Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A bit more information and plenty of open questions on the Hanover Academy (TM)

The letters of invitation to apply to the new academy at Burncoat came out yesterday (I'll note here that I don't have a child this applies to, but I have seen the letter of invitation). Those with at least one advanced and one proficient score on the fifth grade MCAS/PARCC have received an invitation to the two meetings at 6 pm on Thursday, March 9 or Tuesday, March 14 at Burncoat Middle School, though admission will be "tiered."
The letter says that applications are available on the school's website--as yet they are not--as well as at Burncoat Middle and at elementary schools.

Here's some questions I and others have at this point:

  • when and where is the public process around this academy going to be? When is the community going to get a chance to weigh in on if this is what they want to commit district resources--because district resources are involved--to?
  • what is the WPS policy around naming of schools and academies? How much money does it take to achieve the same status of what lifelong educators who have buildings named after them gave to this district? 
  • what precisely is the agreement with Hanover? How much influence does this company have over what will be happening in this academy? Where is that written? Who has seen it and who has signed it?
  • what does this academy do to the rest of Burncoat Middle? to Burncoat High School? What are the impacts on enrollment, class sizes, course selections, other programs? Do the students in this academy have priority within the school?
  • what interaction, if any, has this proposed academy had with the multi-year self-study conducted by the K-12 arts magnet? How will this impact their enrollment, course availability, recruitment, retention, transportation? 
  • what impacts and what mitigations are intended for what this will do to other schools, given that students with high test scores are now being invited to two Worcester middle schools?
  • how does the school committee and administration resolve an admission process based solely on test scores with the continued rhetoric around valuing more than that? How does this align with the purported importance of "parent choice" around state tests, when those who opt not to take state tests are not invited to these programs?

More as I have it. 

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