Extensive curriculum audit underway at New Haven Public Schools

New Haven

New Haven Public Schools district is peeling back the layers to improve your child’s education. It’s happening all this week during a top-to-bottom curriculum audit ordered by NHPS Superintendent Carol Birks.

“We are going deep and wide looking at our operational efficiencies and effectiveness,” said Birks, in an exclusive interview with News 8’s Mario Boone. 

 “We’re looking at our overall instructional practices, our curriculum, our assessments How are we assessing students’ performance,” Birks explained.

District leaders agree the massive review has not been done in many, many years. We asked Birks if such a deep examination gives her pause.

“It’s scary but we have to do it so that we can get better for our kids,” Birks told us.

Graduation rates dipped slightly in 2018 following a steady uptick the previous three years. It’s one of the areas Holly Kaptain’s team of auditors will be tasked with addressing. Kaptain’s company, Curriculum Management Solutions, brought in 14 auditors from around the nation to perform the deep dive.

Related: New Jersey lawmakers want to ban Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn’ from school curriculum

“We are all educators,” Kaptain said. “We’ve all been teachers, principals, curriculum directors.”

The district is spending $90,000 in grant money for Kaptain’s team to help NHPS build on what works and fix what doesn’t.

“We have to show here’s where you’re not getting the results and the learning that you want,” Kaptain said of the audit.

The review is being met with cautious optimism from parents like Marissa Cullen, who recently battled NHPS over a foul odor problem at Nathan Hale School where her child attends.

“I think it’s phenomenal as far as them trying to improve,” Cullen mentioned. “I’m still not a hundred percent convinced they’re going to follow through on what they’re saying they’re going to do.”

Board of Education chairman Darnell Goldson released a statement in support of the audit:

“The board unanimously approved having the audit because as far as we know it’s never been done.  In the short term I want to see the voice of our stakeholders included in the audit, recommendations, and implementation of its findings.  The long term goal is to see increased performance within NHPS.”

The audit findings will be made public possibly as soon as June.

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