Your Voice Needed: Renewing Common Ground’s High School Charter

by Liz Cox and Joel Tolman

Why does Common Ground High School matter to you?

Last week, a group of our high school parents sat down with a team from the State Department of Education to answer this question. Here is just a sampling of what they shared:

“People care about your kid here.”

“They saved my daughter’s life.”

“I wish I had what they have when I was in school.”

“They are like family here.”

Common Ground High School needs your voice, too.

Every five years, the State Department of Education asks Common Ground to prove that we should be able to keep our doors open. State officials look closely at how well we’ve stewarded the funding we receive as a public charter school. They take a close look at our curriculum. They ask us to share data that demonstrate our students’ progress in and beyond high school. They visit our classrooms, talk with parents and community partners, interview Common Ground’s teachers and board of directors.

And, in the final stage of the process, the State Department of Education invites our community to share whether Common Ground deserves to have its charter renewed. That’s where you come in. Here are two ways to raise your voice:

  1. We would like to invite you to write a letter of support, sharing why you think Common Ground deserves to have its charter renewed. Letters can be emailed to, and should be addressed to: to Dianna Roberge-Wentzell – Interim Commissioner of Education – CT State Department of Education – 165 Capitol Avenue – Hartford, CT 06106.When you write, please include your name and your organizational affiliation, and describe your relationship with Common Ground. Most importantly, please describe why you think Common Ground is an important community asset. Here is a link to a fact sheet that includes some numbers, but what’s most valuable is your individual voice and experience.
  2. We hope that you will attend a public hearing in March 10th, 6-8pm, at Wilbur Cross High School, 181 Mitchell Drive in New Haven. The renewal hearing is, in our experience, a powerful event — a chance for students, alumni, partners, community members, elected officials, and others to share why Common Ground matters to them. You are welcome to join us for dinner beforehand at 4:30 at Common Ground. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions about the renewal process, or about what it means for Common Ground to be a community-based, stand-alone charter school, please let us know. You can email us at and, or call us at 203.389.4333. You can also read a past blog post we wrote regarding what it means to us to be a charter school here. We take our responsibility as a public school, and as a community organization, really seriously — and that means we are accountable to you.


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