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October 24, 2007 > New Haven Community Forum summary

New Haven Community Forum summary

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

More than 20 parents, teachers and administrators discussed the District's focus on literacy at the first 2007-08 meeting of the New Haven Community Forum, held in early October at the new Cabello Student Support Center.

"Writing is the highest and most rigorous competency in literacy", said Glynn Thompson, Executive Director of Elementary Education, who presented information on Writing Workshop, the foundational piece to the District's literacy plan. Mr. Thompson shared examples of writing being done by New Haven students after only a few weeks of instruction.

In Writing Workshop, a research-based approach to the instruction of writing, the teaching of writing happens daily and the focus is on authentic writing. The writing process is emphasized, published pieces are celebrated, and rubrics are used to promote consistency across grade levels, within each school and throughout the District.

The District began piloting Writing Workshop in some classrooms midway through the 2006-07 school year. It is being implemented this year in all kindergarten, first- and second-grade classrooms, and it will be introduced next year in third, fourth and fifth grades, then at the middle schools and high schools.

Following Mr. Thompson's presentation, guests were taken on a tour of the new Student Support Center. After Cabello Elementary School was closed in June- as part of the District's effort to deal with the financial realities of declining enrollment- the campus was transformed to include an expanded Kidango pre-school program, a community day school, improved facilities for Special Education, the "Kids First" before- and after-school program, Home Schooling, and Centralized Enrollment. Parent classes are being held at the site, a parent center is planned, and a new, mid-year kindergarten program will open in January.

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