21st Century Innovation Project Files First Report

The three-member team will continue its research over the next several months.


A local educational research team has filed its first report this week and has found that gaps in education exist in Wallingford, along with the state and national education gaps.

The three members of the 21st Century Innovation Project filed their initial report on Sept. 5, a document that says, in part, that “We found significant achievement gaps at the national level, greater gaps at the state level, and growing gaps at the district level, particularly with our special education students (SPED), English language learners (ELL), and students who receive free or reduced lunch, which is a socioeconomic indicator. It also became apparent that our graduation rates have dropped over the last five years. The graduation rates for subgroups mentioned above also are significantly lower than our performance targets. We hypothesize this could be a motivational problem that bears further study.”

You can view a PDF of the team’s full report above.

The 21st Century Innovation Project is a research team the district created earlier this year and tasked it with spending the next year identifying one particular problem within the district and then developing an innovative solution to that problem.

The three-team project is comprised of Jan Murphy, the principal Cook Hill School, Kate O’Donnell, of information technology resource teacher, and Patty Pursell, a Yalesville School physical education teacher.

All three are on a paid, one-year sabbatical while they work on the project. The Board of Education and district administrators are hoping the project will become a national model for problem-solving educational solutions.

“We began the 21st Century Innovation Project by analyzing the challenges with current educational practices and used multiple data sources,” the team said in a preliminary report it issued Sept. 5. “These include the District Performance Index, School District Profiles from the Connecticut State Department of Education, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results from the National Center for Education Statistics, Connecticut CMT and CAPT Reports, and Strategic School Profiles.”

Under the project’s timeline, the team will conduct research from now until November, present its findings in December, implement those finds at the building level from January to May and evaluation additional steps during next May and June.

The team has a blog where you can find additional information on the project’s progress.





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