Why are Stamford public schools rated so low?

Asked by Hsalabay, Stamford, CT Wed Aug 1, 2012

Why do their students score so low on standardized tests? Poor curriculum? Teachers?

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7
Timothy Vale, Agent, Stamford, CT
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Good morning. There are several characteristics to take into consideration when judging the school system's test scores as a whole. When comparing the school system to one of the surrounding towns such as Greenwich, Darien, or New Canaan you are looking at two different populations with significantly different representation in almost all of the subgroups that are scored in the testing. Stamford has an incredible diversity that many of our surrounding towns lack. Each school has a strategic school profile (SSP) that is on the CT Dept of Ed website. The SSP will break down the makeup of the school and its resources. In the last several years our schools have made significant gains with the most recent in the elementary and middle schools.

General Electric has invested over 25 million dollars into the Stamford Public Schools in the areas of both Math and Literacy. Achievement rose signifianctly as a result of the increased interventions and services. The curriculum is very rigorous and in line with state and national standards. The high schools now offer AP level classes at the Freshman level.

I encourage you to give Sarah Arnold a call at (203) 977-4095. She is the director of public affairs for the SPS and can make sure that you receive all of the information that you desire on the CMTs and other measures of achievement.
1 vote
Frustrated11…, Home Owner, Stamford, CT
Thu Apr 16, 2015
don't waist your time going to the administration at Cloonan or other offices at a higher level for family support. The school hands platitudes for anyone that speaks up for issues with poor teaching habits of the teachers, the lack of offers for projects that my offer extra credit and they don't let the kids take their books or note books home to study from to succeed. And they verbally slam parents who push to get some support when noted on a progress report that the child is not doing as well. We went to them when my child got a D on a progress report. My statement is why was this the first I heard that my child wasn't doing well. The teacher's exact answer was, "I am busy." I said, "Excuse me." The teacher then responded, "I have a lot of paperwork." The teacher then said, "I have a lot of kids and teach 4 classes a day." There was no specific statements on what exactly had been done or what could be done to improve. And even with a request of some kind of extra credit project to be offered to help improve the grade, the answer was, "No", within the quarter. The teacher doesn't talk to the kids that are right in front of them. I asked that I be given a call on any day where my child wasn't doing well. The only day the teacher gave me a call was to say my child was getting a bad grade for the day because my child didn't participate for that day. My child didn't participate that day because my child had been out sick throwing up and had a doctor's note to not participate that day in Gym. The administration knew it, the nurse knew it, the office ladies knew it and my child knew it. The teacher said, "Know one told me." I said, "why didn't you ask the child right in front of you?" The teacher responded, "I have too many children and teach 4 classes a day." I asked how many children are sitting out in a given class such that there would be too many of them to go over to and ask why they weren't participating for that day?" He took the question literally and said, "That is none of your business." I commented that even if there is a big class, there is not likely more than a few kids. And how many parents have come forward besides me such that if you see my child sitting out that you wouldn't take a minute to ask why my child is sitting on the side lines for that day." I have continued to pursue getting the extra credit item, e.g report, TA for say 5 classes, project, etc. One Administrator said, "In my 27 years.... I have not done that and I am not going to do that now". The school has latched on to the fact that I am very angry at this point that this is the norm of how the success of the children is looked after at Cloonan and have made it clear they intend to do nothing and would I be nice and go away.

These kinds of things are why the success is low. Because the Administration's policies. And they don't teach formal grammer at the middle school. They don't have spelling lists to regularly test. The English teacher has the kids take notes in the class and is proud of the boxes in the class that the kids keep them in because the kids are not allowed to take the note books home from which to study. The kids aren't allowed to take most of their school books home to study from either. The administrations justification was that they don't allow the students to take the books home because they don't return them. The majority of studying is done at home for most kids that succeed. This is crazy and their is much more stuff that I could list.

A bully tackled my child. The bully's locker was near my child's and the friend. No other kids were in the hallway. My child and a friend were on their knees by their locker getting ready to go home. The bully dropped his books on the floor in front of his locker and they fell on his feet. He smiled. My child and the friend smiled and my child and the friend laughed. The bully reached the few lockers over and slammed the lockers of my child and the friend. Their fingers would have been slammed in the lockers if they didn't quickly take them out. My child reached over to strew the bully's books across the floor. The bully then full on tackled my child. My child did what we as grown ups always tell them to do. Get yourself to a safe place and tell someone. My child got up walked away and took a picture of the bully. Then my child posted it on social media so people would know this person was a bully. Because my child posted it on the social media and didn't use the best words, the Cloonan administration assumed that my child acted like a bully and handled it according to that. My child has never been in trouble, has decent grades, participates among other things. So why didn't the administration ask why instead of proceeding to bully label. The administration didn't even look into the situation before proceeding in that manner with my child. It wasn't until the meeting with us that they even knew about the tackling, et
0 votes
Frustrated11…, Home Owner, Stamford, CT
Thu Apr 16, 2015
I am a parent with a child in the Stamford Middle School, Cloonan. It has been a horrible experience. I even went to give a review on the School's web site. But I found that it would be reviewed and approved by the school's very administration about which I intended to have something to say. This school sees no purpose to teach grammer or spelling as an explicit part of their learning. This alone causes many issues with children's language, writing and communication skills.

My child has been at Cloonan for going on two years now. My first encounters with the school were something for me to unpleasantly remember. Within the first weeks, my child asked me to carry her project to class for her. She had a neon green poster board, glue sticks and glitter. We entered the school, I signed in as expected. There was no security presence near the front of the school, while it was wide open to anyone entering the building. I didn't take a tag because there were none available.

When I reached the other side of the school two classes away from dropping off my child's project to the designated class room, I was approached by two security guards. They informed me that I had to go all the way back to the front of the school to sign in and take a tag. I explained that the class room that I was taking my child's project to was only two doors away. They kept saying this out loud. They even threatened to have me arrested.

All I could think was the class is two doors away, let me just drop it off. I was also thinking, who is protecting the front of the school as there was no security presence anywhere near that area. All teachers were still in the hallway where we were. The students were all still in the hallway.

They realized that arresting me for taking my child's project to her class would not be such a good idea. So they called the Principal. Shortly thereafter a very large angry man came trouncing down the hallway. When he was about half a hallway away, he yelled out to me that I was to follow school policy. He continued to come forward at a heavy fast pace.

I told him that I had signed in and there were no tags. The only ones that didn't do their job were the security personnel. The security guards said out loud that I didn't sign in or take a tag. As it turns out, they didn't see that I signed in because no one had changed the sheet from the Friday's date to Monday. So I signed in on the Friday's sheet without knowing it.

At this point there were now the Principal, Assistant Principal, the two security guards, the associate principal in training, among others going off on me. No professional behavior came on the part of any of the school administrations part.

Not one person said, "Let me take it to the class for you". Not one person said, “Let me escort you to drop it off” Not one person asked what was happening at all. There was only verbally yelling at me.

They didn't care about the security of the school. There was no security presence at the entrance to the school. And they would rather be on the other side of the school verbally accosting a parent with a neon poster board for the child's project while taking it to the classroom. And all of this where I signed in even though there was no security presence at all.
At that point, all I could think is how these guys became School administrators in the first place. At the end of the day, when I picked my child up, the first thing my child asked was had I been arrested.
Another experience in the first year of us being there, the Assistant Principal had brought pizza that was left to the auditorium for the cast of the play rehearsing. My child was helping out behind the scenes on this play. The next day, I thought it would be nice to give the cast pizza. I ordered the pizza with the assistant offering her discount and saying to call the pizza place she gets hers. So I did that. Within minutes of the pizza arriving, The Janitor, Play director, Assistant Principal, Associate Principal in training, the two office ladies, etc. were in the office for all to see yelling at one another for more than 45 minutes.

These were two of our first encounters with the lack of appropriate security presence, poor professionalism of the administration; and it was in the first weeks of our being at the school. This kind of handling of families and students continued regularly throughout the first year and now worse well into the second year more regarding lack of student school performance support. Not only that but the administration down right making it clear that they intend to do nothing to support the child's success, except platitudes given to appear to have done something.

We don't at this point have an option. But I wouldn't recommend anyone come to this school.
0 votes
RandomMom, Home Buyer, Stamford, CT
Tue Oct 2, 2012
Approximately 40% of Stamford students do not speak English at home, according to research done in the district. This, and the general trend of lower socio-economic groups performing lower is enough to skew the results down. I think they are improving, though, in many cases, and these kids are being well-served. The downside is that if you have a high-performing kid they will receive less in terms of resources/attention of the school district. And, kids of average or higher-income groups do not fare well in the lottery system for the better schools. The system was designed to achieve racial balance, but they can no longer use race so they changed to income. Good in a macro sense for the community, but bad for many of us in it.
0 votes
The school teaches during the day. But they don't let the students take bo
oks or notes home to reference and study at home. Most of studying for school to succeed happens at home. What they said for my child is they don't allow books to go home because they don't get returned. A language Arts teacher was proud of the notes the kids take in her class. And proud that she has them in boxes at school, where the kids again are not allowed to take them home to study. Also, because many of the students are first generation immigrants, the parents have a difficult time to help their children. But worse is how the school Administration handles this. They use this to their advantage knowing that many of these people want to go with the flow and are not comfortable to make waves or speak up for poor treatment. When a parent does speak up, they are treated like leppers and Cloonan administratively trounces on with decisions that are not in the best interest of the student succcess.
Flag Thu Apr 16, 2015
stevesmith, Home Buyer, Stamford, CT
Tue Sep 11, 2012
Because they are filled with immigrants and lazy white kids who watch too much TV
0 votes
Mark Namm, Agent, Norwalk, CT
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Hsalabay, What I have to say may go against common thinking but there are huge misconceptions about school ratings. Schools are perceived to be "better" when tests results are higher and "worse" when test results are lower. Sounds like common sense, right? The only problem is Cities such as Stamford, Norwalk, and others have a very diverse population in which there are wide variations in the performances of students. The smaller towns have less diversity and tend to have student populations that skew only towards the middle and high end. My daughter just graduated from Norwalk schools last year. She currently attends Brandeis University which is a fairly high performing school. Her friends have secured scholarships to Duke University, Georgia Tech, Sarah Lawrence and others. Kids from Stamford and Norwalk are accepted to Harvard and Yale. My daughter and her friends were in the "high honors" programs and took many advanced placement classes. In short, the high end in City (Stamford and Norwalk) public schools do just fine. But there is also the opposite end of this spectrum in City schools that is much less evident in smaller school systems. Therefore, be careful about reading too much into stadardized test results. Good luck! Please call or email if I can be of further help.
0 votes
Laura Feghali, Agent, Stamford, CT
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hello Hsalabay,
Stamford is a very diverse city composed of students from many backgrounds and cultures when compared to the surrounding communities. For some; English is a second language which inhibits their learning to some degree.

I suggest that you contact the Department of Education for Stamford to learn more about the school system and talk to a few parents whose children are currently or have attended Stamford's schools.

Here is the link to the Stamford's public schools where you may find some helpful information and people you can contact for additional information:

http://stamfordpublicschools.org/

Best wishes!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes
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