What Will the Future Bring For Dunbar School?

Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz told parents and community members, “We will not miss a beat,” assuring the crowd at a forum Thursday night that Dunbar School will continue to move forward. Rabinowitz has decided to maintain as much as possible of the school’s existing staff and direction, a decision for which she should be applauded.

Dunbar was once considered one of the state’s worst schools. But the school has seen substantial improvement over the past year after it was selected for the state’s Commissioner’s Network, a program that provides low-performing schools with additional support and funding.

Despite the school’s recent success, Dunbar’s fate has been uncertain the past few weeks following the scandal surrounding Family Urban Schools of Excellence, the management company that led the school’s turnaround.

Last Thursday, after a heated meeting, the Bridgeport Board of Education voted to end their partnership with FUSE.

While the organization will no longer lead the school, Dunbar will remain on the Commissioner’s Network, though it was revealed that a new turnaround committee will be formed.

The turnaround committee, made up of teacher, parent and administrative representatives, will be tasked with developing a new school model in the five week left before school starts.

This won’t be from scratch according to the superintendent, who said that it was neither her nor the board’s intention to radically change what has already worked for Dunbar.

“We’ll build on the best practices,” she said.

However, while certain details were revealed at last night’ s forum, there remains some uncertainty moving forward.

It is yet to be determined whether Dunbar’s new school model will include classroom assistants, which was an integral part of last year’s turnaround efforts.

When asked if assistants would be rehired, Superintendent Rabinowitz said it would be up to the new turnaround committee, and whether or not the state would continue to provide funding.

“If the turnaround committee decides that, then yes,” Rabinowitz said.

Curiously, there was no talk of Cooperative Education Services (CES), which according to a recent joint statement release by Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the superintendent was noted as a potential partner for Dunbar to replace FUSE.

“We will actively explore a partnership with Cooperative Educational Services (CES) to help support the school’s effort to implement its turnaround plan,” the statement read.

It remains to be seen whether CES, which has already entered in a partnership with Marin School, will replace FUSE.



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