Posts Tagged ‘achievement gap’

educational rights

Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the historic United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Twenty years after Brown, the Supreme Court essentially abandoned its commitment to school desegregation by limiting its review to intentional cases of segregation. Thus, states were under no obligation to fight segregation; but rather only ensure they did not set out to segregate schools. As a result of this lax oversight, schools today are more segregated than they were 30 years ago.

Wendy Lecker wrote this article that appears in the Stamford Advocate, to read the full story check it out right here: her-repeatedly-uphold-the-right-4601396.php


Dannel P. Malloy

Connecticut Education Information
May 28, 2013 By Jonathan Pelto

Last Friday, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education quietly ended what has widely been recognized as one of the State Department of Education’s most important and successful programs.
For years, a variety of Connecticut school districts have been receiving vital technical assistance from a group of retired superintendents and senior school administrators through a program housed at the State Department of Education.

The program has functioned thanks to a grant through EASTCONN, the Regional Education Service Center. The program has funded four State Department “Leaders in Residence,” along with three retired school superintendents. Together these people have been giving school districts across the state with critically important help on a wide variety of projects.

Together, former superintendents Mike Wasta (Bristol), Patrick Proctor (Windham), Jim Mitchel (Groton) and Leaders in Residence, Rosanne Daigneault, Warren Logee, Robert Pitocco and Salvatore Randazzo have more than 250 years of combined expertise on the cutting edge of making schools succeed. Their expertise ranges from Special Education, to improving teaching to financial management. Some have Ph.Ds. while others have Education Doctorates. All have spent their lives here in Connecticut helping improve our schools.

And now, as a result of Pryor’s most recent decision, towns will be losing the very help and expertise they so desperately need.

For the full story click on the link below:

Ansonia reading challenge worth a pie in the face- The New Haven Register – Serving New Haven, Connecticut

By Patricia Villers / Twitter: @nhrvalley

ANSONIA — On Friday, students who were the top readers in a challenge that John C. Mead Elementary School Principal Terri Goldson launched in September got their reward: An opportunity to throw pies in Goldson’s face.
The students threw whipped cream pies at Goldson, who donned a hat, sunglasses, a towel and a sheet for the event. And that was a good idea, since Goldson was covered with whipped cream in a matter of seconds. The gym erupted in squeals of laughter and applause as he tried to wipe the whipped cream from his face.

Goldson pied 2013

Click here to read the full story:  Ansonia reading challenge worth a pie in the face- The New Haven Register – Serving New Haven, Connecticut.

PrintMany of us watch or have participated in sports; they are entertaining, fun, exhilarating, competitive and challenging. If you have ever experienced coaching, there is nothing more exciting than seeing your team execute a play in a game situation, exactly as you have diagramed it or practiced over and over again. As a member of a team, there is nothing like working together to win a hard fought competition. Sports are analogous to life; all of us have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. But lack of persistence and the decision to give up after a defeat, is what separates winners and losers in life. In our day to day struggles we can’t win everything, but we sure can try. Orison Marden tells us that there are the wills, won’ts, and the can’ts. The first accomplish everything, the second oppose everything; the third fail everything. Which one are you….are you a “Game Changer?”

There are moments in competitive sports when the game is tight, seconds are ticking away and the final outcome depends on a decision that can change the course of the game. It could be a specially designed play, an extraordinary performance or a poor decision. Regardless of who or what it is, it’s considered a game changing situation.

God has given us extraordinary talents with the ability to achieve miraculous and unbelievable accomplishments. He is an example and the embodiment of the ultimate game changer and has left us, within His lessons, the blueprint for success. In our daily lives we can change our circumstances and influence others. Author Dennis Kimbro tells us that the world waits and takes notice of exceptional people who can separate themselves from the crowd and do things in a creative and exciting way. The world is searching for and craves aggressive and progressive leaders that identify with success and can show others how to attain it. Those successful leaders that I speak of are “Game Changers.”
Success glassTo be a game changer there are a number of qualities you must possess but one of them is persistence. Calvin Coolidge once said;

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unregarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Are you a……”Game Changer?”
You are a…….”Game Changer!”


Terri D. Goldson, Sr.

By Jonathan Capehart,  The Washington Post

All of this is an investment in the future of this country and striving generations to come.

Read excerpt below.

President Obama went to Georgia to push his State of the Union proposal to work with the states “to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.” He cited a statistic from the National Institute for Early Education Research that “fewer than three in 10” 4-year-olds are enrolled in this vital early education program. Just how vital was summed up in three charts from the White House.


(The White House)

One of them I showed you yesterday. At-risk children who don’t go to preschool are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 60 percent more likely not to attend college and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. As one Alabama business leader said in a New York Times story today, “The evidence is, if we don’t make this investment and we don’t make it wisely, we’re going to pay for it later.”

Click here Obama’s plan: Into preschool, out of poverty  for the full story.


In March I invited my good friend Shawn Venson to speak to the students at Mead School in Ansonia,Connecticut, regarding youth and gun violence and making right choices in life. I thought it would be the right time to have a presentation with the current climate and issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin tragedy. The Trayvon issue has been very polarizing and controversial because it has raised issues of racial profiling, judicial double standards and historically omnipresent racism. Regardless of that debate, I was compelled to bring light to similar unfortunate circumstances that have taken place right in my home town. The unfortunate events have made me pause and think, “what if” it never happened and they were alive.  What could’ve been their potential or future opportunities? “What if” they had within them a ground breaking innovation or contribution that could’ve changed their family status, community or world? What if…..

trayvon martin

 In 2011 there were separate tragic and unsolved murders of two young men, Daryl Venson and Isaiah Hernandez due to gun violence. It has been reported that the Ansonia Police Department is aggressively investigating the murders but has not been able to get any new leads. Unfortunately, our community has not reacted with a sense of urgency with regards to having grassroots discussions that would involve youth violence, racism, drug and alcohol abuse, gun and domestic violence. It seems that those underlying issues are swept under the rug and we fail to have the backbone to really analyze those pervasive problems. The only true community reaction to the murders was initiated by Mr. Venson when he organized a rally in response to his son’s murder. Click here for more details.

Each year most schools in Connecticut will do a gun safety pledge, acknowledge red ribbon week to rally against drugs and alcohol. In Ansonia, life skills and health teachers provide students with lessons on healthy choices and police officers come in and provide fifth grade students with the D.A.R.E. curriculum regarding drugs. High Schools attempt to step up their game by sponsoring after prom activities and drunk driving accident reenactment scenes provided by the State Police. Schools do their best to offer students with substance prevention but unfortunately, students often emulate what they see at home, with their peers and in the streets. It is an uphill battle that will plague every community until we all really make some personal changes as adults.

 I’m proud to say that my friend Shawn Venson did a phenomenal job talking to the 610 students. He was able to captivate them with his personal experiences and the loss of his son and how violence, wrong choices and guns can lead to horrifying consequences.

This is an excerpt from a story written by Jodie Mozdzer for the Valley Independent Sentinel. Mr. Venson described Daryl as a “regular kid” who played youth football. He was killed when he was 25. “I lost my son to somebody who shot him,” Venson told the students. “I’ve never seen my son again. Do you know how hard it would be for your parents if one day you never come home and they never see you again?” Venson spoke to the Mead students about close calls he had with guns in his youth and urged them to never touch a gun. “No matter where you guys are, and no matter how old you get, guns are no good,” Venson said. Venson urged students to be aware of situations they end up in, and to seek help from their teachers if they need advice or help. “If you mess up one time, and make a bad decision, it can change your life for a long time,” Venson said.

During the entire presentation Trayvon Martin’s name was never mentioned. It was intentionally done because it would have taken away from the main focus on Daryl and Isaiah.  Besides, the topic is a political hot potato and I’m uncertain if the town is really ready to take on the national debate or face the true demons and issues that surround some of the tragedies that have taken place.  

Shawn Venson’s words of anguish and hope resonate in my mind just like the repetitive news of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. It also makes me think about Daryl, Isaiah and other young men who have senselessly lost their lives. They lost the promise of what the future can bring and have left a void of unfulfilled potential that was caused by their early death. But it also makes me think about the future of my students and the inspiring message of hope that encouraged them to make right choices, which were spoken by Mr. Venson. More importantly, it makes me think about my own son Terri Jr., who is a 21-year-old college student studying to be an Occupational Therapist. I pray day and night that my son is safe and able to fulfill his dreams, live his life, and not become a tragic statistic or a ….what if.

By: Terri Goldson, Sr.

Terri Goldson, Jr. pursuing a dream!

EducationWhen I think about Governor Daniel Malloy’s proposed education reform initiatives, I can’t help but think about Mead School which is located in the heart of the Valley in Ansonia,Connecticut. Mead School is a “Success School” that is a diverse K thru 6 elementary school, where approximately 75% of the students receive free or reduced priced lunch. It is nestled in a beautiful section of town bordering the Ansonia Nature Center. Looks can be deceiving because Mead is a Title I urban fringe school that was identified four years ago, as in need of improvement by the No Child Left Behind guidelines. Under the NCLB mandates all students are expected to show that they have mastered skills in Math, Reading and Writing on a standardized test given once a year. NCLB was touted as the “Education Civil Rights Mandate” that would transform education and level the playing field for all children, especially students of color.  Why? Because research has revealed for decades, that students of color are twice as likely to fail school, drop out, score lower on standardized tests and have less opportunities to attend college. I could clearly see and understand the rational, purpose and urgency for implementing the kind of education reform that was enacted.

In reality, for the past six years schools across the nation have struggled to reach the annual incremental benchmark scores that were imposed. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of schools such as Mead and districts across Connecticut and the United States, have failed to meet or surpass the lofty and seemingly arbitrary expectation that was set by the former Busch administration. Missing the mark means that schools are labeled as “In Need of Improvement.” Even schools that had high proficiency rates found that they were identified as failing schools because their minority students were not performing at the same rate as white students. With that said and with the data that has been collected over the years,Connecticut has been identified as having the worst achievement gap in the nation. Students of color continue to lag behind, funding is scarce and in my previous blog, I have identified the underlying problem as an economic gap.

To help reform schools, guidelines for providing interventions and supporting schools were outlined in the NCLB mandate. Districts like Ansonia received extensive technical and monetary support from the state. Under the direction of Superintendent Carol Merlone, Ansonia were transformed, restructured and set to move in the right direction. In fact, the district was touted as a model district for systemic change.

My story, with regards to helping to transform my school began four years ago. I was appointed to lead Mead School as the Principal and found myself with the task of completely restructuring it. It was a monumental task that involved personnel changes, reorganizing schedules, aligning curriculum, refining the evaluation procedure, implementing the Data Team Process, Marzano’s Effective Teaching Strategies and a variety of research based instructional practices. It wasn’t an easy process and it took at least three years to see some of the changes take hold. The teachers continue to work hard to transform the culture of the school and raise the standards.  Teachers, support staff, teacher’s union and Instructional Coaches were integral and empowered to help orchestrate the changes. In order for this to happen my leadership team had to:

  • Develop leadership capacity through shared leadership
  • Create a culture of mutual respect and high expectations for students, teachers and parents
  • Engage and partnership with  parents and the community
  • Identify and monitor struggling students  and create opportunities for success in all domains
  •  Create meaningful on going external and embedded professional development
  • Continuously seek ways to create world class instruction and learning opportunities that prepare students for success.

The school has made some phenomenal changes and gains and I am cognizant that there is always room for improvement. As a  school administrator I know that scores and growth will fluctuate for a number of reasons but budgetary factors can deal a severe death blow to our success.

Regardless of that issue, John C. Mead has been viewed as a model school and is currently an award wining school for academic achievement and closing the achievement gap for students of color. I wish that Governor Malloy would visit public schools and districts that are great models and have made changes. I recommend that he begin to fund them at a higher level and not paint all schools, teachers and districts with a broad stroke for reform.      By: Terri Goldson

Click on the words Mead School In The News below to view a link, I hope it works and you enjoy it.

Mead School in the news
“Celebrating The Mead School Beat In Ansonia”

Terri 1