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Monfredo: School Opening Off To A Flying Start..

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Just last week Superintendent Binienda gave a “School Opening Report” containing many facts that the public many not be aware about.  Let’s look at some of the information mentioned at the meeting for this is a small snapshot of the district!  Here we go - DID YOU KNOW…

Student enrollment – this year, overall K-12 enrollment is trending higher… the largest increases are at the grades 9 to 12 level.

Elementary Class Sizes – There is a 21.5 to 1 teacher pupil ratio across the district when you factor in teachers and literacy and intervention tutors.  In the kindergarten classrooms there is a 13.0 to 1 student adult ratio counting teachers and instructional assistants.  However, my belief is that all kindergarten classes need a teacher assistant.  We need to make it happen during the next two years.

Employees – The Worcester Public Schools employees 3,966 staff members and that is the third highest in the city behind UMass Memorial Health Care and UMass Medical School.

Curriculum and Learning – The district provides students with 23 Advanced Placement Courses (AP).  With Superintendent Binienda at the helm and having a most successful program when she was principal at South High there will be a strong push to increase participation in AP courses throughout the district.   AP enrollment prepares and assist  students for college and career movement.  The district will launch PSAT 8/9 for all grade 9 students in the district, provide PSAT for all grade 10 and 11 students on October 19th,  will provide an in-school SAT Day for April 5, 2017.   The district has also developed a strong collaboration with MassInsight Education Gateway to College Success Network.

Other Curriculum and Learning opportunities – Continued implementation of the successful School-Wide AVID program at Burncoat High School and Sullivan Middle School.  The AVID program will continue to grow with 8 elementary schools participating starting in grade four and eight secondary schools will continue their expansion of the program. The mission of AVID is “to ensure that all students, especially students in the middle will succeed in a rigorous curriculum and have a pathway to college.   AVID teaches the students strategies in writing, inquiry, literacy and has a framework of structures that will motivate, model, and assist those students in the middle who care to learn.

 In addition, the district will continue to development the district’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Framework through district personnel, parents and community partners.

Student Support – The district will continue to align and expand course pathways, including CTE and CVTE Pathways.  They will continue to offer VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL COURSES for high school student and implement “hands only CPR” training to all middle and high students during Physical Education classes.

Youth Mobile Crisis Intervention to support high risk students is available system-wide and there will be a number of partnerships to make school-based mental health-services available to students and families.  Also, the Temporary Learning Classroom (TLC) has been reorganized and expanded as the Assessment and Stabilization Program moved to Goddard Elementary School.

The will be an expansion of ESL instruction and continued support for ELL students.  The support curriculum enhancement for ESL will be under the direction of the ESL Curriculum Liaison member.  In addition, there will be a launching of a parent engagement initiative, based upon the evidenced based model from the Parent Institute for Quality Education.

Professional Development for staff – A strong PD program has been developed with emphasis on a literacy based approach as well as ongoing professional learning workshops for all staff to support perpetual learning at all levels that will focus on content and practice.

Accountability – Preliminary results for 2016 indicate that many schools in the system are making progress … In English Language Arts – 26 schools improved upon their 2015 Progress and Performance Index while 28 schools met or exceeded the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) growth targets…  In Math 28 schools improved upon their 2015 Progress and Performance Index while 29 schools met or exceeded DESE growth targets.  In Science and Technology/Engineering 22 school improved upon their 2015 Progress and Performance Index.  The release of all scores will be out on Monday, September 26th.

Free breakfast and lunch for ALL students – We all know that research states that starting the day with a good breakfast enhances learning and good health.   This is the second year that this program is in effect and it enables all students to have access to all school meals at no cost.  All of the lunches take into account the importance of good nutrition with the opportunity for the students to have fresh fruits and vegetables.

Student transportation -  The  district has 96 large school buses and 135 Special Education Buses and Out of district vehicles transporting the students.  Twelve thousand three hundred twenty students are transported daily covering more than 10,000 miles per day and 1.8 million miles per school year.  

Grants Awarded to the district -  73 grants were awarded last year totaling $37.7 million

Facilities Improvements -  The cosmetic look of a school is most important for parents and students want to be proud of their environment.   Once again additional schools are upgraded  through funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.  This year the following schools will benefit … Grafton Street, Jacob Hiatt, Flagg Street, and McGrath.  All of the schools will have new windows, exterior doors, and other improvements to their school building.  In addition, the new Nelson Place continues to be built with the date of September 2017 for an opening. There are also a number of other improvements at other schools in the district taking place.

There, now you the short report update!  I have visited many of the schools in the district and it appears that our Superintendent has the system moving forward toward a very successful school year.


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