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John Monfredo: Let’s Start a ‘Read Across Worcester Week’

Saturday, January 18, 2014

 

This year, let’s get the community involved in the National Educational Association’s “Read Across America” Day by tying it in with a “Read Across Worcester Week.” This annual event, sponsored by the NEA, started in 1997, was designed to create a day to celebrate reading. Thus, NEA has tied it in the with the famous children’s author Dr. Seuss whose birthday is on March 2nd. This event has now become the largest celebration of reading in the nation. This year it will be on March 3rd because the 2nd falls on a Sunday.

As a former principal, it’s an event year after year that I whole hardly participated in and supported. Motivating children to read and to peak their interest is essential. We all know that “Readers are Leaders” so why not excite our students about reading and create lifelong successful readers? As research continues to point out children who are motivated and spend more time reading excel in school.

Making it personal

As a supporter of literacy and as a school committee member who yearly places this item on the School Committee agenda, I’d like to expand the event this year. I’d like to see not only the schools but the entire community become involved. Why not make this event personal to the community and call this affair “Read Across Worcester Week?” Let’s have Mayor Petty declare the importance of the week with a “Proclamation.”

As for the schools let’s get all of our elementary and middle schools excited by having “reading rallies” and other activities that call attention to the importance of reading. Let’s have our school nurses involved by wearing buttons that say READ, and as the NEA is doing this year let’s highlight the importance of oral health and the connection between oral health and literacy. Thanks to national sponsor and dental benefits provider Renaissance Dental the week will also center on dental health. The significance of this sponsorship is essential for research points out that children across the nation miss 51 million hours of school every year due to oral health problems… many of which are easily preventable. The event calls for students to brush twice a day for two minutes and to read for 20 minutes every day. Perhaps we can get the word out to our local dentists and have them also participate.

On the elementary level, perhaps some of the schools could play the pajama game. Invite students to don their pajamas and come to school with their parents and snuggle and read in a readathon. Also, bus drivers could become involved by setting a reading challenge; cafeteria workers can prepare recipes from favorite books; and students and higher education members can get their campuses involved in their communities. All of them could be guest readers along with other members of the community.

Let's get everyone involved

Let’s involve the Massachusetts partner for “Read Across America” in this venture—the Reach Out and Read organization. This group makes early literacy part of pediatric primary care and they are already several sites in the Worcester area including UMass Medical. Through the Reach Out and Read program, pediatricians encourage parents to read aloud to their young children and give their patients books to take home at all pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age. So during the week of March 3rd let’s encourage pediatricians to prescribe Dr. Seuss remedies to their patients.

We should also work with the Educational Association of Worcester and have them as partners within the schools. As an arm of the NEA the EAW could assist schools in securing poster materials for the event.

Spread the word

In the community let’s get the word out through the media by asking our local radio stations to read or even broadcast from various schools about reading events. Even though the event is aimed for elementary and middle schools why not get our high school students involved? High School students love reader's theater and poetry slams, and they can organize book fairs and read to elementary students, or create blogs to engage their peers.

The week of March 3rd could also have writing activities such as having students write to local heroes or local leaders and ask them about their favorite books. Showcase these hometown heroes and their choices in individual reading celebrations. Let us also work with the Worcester Educational Collaborative and United Way in having them sponsor reading activities in the community.

We need to contact our Worcester Public Library Center and involve the library in the city’s celebration. We could have our mobile libraries moving around the city supporting this effort. Perhaps all the branch libraries can put reading on parade or hold a book lovers' ball at the main library and invite local authors and illustrators to showcase their books and characters in style.

Let’s also team up with our local sports teams… the Worcester Sharks and the Worcester Bravehearts and involve them in sponsoring reading. In addition, let’s make our reading a multilingual, multicultural affair. Looking for readers? Why not try storytellers from the ethnic minority communities. Their oral traditions are treasure troves for our students. The list is endless for we have the momentum to move forward in making literacy an everyday occurrence in this city.

As co-chair with my wife, Anne-Marie, of “Worcester: the City that Reads” committee we will be launching our Give a Book Program during the week. We will be starting to collect new and gently used books from pre-k to grade 8 for our children for summer reading. Donation sites will be forthcoming. We plan to do our part in making literacy a priority in this community and I am asking that everyone step up and help out.

Please remember that literacy is the building block of success in life. The ability to read is the foundation on which all other subjects are based. The importance of reading must be a focal point in our community so why not use the week of March 3rd as a spring board for more literacy events? As the famous Walt Disney once stated, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." Worcester, let’s make it happen!

 

Related Slideshow: Central MA School Districts with the Highest Teacher Evaluations

During the 2012-2013 school year, Race to the Top (RTTT) districts in Massachusetts were required to implement the new Educator Evaluation framework with at least 50 percent of their educators district-wide. Of Central Massachusetts’s 52 school districts, 26 implemented the Educator Evaluation structure. These 26 school districts are listed below ranked from the lowest teacher evaluation score to the highest. Keep reading to see where your district’s teachers rank, as well as to view the state and regional averages.

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State Average

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 7.4%

Percentage with proficient scores: 85.2%

Percentage that need improvement: 6.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.7%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 37,940

Total number of educators evaluated: 61,441

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Central MA Average

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 5.1%

Percentage with proficient scores: 88.2%

Percentage that need improvement: 6.4%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.04%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 8,843

Total number of educators evaluated: 5,987

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#26 Quaboag

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 6.3%

Percentage with proficient scores: 75.0%

Percentage that need improvement: 18.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 131

Total number of educators evaluated: 80

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#25 Oxford

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 8.7%

Percentage with proficient scores: 73.9%

Percentage that need improvement: 17.4%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 168

Total number of educators evaluated: 46

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#24 Uxbridge

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.0%

Percentage with proficient scores: 84.2

Percentage that need improvement: 15.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 162

Total number of educators evaluated: 19

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#23 Fitchburg

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 8.6%

Percentage with proficient scores: 77.3%

Percentage that need improvement: 13.3%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.9%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 456

Total number of educators evaluated: 233

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#22 Westborough

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 1.5%

Percentage with proficient scores: 86.6%

Percentage that need improvement: 10.4%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 1.5%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 335

Total number of educators evaluated: 67

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#21 Lunenburg

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 1.4%

Percentage with proficient scores: 87.7%

Percentage that need improvement: 10.9%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 1,209

Total number of educators evaluated: 495

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#20 North Brookfield

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 2.7%

Percentage with proficient scores: 86.5%

Percentage that need improvement: 10.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 59

Total number of educators evaluated: 37

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#19 Millbury

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 3.3%

Percentage with proficient scores: 87.9%

Percentage that need improvement: 6.6%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 2.2%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 158

Total number of educators evaluated: 91

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#18 Blacktone-Millville

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 10.6%

Percentage with proficient scores: 81.9%

Percentage that need improvement: 7.4%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 162

Total number of educators evaluated: 94

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#17 Southbridge

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 9.9%

Percentage with proficient scores: 83.6%

Percentage that need improvement: 5.9%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.7%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 212

Total number of educators evaluated: 152

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#16 Worcester

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 6.2%

Percentage with proficient scores: 87.7%

Percentage that need improvement: 5.6%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.4%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 1,859

Total number of educators evaluated: 1,825

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#15 Webster

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 10.9%

Percentage with proficient scores: 83.2%

Percentage that need improvement: 5.9%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 159

Total number of educators evaluated: 101

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#14 Hudson

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 3.9%

Percentage with proficient scores: 90.8%

Percentage that need improvement: 5.2%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 288

Total number of educators evaluated: 153

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#13 Gardner

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 3.3%

Percentage with proficient scores: 91.7%

Percentage that need improvement: 5.0%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 227

Total number of educators evaluated: 120

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#12 Dudley-Charlton

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 6.5%

Percentage with proficient scores: 88.7%

Percentage that need improvement: 4.2%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.6%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 320

Total number of educators evaluated: 168

Prev Next

#11 Northbridge

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.5%

Percentage with proficient scores: 95.5%

Percentage that need improvement: 4.0%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 229

Total number of educators evaluated: 200

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#10 Winchendon

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.7%

Percentage with proficient scores: 95.6%

Percentage that need improvement: 3.6%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 139

Total number of educators evaluated: 137

Photo: Flickr/AdmissionsQuest

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#9 Bellingham

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 1.0%

Percentage with proficient scores: 95.6%

Percentage that need improvement: 3.4%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 215

Total number of educators evaluated: 206

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#8 Quabbin

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 4.5%

Percentage with proficient scores: 92.5%

Percentage that need improvement: 2.5%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.5%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 207

Total number of educators evaluated: 199

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#7 Grafton

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.0%

Percentage with proficient scores: 97.2%

Percentage that need improvement: 2.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 253

Total number of educators evaluated: 178

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#6 Ralph C. Maher

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 2.6%

Percentage with proficient scores: 94.7%

Percentage that need improvement: 2.6%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 79

Total number of educators evaluated: 76

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#5 Marlborough

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.9%

Percentage with proficient scores: 96.2%

Percentage that need improvement: 2.8%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 434

Total number of educators evaluated: 423

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#3 Auburn (Tied)

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.0%

Percentage with proficient scores: 99.1%

Percentage that need improvement: 0.9%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 202

Total number of educators evaluated: 116

Prev Next

#3 Leominster (Tied)

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 0.0%

Percentage with proficient scores: 99.1%

Percentage that need improvement: 0.9%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 523

Total number of educators evaluated: 332

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#2 Wachusett

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 29.1%

Percentage with proficient scores: 70.3%

Percentage that need improvement: 0.6%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 534

Total number of educators evaluated: 334

Prev Next

#1 Douglas

Teacher Scoring Breakdown:

Percentage with exemplary scores: 9.5%

Percentage with proficient scores: 90.5%

Percentage that need improvement: 0.0%

Percentage with unsatisfactory scores: 0.0%

Sample Details:

Number of educators to be evaluated: 123

Total number of educators evaluated: 105

 
 

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