NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday marked the first day of school for students in New Haven. The new school year also brings a new school superintendent to the Elm City.
Madeline Negrón, the city’s first-ever Latina school superintendent, spent the morning getting to know the teachers and students at Edgewood School.
Before Negrón arrived, News 8 asked parents dropping off their kids what they would like to see the new superintendent prioritize.
“Trying to keep the teachers, and not everybody’s leaving,” parent Safia Bush said. “They don’t want to stay. I think that’s a very big thing.”
That’s a huge thing in every district. New Haven is starting the year with 91 teacher vacancies. The problem is everyone is hiring from the same small pool.
“For example, last week, we were very proud that we hired 24 new teachers,” Negrón explained. “But, at the same time, we lost 20. So, this is the challenge right now we are dealing with.”
Negrón is used to challenges. She came to Connecticut at ten years old, not speaking any English. While she spent nearly 20 years working in New Haven schools, she spent the last five in Hartford. Some worry she needs to learn about New Haven’s issues.
“Getting to know the kids in the school,” mom Shayna Washington said. “Getting to know the kids, getting to know what the teachers need.”
That is exactly why Negrón wants to do more school visits. She plans to spend two and a half hours visiting a different school daily.
“Meaning that I am going to have a 30-minute one-to-one with the building administrator,” she said. “I also want to visit at least three classrooms.”
You might think every new superintendent will visit every school in the district, but there are 41 different schools in New Haven, so that will take all of September and October.