Creating Connections - January 15, 2016

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

January 15, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 4

Superintendent's Message

The message of the Worcester Public Schools Compact is clear: 100% of students will be guaranteed a rigorous core curriculum resulting in measurable gains in student learning. While few people could disagree with this goal, one would wonder how it could best be achieved.

I believe that we must begin by embracing the notion of equity in education – equity, not equality. Fair doesn’t mean giving every student the same thing; it means giving every student what he or she needs. In order to do this, we need to develop the organizational capacity to support all students. It means developing an infinite belief in their ability to learn and grow. It is imperative to meet every student where they are, and take them where they need to be.

To ensure true equity in the Worcester Public Schools, we must close the achievement gaps, not just at the low end, but all along the spectrum. A culture of strong leadership, focused teaching and learning, from the central office to each school building, can ensure that all students will be successful in the classroom and beyond.

Celebrations and Updates

MLK Jr. Essay and Poetry Winners

Congratulations to the Worcester Public Schools Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest Winners:

North High School: Rachel Dao, Grade 12

South High Community School: Shamus Flynn – Grade 10

Congratulations to the Worcester Public Schools Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Breakfast Poetry Winners:

Burncoat High School: Paolo Bustos, Grade 9

North High School: Cassandra Cooper, Grade 11; Julie Le, Grade 11; Wendy Romero, Grade 11; Chris Nguyen, Grade 9

South High Community School: David Judkins, Grade 12; Maxine McInnes, Grade 10; Osborne Munyambu, Grade 10

Goddard Scholars Academy: Emily Judkins, Grade 8; Julia Nguyen, Grade 8; Jessica Cohen, Grade 7; Sam Posner, Grade 7

Congratulations to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Winner:

North High School: Ann Kahiu, Grade 11

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein Visits Worcester Arts Magnet

Fourth graders at Worcester Arts Magnet were delighted to hear pianist Simone Dinnerstein perform and speak at their school on Monday, January 11. Dinnerstein brought her BachPacking program to the students, in which she introduced them to core elements of music including counterpoint, movement, and harmony, and also played some Bach selections for them. On Sunday, Dinnerstein gave a public performance of the "Goldberg Variations" at Worcester’s Tuckerman Hall.  Both events were sponsored by Music Worcester.

North High School Art Festival

Students at North High School showed off their visual and performing art skills at the school’s Third Annual Winter Arts Festival.  Ms. Fortin’s skirt was created by students Thu Le and Norelvi De La Cruz from her Foundations of Art Class during their 3D unit on wearable art.  400 families attended the dinner and 200 students participated in the show.  The event will soon air on WEA-TV (Channel 11).

Barnes and Noble Twitter Page Thanks WPS Teacher Kendra Cox

Elm Park Community School Lead Teacher, Kendra Cox, was pleasantly surprised when she was notified that one of her former students gave her public recognition on the Barnes and Noble Worcester (@BNWorcester) Twitter page.  In celebration of Barnes and Noble Educator Appreciation Week which ends Sunday, January 17, the former student thanked Ms. Cox for inspiring her.  The hashtags #thankateacher, #educatorappreciationweek, and #worcesterpublicschools accompanied a photo of Alamo, along with the words, “Thank you, Kendra Cox”.   If you would like to nominate a junior high or high school teacher, please visit

District Business

Water Supply Alert

City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr. communicated to the community this week that a water supply alert has been declared for the City of Worcester. According to the communication, the City reservoirs are at 55% capacity and water conservation is needed at this time. This alert is a pro-ative measure to ensure that water consumption is observed and that the alert does not increase to a more critical stage. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Did you know...

Student Access to Rigorous Course of Study 

  • The Worcester Public Schools currently offers 22 different Advanced Placement courses? 
  • Student enrollment in Advanced Placement courses rose from 870 in 2010-2011 to 1,487 in 2015-2016 school year?
  • Advanced Placement tests taken rose from 1048 in 2010-2011 to 2,283 in 2015-2016 school year?

Upcoming Week's Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

There will be no school in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 18, 2016.

Recreation Worcester Press Event

On Thursday, January 21, there will be a press conference at Chandler Elementary School at 2pm announcing the newly expanded Recreation Worcester program.