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Equity and Excellence Review Gets State Funding Approval

Windsor Public Schools received approval to use state aid to fund Dr. Marlon James' controversial equity and excellence review at Windsor High School.

Windsor Public Schools have gotten a fiscal thumbs up from the state department of education, receiving approval to use a portion of a state grant to fund an equity and excellence review at Windsor High School.

The grant, called an Alliance Grant, was awarded to Windsor in September — an annual grant worth $306,985 for three years — to help the school district improve performance.

Identifying the equity and excellence review to be conducted by Loyola University-Chicago's Dr. Marlon James as part of the district's efforts to improve district performance, Villar, upon receiving orders to contract James, applied for the state to accept an amendment to the planned use of Windsor's alliance grant funds.

According to Villar, the approval received from the state ensures all costs associated with the equity and excellence review will be covered by state aid.

"I am pleased that the State Department of Education has elected to support this initiative that represents a significant opportunity for the Windsor Public Schools,” said Villar. “The financial support provided by the State will allow the District to move forward with important reform efforts, while reassuring local taxpayers that they are not shouldering an additional burden during difficult economic times.”

James' equity and excellence review will cost just over $100,000 per year for the next three years, accouting for about one-third of the alliance grant funds.

Villar said he was particularly pleased with the approval of the use of alliance grant funds because "the state department seemed to udnerstand how the (equity and excellence review) is aligned with district improvement efforts."

Additionally, Villar expressed pleasure with the state department's ability to view cultural education as a critical part of academic improvement.

Windsor School Graduate December 21, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Mr. Slate, I truly appreciate your reply. I've watched you speak at these meetings several times and admire you and Michaela for speaking up. Unfortunately, I've lost all hope when it comes to our government - be it federal, state or municipal. I went to all of the Windsor schools. They were not controlled by unions or the state. I had a very good education afforded me by the taxpayers and worked a very long time. I too have spent my hard earned dollars for the education provided to the towns children. I do not like the attitudes of the people expecting everyone to bow down to them because of this problem. When I was in school we had many ethnic groups and people of color. We were all treated the same - and that is the difference. I show no preference to anyone. I'm just tired of listening to these people complain about everything. We have some of the best schools, excellent teachers and problem children. That's the difference, and that is what is going on.
George Slate December 21, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Just to repeat one thing that I said at the December 18 BOE meeting -- In talking to an attorney at the CT Department of Education after the Alliance Grant (AG) amendment was filed, it appears that the State of CT competitive bidding process is NOT attached to the AG, as amended. Some other CT contract processes are attached to the AG, as amended. I'll write some about the BOE competitive bidding process later.
Malvi Lennon December 21, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Over the past four years, the "race" issue has become the weapon that some run towards when a white person questions the ideas or the credentials of a black person. This is especially true if the questions have merit. Frankly, I find that the race thing in and itself is racist. Because I believe that racism is a sign of ignorance, I tend to think the people employing the race-baiting tactic are just plain stupid and do not deserve to be engaged by people looking for meaningful discourse.
George Slate December 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Thank you for your kind words. I want to share something that was triggered in my mind when reading your words "excellent teachers." When the BOE went into executive session at one its recent meetings, I spoke to BOE member Paul Panos for a while (more on this conversation in a later Patch comment). He cannot attend executive sessions regarding union compensation contracts since he has family members who work in the Windsor Public Schools (WPS). One of his comments was that he would not trade Windsor's teachers for Simsbury's teachers. He understands that Simsbury's test results are higher than Windsor's, and was not saying anything bad about Simsbury's teachers. He was saying that Windsor's teachers accomplish a great deal given the multicultural and broader socioeconomic make up of the WPS student population. He believes that Windsor's teachers could at least duplicate Simsbury's test results if they were teaching Simsbury's students, but Simsbury's teachers would be hard pressed to at least duplicate Windsors test results if they were teaching Windsor's students.
Windsor School Graduate December 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Mr. Slate when I was a younger child my parents were not wealthy but they worked hard and saved everything. I grew up with that principle taught by my parents. If the people in this town think they have it so terribly bad, I suggest they save their $$ and go across country. Our native americans live on reservations - not because they like it there, but because "our government" took everything from them and put them there. Those people WISH they had what is here in town. Shoot!! go to Appalachia. These people are poor and just left behind. So, I suggest people start appreciating and be thankful for what they DO have. Teach your children well and love them. I've learned so much more by traveling and learning from people who have so much less. Each time I came home I was so grateful to my folks and the way I was brought up - not to mention the town I grew up in.

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