of what they learn the previous school year during summer vacation, school officials said.

“We want to improve our reading and math skills because oftentimes students lose ground over the summer and it takes them some time before they rebound,” Montini said. “We’re looking to mitigate that through explicit instruction in both math and reading over the summer.”

On top of more than $30 million in educational cost sharing that the state gives Naugatuck, Connecticut kicked an additional $1.5 million to Naugatuck to help it improve. That is because Naugatuck is considered an Alliance District, or one of the 30 lowest performing school districts in Connecticut on standardized tests. Each school district that receives money must develop a plan to implement the money for the betterment of students. The plan must be approved by the state.
Naugatuck’s plan is earmarked for four main areas: improving core academic programs — $894,841; teacher and leader talent development and evaluation — $259,929; improving culture and climate — $162,459 and school operations — $276,983.

Naugatuck has used some of the money to hire a director of curriculum, instructional coaches to work with principals in their efforts to guide teachers, elementary school counselors, an administrative intern and extended learning for students who need it at Naugatuck High School. Money is also being put toward professional development for teachers, which has traditionally been cut from school operating budgets.

The expansion of summer school will allow students in grades four through nine to attend; previously only students going into grades one, two and three could attend.

The district has money for 200 students entering grades one through four, 160 students entering grades five through nine, 60 students who want credit recovery courses for high school — there is a fee of $150 per course — and 100 students to attend special education extended school services, which Naugatuck must offer per state law.

The summer school program runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, July 6 to July 31. Teachers will identify students who will be invited to the grades one through nine programs.