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John Monfredo: The Essential Work of Worcester Education Collaborative

Saturday, November 17, 2012

 

One of the busiest organizations in our city is the Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC). This group has continued to push for change in the education of children in Worcester.   According to Dr. Jennifer Davis Carey, the founding-Executive Director of the Worcester Educational Collaborative, the birth of the WEC started nearly five years ago when former Clark University President John Bassett called upon leaders from the community to come together to support the Worcester Public Schools and to address the critical issues in education.

After much planning the organization is in its third year of operation and well into the work of their mission “to engage the community in fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that excellence in education is available to all public school students and that the students are prepared for success in college, career and in life.”

The work of the Collaborative stems from the belief that excellence results from a meaningful partnership among schools, families, and the community. In its multiple roles as a disseminator of best practices, supportive critic, partner, and incubator of leaders, the Collaborative supports this belief through programs, initiatives, and events that inform, equip, and energize all segments of our city in support of our schools and our children. College, career, and life.
 
The Worcester Education Collaborative is made possible by over 35 private funding organizations and from individual donors in the community.  The organization which is located at 484 Main Street in Worcester, has a most impressive board headed by Mr. George W. Tetler, III, Chairman of the Board and a partner in the Bowditch & Dewey Law Firm.

Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Davis Carey, an individual with vision and a great deal of energy, gave her third annual public message to a gathering at Mechanics Hall this week.

Dr. Carey spoke about the role of the organization as a partner  and an advocate to the public schools, engaged in looking for the best and promising practices in education for all children and, when necessary, a supportive critic of the schools and the community.  She stated that WEC collaborates with a host of partners across the city to advance student achievement, advocate for Worcester’s students and schools and engage the community in the importance of education.

This event was suggested by myself to Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone, and has been carried forward for the third consecutive year.  The address has highlighted the accomplishments of the school system and the work needed to done to be done to close the achievement gap.  Work in the past has also centered on parent engagement symposiums with the establishment of a “Family Academy.”

Dr. Carey spoke about the Worcester Campaign for Grade Level Reading that was started last year and will continue this year.  The campaign will address all three areas identified as primarily community and family responsibilities that research has demonstrated as having a significant effect of reading achievement…out of school learning, attendance, and pre-school learning.  A committee started by Dr. Carey has been working aggressively to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for our city by partnering up with a number of organizations.

Work by the WEC this year will also include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning through partnerships with EMC Corporation, area colleges and universities, and the Worcester Public Schools.  The program will offer science clubs in some of our elementary schools.

Dr. Carey then spoke about the achievement gap.  She stated, “This is a gap that we cannot afford to overlook or to dismiss…this gap is not just one of achievement, but one of opportunity.  Opportunity now for challenging work, for high expectations, for support to independence and individual agency…a gap between those with an opportunity for a meaningful career, a sound wage, and to contribute to a thriving community and those cosigned to the margins.”

She ended her address by declaring, “Worcester, unlike many cities is rich with resources… higher education institutions, a population representative of our globe, and a deep philanthropic sense.  To address the needs of all of our children so that we can assure this city’s bright future, we must have a full aligned community response.  This is work we can do.  This is work we must do!”

WEC is to be commended for their mission to ensure that students in the Worcester Public Schools are given the opportunity to succeed at the highest possible level and for collaborating with a variety of partners to work on behalf of the children in our public schools. 

 

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