Creating Connections - March 25, 2016

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

March 25, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 13

Superintendent's Message

We often talk about the talent we have in our schools, both educators and students. Today, I want to highlight a group of individuals who embarked in an amazing project called Burncoat UNITES (Unifying New Instrumentalists Through El Sistema), designed to provide students, in grades 5 through 8, access to ensemble and instrumental instruction after school hours.

UNITES students

This project originated from Elisander Rivera-Sanchez’s Senior Capstone Project and it includes semi-private lessons, collaborative practice time, homework time, sectionals time and ensemble time. Burncoat UNITES runs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, twice per week. It provide students with opportunities for special sessions focusing on interpretation, jazz styles, vocal and ear training, piano tutorials, and world music styles and performance. Eighteen Student-Instructors have been trained to provide these lesson opportunities to 75 students.

Help me congratulate our student-instructors, whose talents and initiative have exceeded our expectations. Many thanks to Lisa Leach, Phil King, Michael Thibodeau, Deb Cole, Alex Badalov, Arie Yaacobi, Israel Saldana, Alex King and Herdi Xha for their remarkable work and mentorship.

But above all, this has been a program conceived by an outstanding young leader and implemented by committed, responsible and creative young people.

“We have to be the change that we want to see in the world”
~ Elisander Rivera-Sanchez, Grade 12 – Burncoat High School

Celebrations and Updates

South High Band Pennsylvania Trip

The Worcester Educational Development Foundation (WEDF) presented a donation from the Fuller Foundation of $5,000 to Ms. Johnetta Smith and the South High Marching Band for their upcoming trip to Philadelphia. The Worcester Educational Development Foundation also contributed $1,000 to the trip. The South High Marching Band was selected to represent the State of Massachusetts in the commemoration of the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Pennsylvania.

Please help the band reach its goal by donating on their GoFundMe page.

Quinsigamond's Recreation Worcester Gets Expanded Days

City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. announced Wednesday that due to the popularity of the Recreation Worcester afterschool program at Quinsigamond Elementary School, it will be expanded to four days a week. The change is being made to accommodate the larger than expected numbers of students taking advantage of the program. Since Recreation Worcester began, Quinsigamond has seen an average of more than 100 students per day. The program will now run Monday-Thursday from 2:30-5:30pm starting Monday, March 28th.

Recreation Worcester’s afterschool program began February 1st and is averaging 500 kids per week at six schools across the city. The program features visual arts, music, and physical recreation activities. The academic portion includes tutoring, homework help, learning about healthy behaviors, and nutrition. Programming is for all youth in grades 3-12.

Visit the Recreation Worcester site for more information and to register.

2016 VEX Worlds Competition

Tatnuck Magnet School and Burncoat Middle School have qualified for the 2016 VEX Worlds (VEX IQ Challenge) in Louisville, Kentucky. These are the only teams in Worcester to get an invite to the World Championships. Both schools qualified after competing at the Southern New England Regional Tournament Championships at Quinsigamond Community College and North High School in February.

Students work hard to design, build, program, and attend after school meetings and several competitions to prepare for this event. But they still need your help. In order for both schools to attend they need to raise $4,375 each to help pay for travel expenses, registration fee, and hotel costs. Both schools have set up fundraising pages and would appreciate any assistance in getting our kids there.

Forest Grove Students Developing Prototype

Students in grade 8 at Forest Grove Middle School began developing a prototype to assist students who struggle with fine motor skill disabilities. The prototype will aid them to better grasp objects like paint brushes, markers, etc. Under the direction of Technology and Engineering Teacher Thomas Oliva, students are designing and producing the prototype using a 3D printer. Students expect to complete the project by April 1st.

11th Annual Book Drive

Worcester: the City that Reads Committee is once again collecting books (Pre-K to grade 8) for their 11th annual book drive from March 21st to May 15th. The initiative was started by John and Ann-Marie Monfredo to promote literacy in the community, put books into the hands of children who lack books in their homes, and to promote the importance of being a life time reader.

Please donate a new or gently used books at these sites.

District Business

Lake View School Awarded Commendation Grant

Congratulations to Margaret Bondar and her staff at Lake View School who recently received notification from Governor Baker that it has been awarded a MA Commendation Schools/MA Blue Ribbon Schools Dissemination Grant in the amount of $15,000.

This award is given in recognition of the school’s Commendation Status and will provide the opportunity for the staff from Lake View to partner with their colleagues at Rice Square. Their work will be centered on the dissemination of Lake View’s best practices regarding balanced literacy, Writers Workshop, and Response to Intervention.

Did you know...

Did you know that we offer a new Arts discipline within the Worcester Public Schools called Media Arts?

Students who participate in our Media Arts courses:

  • Explore topics such as aesthetic meaning, appreciation and analysis, composing, capturing, processing and programming of media arts products.
  • Survey the creative and conceptual aspects of designing media arts experiences and products.
  • Examine techniques, genres and styles from various and combined mediums and forms, including moving image, sound interactive, spatial and/or interactive design.

Upcoming Week's Events

First Annual Four Orchestras Festival

The Worcester Youth Orchestra (WYO) is proud to present the "1st Annual Four Orchestras Festival”. The concert features the talents of over 250 students from central and western Massachusetts and features the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Worcester Youth Philharmonic. Guest orchestras include the Burncoat High School Symphony Orchestra, the Shrewsbury High School Chamber Orchestra, and the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra. Join us for this wonderful concert on Sunday, April 3rd at 4pm at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door or on the Worcester Youth Orchestra website.