Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Doherty has the power back on

...and it's staying on, so we're going for a regular day tomorrow.
Here's hoping!

And have a safe night trick-or treating!

Alabama constitution on the ballot

The section dealing with education in Alabama state constitution is on the ballot in that state next Tuesday, and the decision involves everything from segregation to school funding:

The dispute goes back to a section of the 1901 Constitution dealing with education, which says the state shall maintain “a liberal system of public schools,” before dictating that those schools remain separate for white and black children.That remained the law until 1956, when, after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, the state’s political leaders sought a way around integration. They passed an amendment that, among other things, explicitly denied “any right to education or training at public expense,” thus letting the state transfer public schools to private operators.The status of that 1956 amendment is a matter for debate. In 1991, a trial court judge ruled the amendment unconstitutional in a case involving the adequacy of school financing in Alabama. The State Supreme Court dismissed the underlying case in 2002, but its decision and the various concurrences left so little clarity that it remains uncertain what exactly the constitutional status of the amendment is today.The 2004 attempt to strip the vestigial racist language would have left standing the 1901 clause mandating a liberal system of public schools. Some of the state’s influential conservative leaders saw this as leading to expanded financing for public education. Arguing that the whole thing was a plot to raise taxes, they narrowly won the campaign for the amendment’s defeat.Last year, a Republican state senator, Arthur Orr, who says he was troubled by the Constitution’s continuing deterrent effect on economic development, introduced the proposal again. His version, after some revisions, did not include the language about public schools that prompted the antitax backlash, but retains the clause from the 1956 amendment denying the right to a public education.

Burncoat High Music Magnet graduate appointed to the New York Philharmonic!

Congratulations to Max Zeugner, a graduate of the music magnet program at Burncoat Middle and High Schools and Elm Park Community School, on his appointment to the double bass section of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra! From performing arts liaison Lisa Leach:
Max began studying guitar and electric bass with Joe D’Angelo at the Joy of Music Program and Burncoat Middle School. Upon his arrival at Burncoat High School, teachers Carol Castonguay and Deborah Cole encouraged Max to study the double bass. Max participated in lessons, ensembles, and master classes during his time at Burncoat and began working with several professional chamber groups, including the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. 
Since then, Max has studied with the world’s best instructors, including Edwin Barker. He has performed locally and internationally, most recently with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester, England and the Worcester Chamber Music Society. His parents, Alice Valentine and John Zeugner wish to commend the staff of Burncoat High School and the Music Magnet Program in particular for the outstanding preparation and education all three of their children received.
Congratulations, Max! We're proud of you!

Doherty is being dismissed

Doherty is being dismissed at 9:30. A feeder line to Newton Square failed as the faculty and students were going to school. There was some hope that they could continue until the power came back, but National Grid has no estimates on how long this will take.
Buses have come back to the school and parents have been notified.

Monday, October 29, 2012

No school Tuesday

Superintendent Boone has just made the call: Worcester has no school tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30.

As of nine pm on Monday, eight schools do not have power: Nelson Place, Worcester Arts Magnet, New Citizens Center, Tatnuck Magnet, West Tatnuck, Flagg Street, Chandler Magnet, and May Street. National Grid is working on all fronts but was not confident that those schools would be back up by Tuesday morning.

NO CALL yet made

The T&G has it wrong: no call has yet been made on Tuesday. We are waiting to see if we can get the eight schools we have without power back up.
Please spread the word : no cancellation as yet!

Midday Monday update from Superintendent Boone

The Worcester School Committee just received an update from Superintendent Boone:
We are in a waiting pattern to see if any of our buildings sustain damage or loss of power that could impact school operations tomorrow. No decision has been made, as of this email, on whether or not school will be open tomorrow. The timing of the storm and its impacts projected to last well into the evening and overnight makes it difficult to make that decision early. Additionally, we will continue to participate in the briefings with the city's EO team.

I will post additional information as I get it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

If you haven't heard it from WPS, it isn't so...

Yes, I heard the rumors too, but no, the Worcester Public Schools have not cancelled school for Monday.
Administration and facilities are monitoring this over the course of the weekend, but they aren't going to call school unless it is necessary for safety reasons.
The easiest way to find out if school is cancelled is to watch here. In fact, if you text "follow @worcesterpublic" to 40404, you will get the Worcester Public Schools twitter feed as text messages, which means you'll get a text message when school is cancelled.
And I'll post if there is any announcement as well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Teresa Harvey-Jackson calls out the Boston School Committee, Superintendent, Mayor

It was announced Monday by Boston Public School officials that the Marshall Elementary in Dorchester will become an in-district charter next year (pending votes by the School Committee and the state Board of Ed). "In district" means it is nominally under the control of the School Committee, though they are bringing in Unlocking Potential to run the school.
At Wednesday night's Boston School Committee meeting, Teresa Harvey-Jackson, who has been principal of the Marshall School for decades and retires next week, called out the School Committee, Superintendent Carol Johnson, and Mayor Tom Menino for their lack of support for the school. Her testimony starts at minute 40.
(alas, BPS is not set up for video embedding. More's the pity.)

Sandy's coming...

...and the schools are getting ready. The School Committee received the following update from Mr. Allen last night regarding preparations for Hurricane Sandy:

...the Administration is actively monitoring the possible storm next week and working with the City’s Emergency Management Department to coordinate any activities and share information and resources.  The Facilities Department has instructed building custodians to take early precautions to secure the building, such as clearing roof drains, securing loose articles and trash receptacles in the school yard, etc.  The Facilities Department is prepared to respond to schools to address flooding, water infiltration, wind damage, or other issues. We are coordinating with the city to identify several schools as possible shelter locations in case is needed.  Additional updates on storm related issues will provided over the next few days as necessary.    
Go and do likewise!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Massachusetts students on education

Here's an analysis of education in the Presidential election from the youth of Press Pass TV:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Following the money in Louisiana

Matthew Cunningham-Cook of the Nation has followed the money in the Louisiana state school board race:

Chart is from the Nation: be sure and read the article.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"I think we all love teachers"

Thanks, of course, to Bob Schieffer for the above quote in response to Governor Romney's comment,that, while hiring teachers would not fix the economy, "I love teachers, and I’m happy to have states and communities that want to hire teachers..."

It billed as a foreign policy debate, but we did get a good bit of education-related talk in there. A few points:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And with that...

...we have possibly the earliest ending School Committee meeting ever!

Oh, and I asked for a report on admission to middle school honors programs. Are we using MCAS scores as a hard-and-fast cutoff?

Quarterly report of the Central Mass Special Education Collaborative

You might remember that we now get these as part of the new laws under which collaboratives exist.
We now have an update on the audit, how they are going in working towards compliance.
We will also be having their director coming to Finance and Operations when we next meet (which should be soon, actually).
O'Connell asking for final information regarding the audit once it is complete (and asking when that will be).
Foley referring to F&O as part of the conversation there regarding the compliance.

MassGrad Coalition Challenge grant

...on cutting down the drop out rate particularly among Latino students.

generous donation to Union Hill

Patricia Lanza is coming through for Union Hill again: $25,000 to Union Hill for class trips and school improvements.

Internships in WPS

We've got information about interns from Worcester State...Monfredo mentions those in Head Start
going to committee

School lunch compliance

O'Connell asking about reimbursement
Allen already in the chair
asking that it be referred to F&O
we're required to be in compliance by June 2013
both menus are in full compliance
"now just a matter of paperwork"
will be submitting with our October claim
some eligible this month; self-prep for November claim at latest
about $200,000 increase in funding
used for replace point-of-sale system (with a lease)
anything leftover goes into program to improve menu options and choices to students
back and forth about what system we're looking at for a replacement
O'Connell asks about a multiyear capital system
something we're considering

...and back to our regular meeting

...with the National Anthem performed by Canterbury Street School students.
Approving prior fiscal year payments for some stipends that hadn't been appropriately placed in the system.
Some questions here from Mr. O'Connell on if we can avoid this (as per usual)
Allen comments that the advantage of having a homegrown system is that we can update the system, but that it's also a data-entry issue.

Committee unanimously supports Kay Seale as new Special Education Director

And reconsideration fails

Motions on special education director

posting as we go
parent of a child with disabilities
relevant experience

MOTION: offer position to Ms. Seale

made great progress over past few years
more relevant background, with progressive responsibility over time
very experienced professional
will know MGL when she starts
a strong sense of collaboration in her background
importance of professional development for staff
reaching needs of each students
"not your children, our children"
moving towards more inclusion, more mainstreaming
transition children out of our school district

Monfredo: seconds the motion
someone who can work well with our staff, parents, community

O'Connell: three very fine people this evening
glad to interview all three
put in background each
each would bring to Worcester...a range of talents
running through the background of each of the three finalists
agrees with his colleagues: will support Seale
MGL distinctive in Massachusetts: experience
sympathy for students, interest in students, range of experience with various students
economics of special education: "cost based sensitive manner"
"we gain by selecting one of these three, lose by not having all three"
"true genuine support for students"
"what is in the best interest of all the children"

VOTE (on a roll call):
unanimously in favor of Ms. Seale

Special Education Director interviews: Kay Carolann Seale

Ms. Seale:
currently director of special education in Brockton
 public ed in 28 years, 10 years in Boston, the rest in Brockton
graduate of the Brockton public schools
both in Brockton and Boston
first time applying for position outside of Brockton

very hands on
work directly with parents, teachers, community agencies
partnerships with key players within schools
looking at resource within the district: looking at struggling learners

Monfredo: working with diverse population?
all services researched based (for autism)
task forces within community to see that services are being optimally applied
report produced for Boston on autism services
"special education is not a silo"
championing special ed is often also championing ELL students
pooling resources
looking at curriculum, assessment, and instruction
support the schools, the students, and provide the services
meet directly with family; partners in the process
worked with nursing services
transient population
that children are safe, have appropriate resources
creation of a clinical consulting team: a triage approach to students

Novick: relationship with teachers?
left a job at central office to go back to the school
part of experience, as a department head, evaluated teachers
started inclusion when I started in 1990
"I visit schools, I talk to teachers: that's the best part of my day"
common language: :not my kids, they're our kids"
educator first
build more relationships

Colorio: resolved situation
child denied services: miscommunication to parents
additional information: team reassessed

Foley: team on IEP?
IEP is a road map
"special education is not a place; it's a service"
making sure that professionals are not communicating in a language parents do not understand
"a true, live document"
mainstream as much as possible, be able to achieve competency
"want to educate our children so they can have opportunities beyond public schools"
citizens who are independent and successful

Biancheria: Why Worcester? Would you live here?
very impressed with resources you have in the district
your resources, opportunities provided, programming
philosophy, mission statement, common language to my philosophy
would grow professionally
develop relationships
moving is a possibility: children are older, have downsized, are in transition, husband works at BU
very familiar with city

O'Connell: balance of needs with resources?
"a tough question...special education cannot be a silo"
being creativity is very important
(mentions that Medicaid goes back to the city of Brockton)
maximize resources to get best bang for your buck
working with principals to meet needs in schools
needs of students moving into district
highly skilled staff
goal is to keep the students in district

dedicate to field of service
make a difference in the lives of those who have disabilities
product of public education
a mentor to families
important to give students hope
the IEP is the vehicle, the tool, to get them where they need to be
working together to meet the needs of their students
closely with building principals
working closely with superintendent and leadership team
clear expectations, coherence
being very transparent
"have the job that nobody wants...but I love it, I love what I do"

Interviews for special education director: Jeffery Lappin

Mr. Lappin:
currently director of sped at Jeremiah E. Burke School in Dorchester
changed to a full inclusion program over past several years

Petty: unique background?
worked at a factory in Fall River, prior to going into education
background in counseling, better to understand students

Monfredo: diverse population?
working with Cape Verdean students at Burke School
students referred for special education if they had difficulty learning English
make sure that those who do qualify get services, but those who do are qualified
mainly worked with students on Asperger's spectrum (autism)

Novick: perspective of special ed teachers?
background in counseling
working closely with academic teams
involved in summer schools, taught in the classroom
understanding difference between theory and practice
"kids don't follow along the theory"
teachers had a different respect for me after that

Colorio: worked with those at district level to resolve an issue?
most appropriate placement
what was best for student, document what student was able to do
make sure academic needs are being met
transition to new program

Foley: true team process?
being involved not just as a director, looking at strategies and supports early on
being part of meeting as a team to start process
observing classroom for student
"I've known the student, I've had conversations with the families"
door always open to families: going in early, staying late
ability to meet with teachers

Biancheria: why Worcester? would you live here?
challenges and advantages of an urban district
way to support all of the students
a lot to offer
"doing a lot of things right"
"upper levels are strong (in Worcester)"
family settled where they are now

O'Connell: balance of needs with limited finances?
"special ed is important, but it's not in a bubble"
sharing resources (teachers sharing PD)
teachers dual certified
"ways to use what we have...experts in the schools"

"large opportunity...working in a variety of the entire district"

Interviews for Special Education Director: Ronald Sinico

All three finalists will give an opening statement, then answer a question from each committee member (which will be the same for all finalists). Posting as we go

Mr. Sinico:
Currently Director of Education for two independent schools in the Bronx, has had a series of special ed positions
worked in a variety of places
chaired thousands of meetings...well prepared me to deal with situation at hand

Monfredo: working with a diverse population: your experience
explosion of autistic population, one of the most remarkable situations
50% of parents did not speak English, 30% of students did not speak English in last position
needed in Worcester to bring things into compliance, build more inclusionary programs

Novick: understand perspective of teachers who will work for you?
"a very deep respect for teachers who have to deal with students every day..also a high school principals...provide appropriate supports so teachers, then students can be successfull"
teaching like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it
evaluate teachers constantly
supervise teachers in all the various areas
importance of child study chairs

Colorio: example of working with administration, teachers, SC members, and parents to resolve situation while keeping the best interest of the student at heart?
"a bit hard"
students charged with suspension...needing an alternative educational placement
if you suspend a student, you may have no further recourse

Foley: working collaboratively during IEP development?
no challenges
kept in contact with students throughout the process
met with teacher before the IEP meeting...if it's a change, they have some concerns about it
computerized IEP programs now allow review ahead
function of time, develop trust relationships, being available, being straightforward with people when they ask questions

Biancheria: Why Worcester? Would you live here?
"awfully long commute from Albany" so yes
a lot of what I've dealt with before...reviewed sped department audit by state
"situations that I'm very, very comfortable with"
increasing level of responsibility
"intend for this to be my last job...only plan to work for six or seven more years"

O'Connell: competing demands with limited resources
"glad you raised that"
previous district had 25% sped "but they didn't, because no district is 25% special ed"
no need to hire more teachers to create new programs, special educator in the room
brought back out of district students
lowered rate to 18% classified as sped

"realize that this is a very challenging position...going to take a systems approach, going to take someone who doesn't need to be very popular, going to need some changes made..."
schools performing well to those not: extrapolate to lower performing schools

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Boston reorganization

I haven't yet done a post on the proposed Boston Public Schools reassignments, so I'm going to point you to this one from a Boston parent, which also gives plenty of handy links.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A bit on PARCC vs SBAC

...particularly with regards to children with special needs being assessed.

WPS Library Volunteer Session

There will be a session for Worcester Public Schools library volunteers on Tuesday, October 30 at 10 am at Norrback Elementary School. Our library liaison, Colleen Kelly, will be there, as will WPS librarians*. Whether you are a long-time volunteer or just starting out, this is a great way to meet others running elementary libraries and exchange ideas! They will also be covering BOOK REPAIR!

*Yes, we have librarians in all of our secondary schools, and half-time librarians in Union Hill, Chandler Elementary, and Burncoat Prep as part of their Level 4 turnaround plans.

Monday, October 15, 2012

State of the Schools is tonight

You can watch it here at North High in about 20 minutes or on Channel 11 afterward.
And I won't be live tweeting as I am ducking out for the exam school hearing, but Jackie Reis from the T&G is here, so there will be coverage in tomorrow's paper.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NPR on Romney and vouchers

NPR had a piece this morning discussing Governor Romney's support of vouchers as well as a campaign in which everyone loves "school choice." The point Rick Hess makes on vouchers is important:
Hess says that even if all of those federal dollars come in a backpack with the kid, it would amount to about $2,500 to $3,000 per child. He argues that's just not enough money to entice good schools, especially in the suburbs, to take low-income kids from struggling, inner-city schools.
Nor, of course, is that even close to tuition at a private school.
This is part of a larger national "school choice" push. Usually, that is code for vouchers, 'though this presidential administration has been using it for charter schools. In either case, it represents a fundamental reworking of what we're doing when we publicly fund education.
A democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. If everyone gets a say in who runs things, everyone needs to be able to have some understanding of basic science, economics, history, and so forth, and of course, everyone needs a measure of basic literacy. In order to continue to have a democracy, you need to continue to educate the next generation.
What you are doing is creating your next generation of voters.
(This is partly why, by the way, the discussions over science get so heated. If we educate the next generation on what we're actually doing to the Earth's climate, they may decide to do something about it.)
Thus we all have an interest in the education of children, and so we are all responsible for funding it. At the same time, however, we have a measure of oversight of that education. That's why we elect school boards (as well as representatives and senators and governors). The curriculum they are learning, as well as the circumstances in which they learn it, matters to all of us, whether we have children at all or children in public education.
If you give the public funds away to private schools or to charter schools, you are giving to entities that do not have public accountability. Public accountability isn't just "we can close you if your test scores are lousy." It means your budget books are open. It means your hiring processes are in line with state and federal laws (no exceptions). It means your curriculum is open to public debate and process.
None of which is true for these other systems.
We as Americans have a fundamental interest in the education of the next generation. School choice, when used this way, prevents us from pursuing that interest and maintaining responsibility for the continuation of democracy.
There's no reason for this to be in conflict with parents pursuing what is best for their child. We need, however, not to lose sight of the reason for which we have a public education system in the first place.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Next week in Worcester

Several things of interest happening in the Worcester Public Schools next week:

  • University Park Campus School is having their reaccreditation committee visiting late this week and into next week from NEASSC.
  • Superintendent Boone will be delivering her annual State of the Schools address at 7 pm Monday night at North High School. The public is invited to attend (and it will also be broadcast on Channel 11). 
  • The second of the four Ad-Hoc Committee public hearings is also Monday night at 8 pm (for those who may wish to make both!) at Holy Cross in the Hogan Center, Suite A. I've heard we have some students coming, which should be great!
  • On Wednesday (for those keeping track of such things), the Ad-Hoc Committee is visiting Boston Latin School.
  • Thursday night is our regularly scheduled School Committee meeting. We are interviewing the finalists for the Special Education position, so PLEASE attend if you have interest and forward thoughts to the School Committee on this position. The agenda on this will post this afternoon.

Jean-Claude Brizard is out in Chicago

Late yesterday, the news broke that by "mutual agreement," Jean-Claude Brizard has resigned as Chief Executive Officer*of the Chicago Public Schools.

Brizard left a position in Rochester, NY to take the job in Chicago less than a year and a half ago, after a contentious period there. It appears that the Chicago teachers' strike in which Brizard was largely absent as an actor caused his downfall.

Somewhat remarkably (and no, I'm not being sarcastic), Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who is currently the acting Chief Education Officer and will be stepping up to Executive Officer, is a former teacher. Byrd-Bennett also does not plan to replace anyone in the Education Officer position, performing the function of academic leader personally.

And speaking of Brizard, the latest edition of Rethinking Schools has a piece on Broad Academy graduates (which went to press prior to this announcement).

*Chicago does not have a superintendent, and, in fact, has had several CEOs who have not been qualified to be superintendent. It appears that they may finally be getting one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Research reviewed by the Ad-Hoc Committee

I've gotten a couple of requests on the order of "what have you been reading?" regarding the Ad-Hoc Committee. I know that there will be a page just for the Ad-Hoc Committee on the WPS site soon. In the meantime, this is an incomplete list--I'll have to dig through my files a bit more--but it will get you started:

 THE ELITE ILLUSION:ACHIEVEMENT EFFECTS AT BOSTON AND NEW YORK EXAM SCHOOLS, 2011; Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Joshua D. Angrist, and Parag A. Pathak

Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City, 2011; Will Dobbie and Roland G. Fryer, Jr.;

Anti-Lemons: School Reputation, Relative Diversity, and Educational Quality, 2011; W.Bentley Macleod and Miguel Urquiola;

The Effect of Tracking Students by Ability into Different Schools: a Natural Experiment, 2012; Nina Guyon,a Eric Maurina and Sandra McNally;

Selective Schools and Academic Achievement, 2008; Damon Clarke;
School Functioning and Psychological Well-Being of International Baccalaureate and General Education Students A Preliminary Examination, 2006; Elizabeth Shaunessy Shannon M. Suldo Robin B. Hardesty Emily J. Shaffer;

Working to My Potential: The Postsecondary Experiences of CPS Students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, 2012; Vanessa Coca, David Johnson, Thomas Kelley-Kemple, Melissa Roderick,Eliza Moeller, Nicole Williams, and Kafi Moragne;

Raising all boats? An examination of claims that the International Baccalaureate diploma program is good for all; RP O'Connor, 2011;

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs: Optimal Learning Environments for Talented Minorities?, 2007; Robin M. Kyburg, Holly Hertberg-Davis and Carolyn M. Callahan;

Expanding Opportunities for High Academic Achievement: An International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in an Urban High School, 2008; Anysia P. Mayer;

We are also awaiting Chester Finn's new book Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools

We also are visiting Boston Latin School, John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science (both of which are exam schools), and the International Baccalaureate programs at Josiah Quincy Upper School and Abby Kelley Foster Charter School. 

First exam/IB hearing TONIGHT

The first of four exam and/or IB school public hearings is tonight at 7 pm at Quinsigamond Community College in Room 109B of the Learning Center.
We'll give an update on the conversation thus far, and we'll then ask for public comment.
Please feel welcome!

UPDATE: The Ad-Hoc Committee has a spot on the Worcester Public Schools website now! (Thanks, Ben!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kindergarten testing grant

You can read about the testing system we're purchasing with this grant here. It's (go figure!) an authentic assessment system.
While we aren't cutting out any current testing, we might in the future; we're a pilot district. It also does not involve (a ton) more time of the teacher being out of the classroom to test students.
And in case you think that committee members never change their votes based on information from administration...I just did.

Upcoming dates

Superintendent's State of the Schools is October 15 at 7 pm at North High.
Coats for Kids is having their annual fundraiser at Coral Seafood from 4 to 9 pm on October 11. Admission is $10 (and there's food and entertainment).

Food Day!

Saturday, October 20 is Food Day! You can find it at the Main South Farmers' Market.

Staffing levels

...motion is specific to Union Hill...are we providing the staffing support that a Level 4 school needs?
further discussion on needs of schools; how are IA's placed (they're placed only by population, after the first one) we need to consider other inputs, like student needs?

JROTC report

92 Air Force at Burncoat
130 Navy at North High
169 Air Force at South High

Biancheria asking for a presentation on what they're doing

Update on special education hiring

Three semi-finalists interviewed
(there were four, but one accepted a position before the interviews)
Setting a date for final interviews at October 18 meeting
So the question here should we interview those three or should we interview only whatever the strongest recommendation is from the interview committee, possibly only a single person
O'Connell suggests that we interview the three that were interviewed as finalists, expressing some concern that only four were finalists
Boone clarifies that more than four applied, but only four met standards set by School Committee
Novick: notes from July 19 demonstrate that we already voted this: 4-3 multiple candidates; motion for a single candidate failed 3-4
Petty speaks to work of committee, strength of endorsement from them
O'Connell: perception that the fix is in, that it's a coronation, not a real process
Monfredo: put a lot of time and effort into it
O'Connell's motion for multiple candidates passes, 4-3 (again)
Time to be determined after consulting with candidates

EAW president on innovation schools

Len Zalauskas:
"a good example on why the city of Worcester needs to improve the funding of the Worcester Public Schools...get a bang for their buck!"
requests that this be taken back to the City Council

Colorio suggestion on partnerships

asking if we can put something on our website where schools can post needs
Superintendent speaking here of WEC and "the community responsibility report"
suggests updating the School Committee on that
concerned that any such spot on the website would rapidly be out of date

Innovation School updates

posting as we go
  • Chandler Magnet
  • Goddard Scholars
  • Goddard School of Science and Technology
  • University Park Campus School
  • Woodland Academy
Chandler Magnet
83.5% of students at Chandler Magnet are English Language Learners, over 70% of those Latino
change in focus
"build background knowledge and increase vocabulary development to help students make connections"
change in focus from last year's focus on literacy
"accelerate literacy and language across all curricula"
guided reading across grade levels
"took our existing strengths and built upon them"
dual language implemented last year for grades K and 1; grade 2 added this year
parent trainings, movie nights, PTO in a variety of settings
no stagnant or declining MCAS scores; even better in MEPA (which assesses ELL students)
"discourse in our building is non-negotiable"
Next steps: parent workshops, stakeholders meetings, expanding community partnership, PBIS program
Goddard Scholars (which is at Sullivan Middle)
"teacher-led innovation plan"
"City-wide magnet program serving gifted and talented middle school programs grades 6-8"
online gradebook
three years of middle school "allowing for more depth and more rigor"
six subjects considered core classes: math (4 years in 3), social studies, science (with lab), English, music (including band), foreign language (full level 1 course in either Spanish or French); technology, field trips, gifted and talented classes
"also benefit from the wraparound coordinator"
staff expanded to nine full-time teachers (as they added grade 6 this year)
high student growth percentiles
challenges: cross curricular projects and exhibitions of learning
culture and team building among staff and students
using new digital resources
gifted and talented education for all teachers
Goddard School:
"collaboratively build a neighborhood structure that supports students in the Main South Community from cradle to college and career"
innovation governance board, increased training, shared vision
"read, respond thoughtfully, comprehend!"
"new comprehensive progress reporting tool" that is differentiated by grade level, unpacks all subject areas in parent friendly language, includes lots of data, rubrics and teacher narrative
reports came out 8 times a year; students participated in parent/teacher conferences
early childhood literacy: addition of two preschool classes, monthly literacy workshops for neighborhood children and day cares
"working to build family participation in the school"
increased health center options for preschool and kindergarten options
GED and ESL classes offered to adults twice a week (each)
Next steps: expanding working in math, focusing on implementation; multi-sensory literacy program in pre-K through grade 2; professional development to differentiate instruction; revitalize PTO, increased classes for adults; collaborate with other innovation schools

University Park Campus School:
Goddard started with a quote from Robert Goddard; UPCS starts with one from Walt Whitman
grades 7-12 heterogeneous classes
"student-centered, active of the whole child"
numeracy curriculum for 8th graders
expanded AP before school
new classroom technology "wifi in little 12 Freeland Street built in 1884"
8th, 10th, 12th Gateway presentations
8th grade math seen as a success
hiring: "sense of pride and ownership in getting to decide who is part of the team"
challenges: to raise SAT and AP scores; maintain math score gains; outside grant funding for before and after school programs
Numeracy across the curriculum; new after school clubs; Pinpoint computer use (from Houghton Mifflin); continue partnerships; and parent council

Woodland Academy:
I should mention that we have a group from Woodland up in the balcony tonight, and now they all have World Smile Day stickers.
"we welcome and celebrate our students' diversity while advocating for their support"
"where teaching and learning is characterized by engagement, awareness, curiosity, and academic risk taking"
"collaborative approach to the hiring process"
wraparound coordinator: social-emotional, academic, college & career readiness
organic model of professional development
Next steps: reorganize ELL "push-in" model using collaborative teaching model; redesigning progress reports and report cards
one of the areas of the report card is "character development" which includes children being graded on respect, cooperation, responsibility, dedication, curiosity, compassion/empathy, perseverance  honesty/integrity, courage, and independence

Worcester Historical Museum

Bill Wallace, Executive Director of the Worcester Historical Museum: new family galleries coming in December!
Supported by the Alden Trust
"It's not a just a door's getting people through our much-malinged doors and into our gallery!"
Naming contest for the new characters who will be the interactive characters for the gallery
Classes are invited to enter with names: classes who win will win passes to WHM and tee shirts
And tomorrow is World Smile Day!