Hartford schools get $5M for education

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Hartford schools are getting a big push tonight, in the form of a cash grant from the billionaire behind Microsoft.

Students at the Jamoke Academy Charter Schools in Hartford are among the best performing students in the state and are obviously going to turn out to be solid leaders for the future.

"I want to teach math to kids because I'm really...I really like math and I want to teach it to other kids that don't understand it," said Tya Bucknor, Jamoke Academy 6th grader.

Due to the success there, the Hartford Public School system sought help from Jamoke Academy in turning around the Milner School, which was one of the city's poorest performing.

"I want to be a doctor and a teacher and I love...like the teacher is always there for us and they make us feel welcome," said Shaday Hall, Milner School 8th grader.

The collaboration between Jamoke and the city's public system Wednesday was singled out by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their largest public school district-charter collaboration grant.

"I'm so happy to be in Hartford to announce that Hartford is one of the seven cities selected and will receive a $5 million three-year grant," said Noah Wepman, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It means there will be more money available to spread the Jamoke methods to more city public schools.

"We're building capacity to go into schools like Milner and working with the public school system to effect education turn-around that looks like a Jamoke Academy School, in terms of achievement," said Dr. Michael Sharpe, CEO, Jamoke Academy Schools.

"It's going to be used to build up leadership capacity and actually recruit and retain, provide professional development for leaders," said Dr. Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

The money will also help fund a teacher coaching and teacher evaluation initiative in the city which is aimed at increasing the number of effective teachers throughout the district.

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