Monday, February 4, 2013

Recommendations for additional City Council allocation

We've just this afternoon received this memo from Superintendent Boone to City Manager O'Brien, outlining her recommendations for the additional $500,000 he tomorrow night is recommending that the City Council allocate to the Worcester Public Schools.
Details after the jump; reserving judgment on this, because we just got it. I welcome your thoughts.

School Adjustment Counselor $35,000
This SAC position will be assigned to North High School and the position will enable the school to create additional capability to address the increased demand for support to students and their families. It will also increase opportunities for students to meet with a designated school staff who can help them navigate thought personal issues. This was a particular request voiced by the students during the Superintendent, Mayor, and CM’s visit to North High School. I intend to continue this position at the school for next year.

High School Graduation Improvement Specialist $45,000
After recent discussions with school administration and faculty at North High School, and to increase the graduation rate at the school, I propose the creation of a High School Graduation Improvement Specialist position. This school-based position will work with students and teachers, through analyzing student performance data from the state’s EDWIN system, and link guidance counselors, school adjustment counselors, families, students and teachers to assist the students in developing a positive trajectory for high school graduation with college and career readiness skills. I intend to continue this position at the school for next year.

Instructional Materials – Elementary Schools $90,000
My administration has recently completed FY14 Resource Allocation meetings with all building principals in the planning for next year. A noted concern for all building principals was the need for instructional materials in classrooms. For elementary schools, there was fairly unanimous request for funding assistance around leveled reading materials for classrooms. The use of this money at this point in the fiscal year would allow for the timely one-time purchase of reading materials for elementary schools. The funds would be allocated to schools on a per pupil basis to the elementary schools ($6 per pupil).

Textbooks – Secondary Schools (MassCore) $200,000
As the district transitions to the new MassCore graduation requirement and the Common Core
standards, it is necessary to replace or purchase new textbooks for secondary schools. The
district has used one-time funds in previous years to replace textbooks, and this use of funding
will allow for continued progress in that area. There is also a need for new textbook material,
subject to School Committee approval, for middle schools and ninth grade classes as the
transition to the new standards are implemented next year. The district is still examining the full
need of secondary textbooks and additional funding will be needed based on the current
inventory completed with building principals through their resource allocation meetings.

Instructional Technology – K-12 Schools $50,000
Building principals have requested that we expand our purchase of digital document cameras (to
allow for displaying best practices and student work during lessons) as well as continue the
purchase of tablets (iPads) for instructional use within classrooms. The district has 400
document cameras (out of more than 1,000 classrooms) and over 700 iPads in all schools
throughout the district. This additional funding will allow for a modest gradual increase at

MassCore – 9th Grade Teacher Training $55,000
The WPS has adopted the MassCore graduation requirement and, beginning in 2013-14, grade
nine teachers must receive targeted professional development training to implement the new
standards. As a result of this training, grade 9 teachers will be able to incorporate the new
Common Core Standards' scope and sequence and the newly devised curriculum mapping in
each of the core subject areas. This professional development training is the first stage of a series
of trainings to ensure the successful transition to MassCore during the next four years.

MassCore - Algebra Transition Program $11,000
As the district transitions to the new MassCore graduation requirements for the 2013-14 ninth
grade class, there is a need to provide an opportunity to 360 current eighth grade students
enrolled in Middle School algebra classes to receive 12 hours of additional instruction to prepare
them for next level of mathematics coursework next year. This funding will allow for
afterschool and April school vacation additional time to best prepare these students for success as
they enter the ninth grade next year.

Parking Lot Lease – Webster Square Plaza $14,000
The City of Worcester negotiated a lease of 14 parking spots at the Webster Square Plaza to help
accommodate needed staff parking for Gates Lane School in order to address a new “no parking”
order on one side of Holland Road. The City has requested that the WPS pay for this lease
agreement. Gates Lane has nearly 700 students and 120 faculty members and the current school
parking lot is 25-30 spots too small to accommodate the entire staff and daily visitors to the
school. This lease agreement will accommodate about one-half of the vehicles that currently
use Holland Road. The remaining vehicles, including parents and visitors to the school, will
continue to use on-street parking near the school. It should also be noted and clear that the rental
of parking lot space does not qualify for net school spending.

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