Thursday, February 5, 2015

North High (all items)

We're considering all items having to do with North at once
Lee Clarkson, senior
"have always been proud of my school"
"education been jeaporized by multiple students"
imperative that WPD should be present at all times in school hours
"let us concentrate on getting an education rather than on safety"
police officer deter
false perception are somehow a threat to them
parents need support and teachers need support
kids don't feel safe there
I don't feel safe sending them there
"bomb threats and violence going on is just getting out of hand"
"throw out children who do not want to be there"
"hundreds of kids want to be there, and they're not safe"
"School Committee needs to step up and help"
Zalauskas, EAW
"city entrusts educators with their most valuable assets, their children"
"we have to start investing in our future and that starts...with the safety there"
"have to ask the City Council to invest more money...there's not more money coming from the state"
North cut in-house suspension, used to have a hall monitor
people doing a duty, when someone could be hired to do that
"definitely mixed among the people"
"personally don't want police there all the time...beseech you to consider these things"
"reach out to your fellow city council officials and ask them to step up"
"way under the tax levy...Shrewsbury took five times to get the tax rate up"
"bond ratings aren't everything"
appreciate Mayor's support on this issue
"people need to come together and say what they need to say"

Petty: this administration has been dedicated to address the concerns of the students and staff and parents at North High

Boone: address academic and student achievement challenges at North High
"tonight I will be reporting graduation and dropout rates"
86 students who had been very close to graduating, without supports they would not have gotten there
"we were not producing dropout factories and warehouses"
"highly motivated staff, students who wanted the best for their education, and parents who wanted the same"
North High's graduation rate move to 71% in four years
"because lots of people had a focus, worked together"
safety, climate, and culture

4 bomb threats "we have some leads and we are agressively working with the Worcester PD....interuption of the instructional day are not good for students or fair to staff"
bomb threats tend to come in waves
"unfortunately those threats have continued long term over the months at North High School"
several fights, both students and staff have been injured in
most recent incident "students had planned fights to occur and had no relation to the bomb threat"
"important to put some facts here"
"the police were at North High school...not for any other reason than to respond to the bomb threat. That is standard protocol and response practice"
when students returned, the fights erupted
police went in to deescalate the situation, some students responded poorly, and there were arrests
"we all want to know what has happened with students that have violated our code of conduct; the law is very clear: I cannot talk about individual students, any more than I can talk about individual staff"
"discipline has been handed out to the maximum extent allowed to us"
"anything less than safe schools, it doesn't matter what the graduation rate looks like"
threats then circulated regarding violence at the school on Friday
principal wanted to assure parents that school would be safe on Friday and so sent a message to parents to let them know that school would be safe, with presence of police on that day
police were there for extra support needed when there were threats of violence on that day
"the number 599 has circulated in a number of places...there are numbers embedded in that
130 students may be absent on an average day
reflect students who get services elsewhere who are not in the building
380 or so students who were absent that day
radio station that broadcast information regarding threats that were not true
some parents came to pick up students, some chose to leave students in the school after learning that all was safe
there were statements made that the first line we're using is arrest rather than suspension: that is not true
suspensions have occurred and will continue to be
result of conversations had
"countless hours...using with factual knowledge for this action plan"

  • there is one liaison per quadrant: the WPD in North will be there for the beginning and end of school
  • "lead teacher for school safety and accountability" for all current and future and safety intervention--new position--
  • safety intervention team (on graduation model): coordinate hall monitoring, data collection, individual interventions for students
  • review & revise staffing for hall monitoring
  • additional IA for hall monitoring and bathroom coverage (particularly floor 2-4)
  • enahse NHS electronic photo ID system: was put in place for students in hall: "early implementation was very successful" : tracks students going to bathroom, as they swipe in and out of the bathroom; also registers students reporting tardy: third device to coverage all bathrooms
  • threatening and/or aggressive behavior will not be tolerated
Climate & Culture
  • Teaching with Poverty faculty reading and discussion with Eric Jenson
  • Superintendent & CAO  to meet with faculty to discuss: recent events, action plan, improvements in graduation/dropout
  • student assemblies for students to share their thoughts in an open forum
  • subjects of non-violence, impact of media, personal accountability, digital footprint
  • student interaction with recent alumni through assemblies, focus groups, & mentoring
  • in conjuction with You, Inc. will run social and emotional groups: one for boys and one for girls, ten weeks per session, 10 students each (40 students total)
  • Superintendent & CAO to meet with Student Council, Principal's advisory council and others for discussion
  • meeting with families in partnership with DA, ACE, LEI, Black Legacy, Mass Grad Coalition. Forum for families to discuss safety, voice concerns
  • 12 week training program for 20 parents at Worcester Academy with bus passes, dinner, childcare, interpreters: parenting and school success, navigating a school system, child development
  • Commitment to Kindness as developed by a WPS teacher: students to have a voice in promoting postive perspectives on the school 
Already happening:

  • restorative justice: most have been trained
  • Friday chat with principal
  • common planning time
  • graduation improvement meeting
  • pipeline collaborative externship
  • Gear Up trips to college
  • CSI : College Success Institute
  • (and more)
  • Class size and staffing
    I'm not going to type out the chart, but I'll take a photo to post later. Short version is that North's average class size is highest of the four comprehensives in ELA (23.3), in science (22.1), and world language (23.5, tied with South). South has the highest class size in math (22.4), Burncoat in science (23.3). 

    These students now reading their mission statement.

    Boone: fewer than 2% of students at North garner 98% of the attention
    those 98% need our love and attention
    "let us come together and work on this"

    Petty (Biancheria takes the chair)
    thank the students for coming out: read it today
    "The sad part of this is, the kids up there are pretty good kids...few kids causing issues up there...the kids do and what the teachers do don't get the attention"
    "there's such good things happening"
    "support this"
    "have to come together as a community"
    "we address so many issues in the Worcester Public Schools"
    graduation's going up..."North High's increased dramatically"
    "we'd like to know what's going on, hear what the parents have to say"
    "think it's important that we support the principal, support the staff and the students"

    Biancheria: "in 2011, we opened the doors to fabulous new North High School"
    "very proud, and I still am...I'm a graduate, 1974"
    "I know that we have fabulous kids there...I have all the faith in the world in the staff there"
    "room is full of people who care and who want to see the best come out in print"
    appreciate administration putting together this plan
    appreciate our police working with our school safety liaison
    "there will be teaching and there will be learning"
    "I am standing here to say the support you need, that's the support you'll get"

    Monfredo: "North High has always been an exceptional high school"
    "believe action plan certainly addresses many of the issues"
    was going to suggest a committee...but Boone has already put that together tonight
    changes in the culture of the school, commitment to kindness
    Much work to be done, can do it together

    Ramirez: part of some programming that happens at school
    "part of what I'm not hearing
    in the dialogue is we don't have a lot for youth to do in this city"
    "youth in this city are crying for help"
    bomb threat is what I would like to get solution to
    postive outlets needed
    "Love all of our students at North...that 2% needs drips into the community and we own that"

    action plan tonight: clear questions
    "What do the students think of this plan?"
    students high AP scores,
    What do teachers think of this plan?
    Janice Harvey's column, echoing concerns of teachers
    What do parents think? Will that do the job that needs to be done?
    "very much appreciate the work of the press and the media"
    "the public in Worcester is much better educated than they would be"
    "individuals truly need to be heard"
    ...we do set the budget
    teachers concerned with ratios: are classes too large?
    would teacher rather have a lead teacher or another teacher in a classroom?
    Don't think action plan would have prevented bomb threat, fights
    "would this plan create culture and feeling of safety"
    "these are areas in which" we should hear from students
    would like stats on alternative programs

    and then I spoke

    Foley: begun the listening process
    "the schools really reflect the tensions throughout our community"
    issues facing at all our high schools across the city
    students to bring us back
    "I wish fewer of them went to Holy Cross"
    "not a plan, but a framework"
    "bring them together,...bring their voice back into the school"
    "outline by which many players working with us and the School Committee"
    lot of work to be done, great commitment
    "students set the culture at that school"
    "I think media hurts public perception"
    working groups, conversations

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