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10 Percent of Worcester Students Need Remedial Help in Summer

Thursday, July 12, 2012

 

2,500 students who have been identified as academically-at-risk students are enrolled in Worcester Public Schools’ summer school program; a number that some School Committee members think should be higher.

“I’m trying to get more students into summer school,” John Monfredo, a former WPS principal and current school committee member, said. “I’m looking at the statistics to see what we can do to expand the programs.”

2011 MCAS data indicates that the district had 29 percent of its students fail the mathematics portion of the exam; 18 percent of the students in the district failed the English Language Arts portion.

More than 24,000 students are enrolled in the K-12 district, and students are recommended for summer school if they are identified as in need of support academically. Programs are offered based on the availability federal funds and other grants, which are usually targeted towards at-risk students.

“Low income students lose two to three months of academic growth each summer,” Monfredo said. “They are not engaged in learning activities.”

Title I Schools

All Title I elementary schools in Worcester offer summer academic support programs for eligible students. Title I directs funding based on populations that are identified as disadvantaged in any number of areas, including, but not limited to, those students with economic needs, minority students, and those with a lack of proficiency in English.

Monfredo said that he was very pleased with Superintendent Melinda Boone’s decision to add to the summer school program, but he wanted to see how well the programs were attended.

“I’m glad she added four days to the program,” Monfredo said. “I want to look at the statistics and see what else we can do to expand the program.”

30 of the city’s 33 elementary schools are Title I schools; only Flagg Street, Nelson Place and West Tatnuck Elementary Schools are not. The majority of the students at each of these schools scored proficient or higher on the 2011 MCAS exams.

Unfortunately, students in need of academic support at these schools do not have a summer school option at their local school, nor is admission to another city school’s summer program an option.

Grant Funded

Barbara Sargent, Director of Supplemental Academic Programs and Services said that funding for most summer school program is based on grants.

“The number and which students we enroll in the summer program depend upon the funding source,” Sargent said. “We prioritize students based on academic need.”

Summer school programs are focused on Mathematics, Language Arts and English at the elementary and middle school level; science is added at the high school level in preparation for this additional subject on the MCAS.

All Worcester middle schools offered a summer academic support program this year, except for Sullivan Middle School for the summer of 2012, which only offered ELL program this summer for those learning the English language. Each Worcester high school provided a summer programs as a result of MCAS Academic Support grants.

Monfredo said he would also like to see community groups get involved with summer education.

“We need to reach out to parents and engage the community,” he said. “Children need to engage in learning activities.”


 

 

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