The overall feeling at Luis Munoz Marin School’s fourth and final Commissioner’s Network forum was one of collaboration and hope.
Much of the discussion at Wednesday evening’s community forum revolved around ways to engage parents and students. There was also talk about working collaboratively with the broader Marin community as a way of enriching the school’s offerings.
Catalina Acevedo, Parent Advisory Council President at Marin, feels the Commissioner’s Network is an “unfortunate necessity” for Marin. “There’s no other way. This school has been failing for ten years. We can’t wait anymore.”
Marin, one of the lowest performing schools in Bridgeport, was invited to apply to the Commissioner’s Network, which is a program developed by the state Department of Education to help turn around low performing schools by offering additional support and funding.
Acevedo said parents want a school model that includes more structure, more help for teachers, more security, more events, and challenging academics for their children.
Marin is a unique school with unique challenges. The school is overwhelmingly Latino and has a large population of English Language Learners— approximately 27 percent or double the district’s average— as well as a large special education population.
All this presents particular challenges for the school’s six-member turnaround committee, made up of administrators, teachers and a parent, who have been tasked with developing a new school model.
According to parent committee member Rosa Torres, the turnaround committee is still “shopping around” looking at school models that might suit Marin’s unique makeup and community.
So far Marin’s turnaround committee has visited four schools: two Cooperative Educational Services schools including Six to Six and Wintergreen Magnet Schools, Fair Haven School in New Haven, and DiLoreto Magnet School in New Britain.
According to committee member and Assistant Principal at Columbus School Ana Sousa-Martins the “consensus among the team is that there is not one model we would like to adopt,” but rather the committee is leaning towards taking components from different school models to develop something unique for Marin.
There may not be concrete plans yet, but it was uplifting to see parents, teachers and administrators all on the same page, working together to enrich the lives of the students at Marin.
The turnaround committee meets every Monday. They have until May 7th to develop their school model, which will then be submitted to state Board of Education for approval.
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