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Giorgio: Two New Schools With Different Challenges

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

 

Paul Giorgio

If you think that nothing is going right in the Worcester Public Schools, think again. Last week the Mayor and the School Committee took two monumental steps in helping Worcester’s school age population.

The first step the School Committee took was to create an international baccalaureate school for gifted and talented students. There was an effort  by some, including the Mayor to create an “Exam School” much like Boston Latin School. This would have been a far better idea and shown Worcester’s  real commitment to gifted and talented students.

The International Baccalaureate School has all the components of the so called exam school, but without the entrance exam. The question remains as to how the school department will choose the students  who want to attend the new high school.

Plans call for the school to be housed at Doherty High School in the short term. It is expected to have about 200 students the first year. There are future plans for a new Doherty High School down the road.

We need a school for gifted student.

I believe that the students of Worcester need a school for gifted students who want to excel and who care about their education. Some have argued against this type of school claiming that it stacked against minorities. That is wrong. I would argue that recent immigrants to this country are the ones who excel, no matter what their skin color. The new school would be a celebration of diversity and of cultures.

Let’s give students who want to learn the tools to do so. Let us lift up our brightest students without hurting others. We all understand the challenges of an urban school district.

Worcester creates a recovery school.

The second thing that happened last week was the announcement of a “Recovery High School." This school would specifically be for students who are in recovery from a number of addictions, including drugs and alcohol.

The school would be limited to 50 students. The only criterion is that you have to be sober for 30 days. That may not seem like a long time to most of us, but to some people it is a lifetime. One of the problems we face is the increasing opiate addiction problem. This just doesn’t happen in “bad neighborhoods," it happens in all neighborhoods.  We need to address this problem in a holistic way. The Recovery High School is one such tool.  Just because someone is battling the addiction demon, does not mean that they don’t want an education or deserve one.

The Recovery High School, in addition to educating, will also provide intensive counselling. The school will have 4 classrooms, meeting space, a small cafeteria and a counseling center.  It is nonresidential and will be self-contained.

2 steps taken to help Worcester’s students.

So this past week, we have had two great steps taken to improve public education in Worcester. Two steps were taken for two different school age populations. Two steps to improve the education quality in our city.  We have taken two steps, with one goal in mind-helping the children of Worcester, no matter who they are or where they come from.

The students in both these schools know where they came from, but they don’t know where they are going.  We need to help both the gifted and the recovering reach their full potential.

 

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