Sunday, April 21, 2024

Community Conversations


By Greg Reilly

Stratford Public Schools Topic #1

Improving Stratford Public Schools, one of the 33 lowest-performing districts in the state, was the topic that dominated the Stratford Community Conversations held

February. 21st  at the Stratford YMCA.

The conversation started with concern about the difficulty of children learning when distracted by phones and other technology. That led to talk about the school district’s enforcement of its policy that restricts the use of phones in the classroom, and the fact that some parents rely on their children being reachable by phone throughout the school day. Some teachers reportedly use phones as a positive tool for learning.

Another major schools issue cited at the Conversations was the connection between students’ academic achievement and the network of support that they either have or do not have. One meeting attendee believes that family engagement is the number one factor determining a student’s success. The support system that surrounds many Stratford students often includes grandparents and family friends when parents are not available. Another attendee emphasized how structure and discipline in the home contributes to success at school.

Besides cell phones and support networks for students, other comments related to the importance of a superintendent’s commitment and leadership, the idea of offering rigorous pre-college courses, and the balance between having enough funding to support the teachers and students and not expecting money alone to solve the problems.

Miscellaneous Announcements made at the end of the meeting included a Lenten Music Program at United Methodist Church on Thursday afternoons; free tax preparation services offered at the South End Community Center; and the YMCA offering babysitting during Restaurant Week, which runs through March 2.

Stratford Community Conversations meets every three weeks at various venues to discuss local issues in a positive, non-critical way. All Stratford residents, businesspeople, community leaders, government leaders and staff are invited. Attendees may simply listen or join the discussion. There is no charge to attend.


The next Stratford Community Conversations is set for Wednesday, March 13th, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Sterling House Community Center, 2283 Main Street.

For more information, contact resident and moderator Greg Reilly at


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