Welcome to the West Hartford Public School District’s website. As you peruse the pages that describe our instructional programs, schools, Board of Education and district opportunities, you will discover that we are a district committed to inspire and prepare all students to realize their potential and enhance our global community. The teachers, administrators and support staff of the West Hartford Public Schools are driven by our Mission Framework and District Goals to ensure that our students experience high expectations, dynamic teaching, rigorous and relevant curriculum.
West Hartford is a wonderful town with strengths far beyond just its education system. In 2006, Money magazine ranked West Hartford as the 10th most-educated town in the United States and in the August 2012 issue it is ranked among the top 4 small cities in Connecticut to live in part due to our "exceptional public schools." In June 2010 Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine ranked West Hartford as one of the top ten cities to live in for the next decade. The Town Manager and I work hand-in-hand to ensure that we maintain and exceed the high expectations that our community has for our town and schools. West Hartford holds the coveted AAA bond rating from Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s. This rating puts our town in the top half of one percent of communities in the country with regard to fiscal management, a singularly impressive accomplishment.
Our budgets are strategic, efficient, transparent, and accountable. As one example, our agility and responsiveness to creating a culture of conservation is reflected in the results of our Conservation Challenge; a successful effort that saved the town $150,000 in reduced electricity consumption.
Our high schools were ranked among the top 2% nationally by U.S. News and World Reports, and were ranked among the top ten in our state. In 2009, Emmett Gilles, a graduating Conard senior, and in 2012, Regan Considine, a graduating Hall senior, were selected as Presidential Scholars. Jennifer Huynh, a 2012 graduating senior from Conard is one of 1000 nationally to be named a Gates Millennium Scholar. Their accomplishments are examples of scores that the West Hartford academic community has achieved. Micaela Connery, a graduate of our schools began the Unified Theater program that continues in our schools and includes all students in theater regardless of ability. Our performing arts programs are internationally recognized. Our students begin instrumental music lessons in grade four and strive for selection to our elite jazz bands, choral groups and I Giovani Solisti, a combined high school string orchestra. The Hall High School Theatre Department was selected as one of 30 American high school theatre programs to compete in 2010 and again in 2013 in the International Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, a citywide extravaganza that is the largest arts festival in the world.
Our schools are a tapestry of cultures and ethnicities, with close to 65 languages represented in our school system, a microcosm of all the talent, intelligence and diversity that America has to offer. Our students have opportunities to travel to Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.
The outstanding faculty of the West Hartford Public Schools includes the Connecticut Teacher of the Year, the National Social Studies Teacher of the Year, the Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year, and the Connecticut Elementary Principal of the Year.
We are dedicated to continuous learning and see our schools as places where everyone goes to learn. We engage our teachers and leaders in job-embedded, on-going professional development. As a result, our professionals apply best practices in teaching and learning and strive to optimize student performance.
Community collaboration and service are important to us. We work closely with The Bridge Family Center to provide services for families through organizations such as our Family Resource Centers. Service to our community is evidenced through activities such as the Morley Backpack Brigade, a volunteer effort undertaken by students, teachers and parents to provide backpacks and school supplies to those in need. In the same vein, the Empty Bowls project was initiated by the two high schools to raise funds for and awareness about hunger. Community service is mandatory for high school students as part of their required American Government course.
Parental choice is important to our community. We have two elementary schools of choice - Charter Oak International Academy, authorized as an International Baccalaureate School and The Florence E. Smith STEM School. Interested parents should contact these schools or when registering, ask for information. There is a lottery process for entry into these schools. If you reside in the Charter Oak or Smith neighborhoods, you may attend your neighborhood school or may opt-out to another West Hartford elementary school. We also have a smaller middle school of choice - Bristow. The school was named for a freed slave who resided in West Hartford, taught himself to read and write, and was a well-known and respected figure in the town.
I am privileged to lead this high-performing school district characterized by teachers, leaders, support staff, and a Board of Education who are so committed to achievement and academic excellence. I invite you to imagine the possibilities for your child in our outstanding school district. We are focused on ensuring that for every child, anything is possible. The community of West Hartford and I will accept only the best for our children and our future.
Karen L. List, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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