Hamden 3R Initiative: Rethink * Restructure * Results
In the past several years, most school districts in Connecticut have experienced declining enrollments. The state legislature is wrestling with a challenging budget situation for the years ahead, and this likely means fewer resources for school districts across the state. Both of these factors affect Hamden Public Schools.
In addition, we have work to do to ensure that our schools uphold our values around diversity and inclusiveness that are part of what makes Hamden a great community. As people have moved and neighborhoods have developed, we must reconsider school zone boundaries, especially for some schools that have reached levels of imbalance in student diversity beyond state guidelines. Read the letter from the CT State Department of Education related to diversity in Hamden Schools.
In 2017, the Hamden Board of Education began examining these issues. The Board and administration see this important work not as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity to optimize programming and reallocate resources to maximize opportunities for our students, while at the same time creating conditions for a long-term sustainable school system of excellence. By planning proactively, we can design systems for the future where we may see less funding from the state.
Five goals drive the Board's work on this initiative:
1. Move 6th grade from elementary to middle school – To ensure Hamden students receive the broad offerings of a secondary experience, particularly in lab science and world language, our students will be better served by a grades 6-8 middle school, as is the practice in many Connecticut middle schools.
2. Scale use of facilities to address declining enrollment trends; Use resources more efficiently – Some of our elementary schools are becoming underutilized resulting in the opportunity to consolidate. Shifting locations and resources will provide a greater chance to allocate existing resources for improved programming and services to students.
3. Incorporate Wintergreen School into Hamden Public Schools – This beautiful building and property, owned by the Town of Hamden, could be a great asset for our school system. Some of our existing school buildings are not as modern in their design, which limits our use of them, and others currently require significant and costly structural improvements.
4. Create sensible attendance zones that more closely reflect our demographics and meet state regulations for diversity – The current attendance zone map for Hamden elementary schools has not had significant changes in more than twenty years, while populations have shifted over this same period of time. As a result, our attendance zones no longer meet state requirements and our own benchmarks for diversity. In addition, more sensible attendance zones could reduce transportation costs.
5 Provide opportunities for greater financial sustainability – The Hamden Board of Education is committed to proactively addressing the impact of declining enrollment, less State and Federal funding, and the higher level of needs of students and families. If we take the necessary steps to address these trends head on, we will be in a position to allocate dollars to improve programs and buildings across the district.
Two resource agencies with expertise in school system funding and planning have been retained to assist in this strategic planning effort: District Management Group (DMG) and Milone & MacBroom. (Past/Archival presentations to the Board of Education by DMG and Milone & MacBroom are included below under the Timeline section of this page.) They are assisting with collection and analysis of demographic and other data as well as in providing tools and supports to help the Board and administration make the most beneficial and informed decisions. Preliminary work on the "Hamden 3 Rs Initiative: Rethink, Retructure, Results" has included in-depth demographic and enrollment studies for Hamden, as well as examination of research-based economic models for shifting resources to better meet our needs - both today and in the future.
This Webpage will include presentations, documents and other updates on the "Hamden 3 Rs Initiative" as they are available.
Supporting Materials / Other Resources
Tentative Initiative Timeline (Subject to Change)
The following information describes the timeline of our work, and includes viewable presentations when available.
- Fall 2017: Discussion of Problem and Scope of Work View Presentation by DMG
Development and Review of Enrollment Projections
- November 2017 - January 2018: Development of Realignment Options
- March 2018: Presentation of Enrollment Projections and Realignment Options View Presentation by Milone & MacBroom
- June 2018: Narrowing of Alternatives (Please note that some of the scenarios described in March Milone & MacBroom presentation have been eliminated and others are now in consideration)
- August 2018: Continued Discussions and Exploration of Alternatives and Impact. View DMG Presentation to the Board of Education, August 16, 2018
- September 2018: Community information, input and feedback session
View Presentation of New Scenarios 8, 9 and 10.
- October 2018: Continuation of discussions
View Mylone and MacBroom Presentation - Facilities Master Plan for Scenarios 8, 9 and 10.
- November - December 2018: Final decisions on district changes
- January - August 2020: Work with the community to implement changes