Creating Connections - April 29, 2016

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

April 29, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 17

Superintendent's Message

It has been two weeks since our last Creating Connections edition and I am proud to say that the Worcester Public Schools continues to move full steam ahead. Last week, even though it was a school vacation, some students were engaged in credit recovery, others participating in different events throughout the community. I had the pleasure of speaking at the closing ceremony of the Worcester Rising event at the Worcester State University. Worcester Rising is an institute to educate, encourage, and engage high school students in the civic process in our community. The City Clerk’s office sponsors this annual event and it is generously hosted by the Worcester State University. Fifty juniors participated in this three-day event which included topics such as, Law, Order & Society, Social Justice Leadership for a Global World, Activism in the 21st Century, The Changing Demography of Worcester, and more. These students will continue to work with the City Clerk’s office and will assist with the election process in November. Congratulation to all participants for spending their off-school time in such a productive way.

This week has been eventful throughout the district to include the start of PARCC assessment in many of our schools. I started my work week visiting Chandler Magnet School and the Academic Center for Transition Program (ACT) located at Chandler. At the risk of repeating myself (with pleasure in this situation), I continued to be amazed by the outstanding job that our principals, teachers, and support staff do each and every day. The special attention, care, and consideration that are given to our students are impressive. So this week, my hat is off to Ivonne Perez, Principal of Chandler Magnet School and Lynn Handleman, Assistant Principal in charge of the ACT Program for their exceptional leadership.  Thank you for educating and caring for our most fragile student population.

Celebrations and Updates

Stand for the Silent Kickoff Campaign

SFTS

Today, April 29, 2016, in a district-wide kickoff campaign, the Worcester Public Schools participated in “Stand for the Silent” Day. Stand for the Silent has become one of the leading and most effective anti-bullying organizations, whose mission is to bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes. Today schools created many different activities to instill in students the importance of respect for themselves and for others. Faculty and students recited and signed a pledge card that stated:

"From this day forward I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself. I am somebody, and I can make a difference. I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hand that leads another back to a path of hope and aspiration. I will not stand silent as others try to spread hatred through my community. Instead, I pledge to lift up these victims, and show them that their life matters. I will be the change because I am somebody."

We thank all those who take this pledge to heart and look forward to seeing all the creative ways that students show that “I am somebody”. View more information about Stand for the Silent.

Principal for a Day

On Thursday, April 28th, twenty-three Worcester Public School Principals were partnered with Community and Business Leaders for the annual Worcester Education Collaborative “Principal for a Day” event. This annual event allows for community and business leaders to visit schools and offers a hands-on perspective on its successes and challenges on a daily basis. In addition to understanding the day to day operations of our schools, community participants had an opportunity to review and discuss district and school statistics, budgets, curriculum plans, as well as interact with students and staff.

principal luncheon

As a culminating activity, school principals and their community partner were invited to a special luncheon at Mechanics Hall. Tim McGourthy, Executive Director of the Research Bureau, addressed educational reform and the group shared their experiences during these school visits. We thank the Worcester Education Collaborative and those participating principals for their ongoing support of the Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester community through the continuation of this annual event.
Stand Against Racism

Stand Against Racism

On Friday, April 29th the City of Worcester along with the Worcester Public Schools celebrated “Stand Against Racism”. This annual event reminds us that racism will not be tolerated in our schools, the workplace or within the community. Each year, Stand Against Racism participants take a pledge and promise to work for racial justice for all, not just today but all year long. As a school district, we will continue to empower our staff and students to demonstrate that racial justice is what we stand for.

ACE Students Inducted Into National Honor Society

The African Community Education (ACE) group proudly recognizes the accomplishments of ACE student inductees, current and former, to the North High National Honor Society. These individuals “show how our English Language Learners and Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education refugee students accomplish in one year and two years at the New Citizens Center before transitioning to North, and are living their potential”. ACE recognizes with pride and offers congratulations to ACE students Daniel Mbusa, Jeanne Kami, and Felicite Mbaimaki for being inducted this year and Pelanie Oungougai who was inducted last year.

Mural Revealing at Worcester East Middle

On April 27th, members of the Worcester Art Museum along with members of their Advisory Board, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Holy Cross College, joined staff and students at Worcester East Middle as they revealed one of the murals from the Magafan Mural Project. The mural’s, located in the school’s foyer, are being restored through an initiative to preserve the art which was created at the school in 1948/49 and depict the life of Jonas Rice, an important figure in the founding of Worcester and the start of public education in the city.

District Business

Budget Update

The district continues to monitor the budget process at the State level. Mr. Brian Allen, Chief Financial and Operations Officer, released the latest analysis of the House Ways and Means budget.

A+ for Head Start

The Administration for Children and Families, the federal organ that oversees Head Start Programs, conducted an Environmental Health and Safety review of our Head Start Programs in March 2016. We received communication this week that, based on their review of our sites, no area of non-compliance was found during the course of the review. Congratulations to Laurie Kuczka, Director of Head Start, and her wonderful staff for ensuring that all Head Start Programs are providing wonder education to our pre-school age children in a safe and healthy environment.

Did you know...

Did you know that:

  • The Worcester Public Schools is the only school district in the Commonwealth that runs a Child Development Head Start Program?
  • Head Start provides early education to approximately 700 pre-school age children in the city?

Upcoming Week's Events

City & WPS Celebrate New Science Lab at UPCS

The City of Worcester and the Worcester Public Schools will cut the ribbon on a new science lab at University Park Campus School on Monday, May 2th at 8:30 AM.

The project, funded through unexpended balances from the City’s Community Development Block Grant and the Worcester Public Schools, replaces an outdated science classroom with a state of the art classroom/science lab that is designed to meet the requirements for Advanced Placement science instruction. The new classroom includes a new fume hood and exhaust system, chemical shower, sinks, smart board, cabinetry, and furniture.

WPS Arts Festival

The 59th Worcester Public Schools Arts Festival will take place May 6-31st. There will be an opening ceremony at the Worcester Public Library’s Saxe Room at noon on Wednesday, May 6th and a Meet the Artists Gala on Sunday, May 10th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.