Creating Connections - January 29, 2016

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

January 29, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 6

Superintendent's Message

Accountability in public education is at its highest level, with great demands placed upon teaching and support staff, principals, administrators, schools, and districts. These demands do not alter our sense of purpose and we maintain a strong focus on teaching and learning, aiming to provide our students with the best education possible.

For the past three years, we have been implementing a new Educator Evaluation System and, this week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the educator evaluation data for the 2014-2015 school year. The report shows that 100% of our educators were evaluated last year and that 97.4% of our educators were rated Proficient or Exemplary. This report validates what I see in our schools each and every day. A committed, dedicated cadre of professionals whose hard work and perseverance continue to propel the entire district in achieving higher levels.

A HUGE thank you to all Worcester Public Schools’ educators for choosing to practice your profession in the best school district in Massachusetts!!!

Celebrations and Updates

Chief Human Resources Officer

I am pleased to announce the hire of Ms. Jennifer Boulais as the district’s new Chief Human Resource Officer. Ms. Boulais has spent most of her professional career in Pittsfield, MA and Holyoke, MA. Please join me in welcoming her to the Worcester Public Schools. Ms. Boulais will join the Worcester Team on Monday, February 1st.

I also want to acknowledge Mr. Mark Brophy, who has been the Acting Human Resource Manager for the district. Mr. Brophy has been instrumental in maintaining the human resource department’s affairs in good standing during the interim period. His experience and expertise in Human Resources will continue to facilitate Ms. Boulais’ transition into her new role. Thank you Mr. Brophy for your services.

Worcester East Middle Mural Project Receives Grant

Worcester East Middle received a $5,000 Worcester Arts Council grant for its efforts to restore and conserve four murals by Jenne Magafan in the foyer of the school. The murals, which depict Jonas Rice, Worcester’s first permanent settler and schoolmaster, were completed in the late 1940’s. Students at The College of the Holy Cross, as well as conservators at the Worcester Art Museum, will complete the project, which will cost $12,000. Additional funding has been provided by the Holy Cross Marshall Memorial fund and a recent art auction.

WCVB Wake-up Calls

This week, five elementary schools taped the Wake-up Call segment for WCVB’s early morning Eye Opener news. WCVB’s wake-up segments air at the beginning of each weekday newscast at 5am and 6am on Channel 5. Students at Rice Square School, Vernon Hill School, Worcester Arts Magnet, Thorndyke Road School and Midland Street School were featured. The spots will air in February.

CPR Training

group learning CPR

The Worcester Public Schools, in partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA), provided training in CPR to our Physical Education teachers. This partnership will enhance our capacity to provide students, grades 7 through 12, CPR instruction as part of physical education classes.  Both organizations are seeking funds to purchase 12 mannequins for student training sessions. 

New Library Hours

The Worcester Public Library will be changing the hours at the Frances Perkins Branch Library and the Great Brook Valley Branch Library. The Frances Perkins Branch will have new Monday hours as of February 1. The Branch will be open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Great Brook Valley Branch will have additional Thursday hours as of February 4. The Branch will open on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is in addition to the current schedule of Monday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. For more information on the Worcester Public Library and a complete list of events and programs visit www.mywpl.org. For more information on mywpl.org contact Linnea Sheldon, Community Relations and Communications Manager, at 508-799-1654 or lsheldon@mywpl.org.

Students visit WCCA TV 

On Wednesday, January 27, WCCA TV ran a media day for students from North High School. Students visited the studio on Main Street to learn about their state of the art TV equipment for a real world, outside-the-classroom experience. They also learned about public access community media and its impact on the community, as well as how to access this empowering media for themselves. Students participated in a hands-on live production project, working with WCCA TV’s staff. WCCA TV ch 194 will soon air the visit. Head to channel 194 for details.

District Business

The Board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority voted on Wednesday to approve the Proposed Accelerated Repair Projects for Flagg Street School (doors and windows), Francis McGrath Elementary School (doors and windows), Grafton Street School (doors, windows, boiler), and Jacob Hiatt Magnet School (doors and windows).  The district is in the process of executing the Project Funding Agreement for these projects.

Did you know...

  • The Worcester Public Schools employs 3,902 people? 
  • We are the third largest employer in Worcester? Number one: UMass Memorial Health Care with 12, 906 employees and number two: UMass Medical School with 4,400 employees.

Upcoming Week's Events

Superintendent Search

The School Committee has initiated its search for a new Superintendent. The Community Involvement Committee would like to extend an invitation to you to be a part of a very important step in this process, which is to identify the qualities the members are seeking in our new Superintendent. The open Community Forums will take place on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at Doherty Memorial High School and on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at North High School.

We hope to see you at one of these two sessions because your input would be most valuable to this process.

Students Reflect on MLK Jr.: The 2016 Art Contest Winners

The MLK Community Breakfast and Black History Month Committee will present this year’s winners of the 2016 MLK Art Contest Winners at the Worcester Historical Museum (30 Elm Street) on Saturday, January 30th at 1:00pm. Remarks will begin at 1:15 pm. Contest winners’ work will be on display in the WHM’s Rockwell Gallery from Jan 12 to February 27.