Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
The Worcester Public School district has released information regarding the state’s tagging of Chandler Elementary and Union Hill schools as Level 4. 35 schools in the state were classified as Level 4. There is no mention of what the state has planned for these schools (see post below), but in the release Superintendent Melinda Boone does say “Worcester Public Schools will capitalize on this opportunity to redesign the instructional program at Chandler Elementary and Union Hill Elementary so that they will be a model for highly effective instructional practices throught this city and the Commonwealth.” Expect some sort of reshuffling, but they’re not saying to what extent yet. School Committee meets tonight at 7:00, more details will come out then.
Press release after the jump.
LEVEL 4 SCHOOLS
MARCH 4, 2010
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today released its initial list of 35 Level 4 schools in the Commonwealth. Worcester Public Schools has two schools on that list: Chandler Elementary and Union Hill Elementary. Although this news is disappointing, it is not unexpected.
Last fall, Worcester Public Schools announced the Worcester Improvement Strategy, designed to improve the performance of all schools in the district. Under DESE’s former accountability system, Worcester Public Schools had 13 “Priority Schools” and the district was designated a Commissioner’s District due to the number of lower performing schools. That improvement strategy focuses on improving the literacy achievement of 3rd and 4th grade students, increasing the achievement of English Language Learners and students with disabilities, along with ensuring access to 21st century learning skills. For the past 18 months, schools in the district have focused on critical skills to enhance teaching and learning. The state’s first release of growth model data showed that 50% of students in the district achieved acceptable levels of growth on the MCAS assessments, along with the first positive movement on 2009 scores in 3rd and 4th grade ELA in several years.
Using the district’s improvement strategy as a lever for improved achievement of all schools, the district has spent this year aligning curricular practices and resources to focus on ensuring that students have access to a rigorous core curriculum and that professional development is aligned to address the specific goals for teachers and supports for students. We were not waiting for the state’s rollout of the new accountability and assistance plan to address gaps in student achievement. The state’s new accountability system validates the structures we have put in place to address deep and sustainable instructional changes.
Dr. Melinda J. Boone, Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools, stated: “we are obviously quite disappointed that two of our schools have been designated as Level 4. These schools have worked extremely hard to provide high quality educational opportunities for all the students enrolled there. While significant progress has been made, we acknowledge that the rate of progress has not met the state and federal benchmarks for student achievement. I need to be perfectly clear that there is no single contributing factor that led to the school’s overall performance. Unfortunately, we have not been able to create the right synergy for sustainable progress at a very high level. I want to personally thank the principals, teachers, central office support, parents and community for their level of support and commitment to addressing the educational needs of students in Worcester.”
Worcester Public Schools will capitalize on this opportunity to redesign the instructional program at Chandler Elementary and Union Hill Elementary so that they will be a model for highly effective instructional practices throughout this city and the Commonwealth. Continuing with our collaborative partnerships along with garnering the voices of teachers and parents in the process will be essential to an effective redesign. The district’s goal is to develop and deliver on the promise of career and college readiness for every student, as well as redefining Worcester as the “preferred educational opportunity” for its community.
Contact: Dr. Melinda J. Boone, Superintendent, Worcester Public Schools