Hartford students head back to school

First day of class for Hartford students
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 8:17 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Students in the Hartford school district headed back to class Monday.

The Hartford school district is the 5th largest in Connecticut with approximately 17,000 students.

The first day was a range of emotions, from excitement to nervousness.

One of the big goals the superintendent has this year is working to drive up attendance numbers.

“What was it like first day of high school?” Eyewitness News said.

“Nervous, very nervous,” said Essence Roman, Freshman at Hartford Public High School.

Essence just wrapped up the first day of her freshman year at Hartford Public High School.

Her twin sister felt similarly about the first day of the new school year.

“I was nervous but it was okay,” said Ayanna Roman, Freshman, at Hartford Public School.

Their father was eager to see what this new chapter brings for his twins.

“I’m pretty excited to see what they’re in for this year,” said Orane South.

Flora Padro, Principal of Hartford Public High School says staff are ready to tackle the new year.

“We’re trying not to go back to normal. We’re trying to create a new normal and what that means for our kids is expanding on the opportunities that we’ve offered before,” said Padro.

This high school is one 39 Hartford public schools that started the new school year today.

“We’re gonna keep pushing forward on expanding and increasing our graduation rates so Hartford high is on the rise, we’re excited,” Padro said.

The district has about 17,000 students.

A big goal this year is getting attendance numbers up.

“We’re still going to focus heavily on attendance. And making sure that our students are in school, every single day. And then when they’re here that those relationships are so strong. Solid strong between their peers, their teachers and then with what they’re learning,” said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

Torres-Rodriguez says the district is also working to fill teaching vacancies, a problem many school systems continue to face this year.

“We have 95 classroom vacancies across our schools. So we have 39 schools so each school has about 1-2 some will have about 3 vacancies,” Torres-Rodriguez said.

With regulations relaxed by the state and CDC the district wants families to know that some practices will stay in place.

“I’ve actually already had some calls from families that are wondering what it will look like, so we’ve explained we’re going to continue some of our mitigation strategies, distancing to the extent possible, cohorting in our lower grades, emphasizing the sanitizing, the hand washing, the disinfecting and so things are not going to change for us,” Torres-Rodriguez said.

Adding that masks are optional and will be made available for any student or staff who wants one.

Looking forward to this year, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez says the district has been working hard at expanding their student success centers, and it’s paying off. The idea was first implemented a few years ago at the high school level and then trickled down to lower grades, essentially, it acts as a safety net.

Students in the Hartford school district are heading back to class today. Hartford school district is the 5th largest in Connecticut with approximately 17,000