Creating Connections - January 22, 2016

A weekly message from Interim Superintendent Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues

January 22, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 5

Superintendent's Message

Happy Friday!!!

You all have heard of the No Child Left Behind Act that brought many layers of accountability to schools and school districts. I refer to it, not because of what the act represented, but because of the powerful message behind the words "No Child Left Behind".

Yesterday, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the graduation and drop-out rates and Worcester was highlighted in the Commissioner’s press release as one of the urban districts with the lowest drop-out rate, 1.7%. In fact, Worcester’s rate is lower than the State average of 1.9%. The Worcester school community has pledged not to leave any child behind and the recognition is here! 1.7% equates to 121 students whose status I will further investigate. I congratulate students, schools, and staff for striving to ensure that no child in our district is left behind.

View press release

Celebrations and Updates

South High Robotics Team

On Saturday, January 16th, the South High Robotics Club entered 3 robots in the Nothing But Net Qualifying Tournament hels at Quinsigamond Community College.  The tournament included 43 teams from around New England, who competed in 63 matches.  Two of the team's robots qualified for the playoffs, and following three rounds of competition the team secured both first and second place.   As a result, the team qualifies to attend the State Championships in March.  Congratulations to all team member, with special thanks to Robotics coaches Greg Ricardi and Tara Vaidya. 

Recreation Worcester Expansion

Chandler Elementary students at announcement

On Thursday, January 21, city officials joined Interim Superintendent Marco C. Rodrigues at Chandler Elementary to announce the expansion of the popular Recreation Worcester program. The city’s free program for youth will be expanded to a year-long afterschool program to keep students engaged in a healthy, safe, and productive lifestyle. Staff and volunteers have designed programs in visual arts, music, and physical activities. Homework help will also be available. Registration is required for the program, which runs from February 1 through May 26.

To learn more please visit: www.worcesterma.gov/announcements/recreation-worcester-expanded-to-afterschool-program.

Advanced Placement Art History Class Featured in Local Publication

Congratulations to the staff and students of the Worcester Public Schools Advanced Placement Art History (APAH) class, who were recently highlighted in Access, the Worcester Art Museum Magazine.  This innovative program is a collaboration between our District and the Worcester Art Museum, where the course is held every Tuesday and Thursday night and allows students from our seven high schools to engage in the authentic study of art history.  APAH, which is co-taught by Visual Arts Liaison Timmary Leary and Claremont Academy World History teacher Michael Eressy, began in 2010 and currently enrolls twenty-five students.  Historically, approximately 70% of students who take the required APAH exam at the end of the course receive a score of 3 or better, enabling them to earn advanced placement in college and/or advanced college credit.

District Business

I am happy to announce that at last night's meeting, the School Committee unanimously voted to authorize the Administration to submit Statements of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for the following Accelerated Repair Projects for 2016: window and boiler replacements for Belmont Street, Chandler Elementary, and the Gerald Creamer Center and window replacement at Wawecus Road.  Also, requests for major renovation or replacement will be submitted for Doherty and Burncoat High Schools, and Worcester East Middle School.

Did you know...

Did you know that Worcester’s graduation and drop-out rates top the six most comparable urban districts in the state?

Districts 4 year grad rates 5 year grade rates Drop-out rate
Worcester 80.8 82.5 1.7
Boston 70.7 73.1 4.7
Fall River 70.4 71.8 5.5
Lawrence 71.8 70.8 4.5
Lowell 78.8 77.9 1.8
New Bedford 57.9 62.5 4.0
Springfield  66.7 64.4 5.1

Upcoming Week's Events

My Favorite Teacher Contest

Middle and high school students are able to enter a teacher into Barnes and Noble’s "My Favorite Teacher Contest" by writing an essay, poem, or thank you letter that shares how a teacher has influenced them. Participating schools must collect the essays and submit them to their local Barnes and Nobles for consideration by March 1. The national winning teacher and his/her school will both receive $5,000 each in addition to other great prizes.

For contest information please visit: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/my-favorite-teacher.