Creating Connections - June 3, 2016

A weekly message from Superintendent Maureen Binienda

June 3, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 22

Superintendent's Message

This week I spoke at the graduations of South High Community School and then North High. I was impressed at the talent of the drum majors as we marched down the aisle at the North High graduation. The pride of the families and the 286 graduates as they received their North High diplomas inspired all in attendance. The South High graduation was a milestone for me as it marked the closing of one chapter of my 38 years of service to the children of the South Quadrant. I will carry all the stories of resilience and success that were made possible by the focused work of the staff and administration.

It is from this experience that one of my goals for the 2016-2017 school year is to provide a safe, secure and supportive environment for all students in the Worcester Public Schools. Another goal was the subject of my speech at the Massachusetts School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Community Service Awards Ceremony. I believe it is important for both our youth and adults to volunteer in our community as it gives us a lens outside our own experiences and deepens our connection to each other. I look forward to expanding community service learning opportunities for our students and staff.

Today I celebrated with Worcester Public School Principals, staff and district leaders the successes of the 2015-2016 school year and began our conversation about our goals for the 2016-2017 school year. I am honored to be the Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools and to work with such a dedicated staff and committed community.

Celebrations and Updates

39th Annual Mini Olympics

The 39th annual Worcester Public Schools Mini Olympics took place on Thursday morning at Foley Stadium. Students were chosen by their Physical Education teacher for not only their outstanding abilities in track and field but also because they have shown positive leadership skills, great effort in all of their classwork and have the qualities needed to be a good teammate. WPS is proud of all these student athletes, Physical Education staff, and supporting families in attendance for making this such an exciting event. Thank you to our special guests in attendance, Paralympic athlete Jerome Singleton and Worcester Bravehearts mascot "Jake the Lion." A special congratulations to Flagg Street School for their repeat overall 1st place victory.

2015-2016 WPS VEX IQ Championship

On June 1st ten elementary schools from the Worcester Public Schools participated in another exciting robotics tournament at Quinsigamond Community College. One hundred and fifty enthusiastic students in grades five and six, their teachers, administrators, parents, and 31 robots came to this tournament which culminated the 2015-2016 after-school robotics club. In the robotics club, students build robots to perform tasks such as picking up and throwing balls and climbing ramps on the playing fields. Following the engineering process, students, planned, created, problem solved, and improved their robots. Everyone was a winner at the robotics tournament and all participants received medals. Trophies were given to the following schools:

Design Award for Creative Solutions to the Challenge - Quinsigamond School, Build Award - Chandler Magnet, Robot Skills - City View, Engineering Notebooks - Woodland, Team Spirit - Clark Street, Sportsmanship - Goddard, Judges Award for Autonomous (Programming) - Tatnuck Magnet, Judges Award for Merit - Elm Park, and Teamwork Championship (High Score) - Rice Square and Midland.

Thanks to Betty Lauer and Quinsigamond Community College for generously sponsoring and hosting this event. And thank you to all the team coaches who put so much time and effort into this event and all preceding afterschool scrimmages.

Celebration of Student Writing

On Thursday, June 2nd, Worcester Public Schools hosted the annual Celebration of Student Writing in the Durkin Administration Building auditorium. The event celebrates students whose pieces were selected for publication in It's Lit!, the district-wide literary journal. “It’s Lit!” was the name chosen by students and voted on by the district. All students preschool through grade 12 were encouraged to submit original, not previously published creative works such as poems, memoirs, and short stories. Students in kindergarten through grade 12 were honored for their outstanding work, with grades 9-12 being the most competitive. The event was very well attended and will probably need a bigger venue next year. View the 11 students who received special awards for their writing.

Thank you to Dorean Asuako, Emanuel Sekyi, Emily Stukowski, and Patrick Wallace (student editors from Doherty Memorial High School) who assisted in the reading, selection, and compilation of the publication, as well as selecting award winners and organizing the celebratory event.

View the It's Lit! publication.

DCU Superintendent’s Student Advisory Scholarship

Congratulations to Miata Brima from  North High School and Nathalia Pena Santana from Doherty Memorial High School for being the recipients of the DCU Superintendent’s Student Advisory Scholarship. Both Miata and Nathalia will receive a $1,500.00 scholarship to assist with their college plans. Miata Brima will be majoring in Psychology at UMASS Amherst. Nathalia Pena Santana will be majoring in Biology and Biotechnology with a pre-med concentration at Endicott College. We wish both young ladies the very best as they move on to another chapter of their academic career.

State Farm® Good Neighbor Impact Schools Grant

We are pleased to announce that South High Community School was awarded a State Farm® Good Neighbor Impact Schools Grant for the 2016-2017 school year. South High was one of 21 schools in the country to receive this award. Through this grant award teachers in the Academy of Education, Service and Government at South will be working with Youth Service America (YSA). They will be receiving $5,000 towards the work of the school’s Youth Philanthropy Council and technical assistance from YSA throughout the school year. The additional funding will provide more opportunities for students on the school’s Youth Philanthropy Council to impact change following a protocol that is already in place. The key determinant in granting the awards is that youth are involved in making change happen. In September of 2017, students will once again go out in the community to survey what work was done and what work needs to be done. In this way, we can truly assess the impact of each funded project toward the ultimate goal of improving our community.

Quinsigamond Elementary Receives Green Award

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection awarded Quinsigamond Elementary School a Green Team Grand Prize Award for all the environmental activities they completed this year. Quinsigamond Elementary switched to plastic milk bottles in their cafeterias to recycle them when empty. They also held their third annual Recycled Art Contest and their third annual electronics and metal recycling drive. Students will receive gardening supplies for their school as their prize.

Worcester Crew Qualifies for Scholastic Nationals

For the second year in a row Worcester Crew has qualified for Scholastic Nationals, after qualifying at the States last weekend in Lowell, MA. They have three Quad’s and one double traveling to Philadelphia on Friday June 10, 2016. The three Quad’s Boys First and Second are from Doherty High School as well as the Girls Varsity Quad, in addition to a Double from Worcester Technical High School. Worcester Crew is a varsity sport for the City of Worcester, including seven of the Worcester Public Schools high schools, and is supported mostly by the parents and guardians of our student-athletes and alumni. They have over eighty rowers and coxswains. If you are interested in learning more please go to or like them on Facebook Worcester Crew ROW WORCESTER!

"The Origins of Life" Presentation

Today, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Craig Mello gave a presentation to students at Burncoat Preparatory School titled "The Origins of Life". The presentation was part of a program called “Science From Scientists” that 5th grade students participated in last year. Next year the program will expand to include students in grades 4-6.

Did you know...

Did you know that:

  • Worcester Public Schools students graduating in the Class of 2016 were accepted at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and Amherst - many with full scholarships?

Upcoming Week's Events

Evening of Celebration

On Thursday, June 9th at 6pm, Worcester Public Schools will be hosting our annual Evening of Celebration, honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to the children, families, and staff of the Worcester Public Schools. The event will take place at Worcester Technical High School.

Paint Night at South High

Support the South High Band Fundraiser "Paint Night" on Friday, June 10th from 6:30-8:00pm in the South High Cafeteria. Join us for a fun, wonderful evening of watercolor with Mr. Badu! All proceeds go toward maintaining instruments and day to day operating expenses. Price is $30 per person.