Governor Malloy ended the week on a high note today, announcing at Briggs High School in Norwalk that he was increasing his support for the Commissioner’s Network. The Governor’s upcoming budget proposal, he announced, will call for an additional $14.1 million to be added to this program, bringing the total available funding for the Commissioner’s Network to $27 million.

Commissioner Stefan Pryor announced that, in light of this expanded support, six additional schools were being invited to advance to the next phase of planning for inclusion in the Commissioner’s Network in the 2013-2014 school year. Briggs High School, applying for the second time, was one of the schools made eligible.

Norwalk’s Superintendent Daddona stated that after Briggs was not admitted to the Commissioner’s Network last year, the school and district redoubled their efforts, making clear that they want to build a career academy, community involvement, and partnerships between parents and their chamber. “Becoming a part of the [Commissioner’s] Network will make our dreams come true,” he said.

Indeed, Commissioner Pryor observed that Briggs’ story of determination and second chances was a symbol for the entire Commissioner’s Network effort–in which struggling schools with great promise are given the opportunity to persevere and turn themselves around with increased state support. “Students in this school have faced academic difficulty… and barriers in their lives, and are aspiring to do better,” he said. “Likewise, in the Network process, this school and district applied once, didn’t quite make the cut… and they raised private money… and got a grant to do planning more generally, to come back, and apply again. This entire endeavor is about second chances. And this is an example that applies across the board on the Commissioner’s Network.”

Commissioner Pryor thanked the Governor for maintaining his commitment to the Commissioner’s Network, even in the midst of financial challenges in the state of Connecticut.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform commends the Governor and Commissioner for expanding support of this important turnaround measure.