Creating Connections - May 20, 2016

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

May 20, 2016- Volume 1, Issue 21

Superintendent's Message

Creating Connections has been one of the most pleasurable things I have done while serving as the Interim Superintendent. It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the district since December and I valued the opportunity to share with all of you the great aspects of public education in Worcester.

Considering the district’s financial hardship and reduced resources, our schools continue to reinvent themselves to ensure that our students receive the best education we can provide, in an equitable way.
In each edition of Creating Connections, I was able to showcase some of the great things that are happening in our schools. The talent inherent within our student population, the undoubted dedication of our teaching and support personnel, and the outstanding commitment of our partners; all contributing to the success of our students and families.

Therefore, it would be fitting to, in this last edition of Creating Connections, to acknowledge the staff at the Durkin Administration Building (DAB) who lead, support, and assist the entire district’s operations.  From the competence and expertise of the Finance and Operations team lead by Mr. Brian Allen, to the sounding Research and Accountability team lead by Dr. David Perda, to the hard-working Human Resources team lead by Ms. Jennifer Boulais, to the outstanding knowledge of the Teaching, Learning and Student Supports team composed of Dr. Mary Meade-Montaque, Ms. Sally Maloney, Dr. Bertha Elena Rojas, Ms. Kay Seale, and Mr. Albert Ganem, Jr. who are not often recognized by their leadership and accomplishments.

The most impressive aspect of these teams is their unity, cohesiveness, and ability to work together in a seamless and inclusive manner. I don’t believe there has ever been such an organized, interconnected team approach at DAB, centered on student learning and achievement. I am extremely honored to have lead these individuals since December and am proud to continue working alongside them.

Many thanks to those who contributed to the Creating Connections each week, especially Ben, our webmaster, who made each edition look professionally done and Jo Ann, my assistant, for coordinating the process and pressing the send key every week. And for the readers, thank you for the compliments and for the continued support to the Worcester Public Schools.

Finally, I would like to welcome Mrs. Maureen Binienda, Superintendent-elect, to the Durkin Administration Building. The DAB Team looks forward to your leadership and to working on making the Worcester Public Schools the school of choice for the families in our community.

Celebrations and Updates

Shine Initiative Grant

Today we received a check in the amount of $7,900.00 to provide support to WPS students, families and staff members by implementing the “train the trainer” model. These Funds will be used to increase the mental health literacy of educators, administrators and other staff in the district by having additional support staff trained as trainers in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Goddard Art Show

Twenty one students from the Goddard Technical Program hosted their second annual art show on Wednesday, May 18th.  Paintings and musical performances were organized by the Art and Music teachers: Christine Cross and Dennis D'ambroise. The artwork ranges in topic and stylistic technique. These students celebrated their accomplishments with community members, teachers, and family. Their art is on display on the second floor of the Durkin Administration Building, so please stop by and admire their talents.

Cradles to Crayons and Staples “Make Giving Back Happen

On Wednesday, Worcester, Framingham, Lynn, and Springfield Public Schools, received 6,280 loaded backpacks that would be distributed through the Cradles to Crayons (C2C) organization and Staples Corporation. “Cradles to Crayons is a national nonprofit organization that provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school, and at play.” C2C provides these items free of charge by connecting community organizations with communities in need. Staples has partnered with C2C for 3 years, during which time they have packed and distributed over 56,000 backpacks. District Wraparound Zone Coordinator Bob Jennings and representatives from the other districts, assisted Staples staff in the packing process helping to “Make Giving Back Happen”. Thanks to Tom Barrett and his drivers, they made the whole process quite seamless for the pick-up, delivery, and unloading of the back packs. Together Everyone Achieves More.

Hanover Scholars Event

On Wednesday, May 18th the Hanover Foundation awarded individual AVID and community scholarships to eighteen Worcester Public Schools seniors. The recipients were presented the scholarship along with a watch at a reception hosted by Mr. Frederick Eppinger, President of The Hanover Insurance Group. The students, families and many WPS staff members enjoyed food and warm congratulations given by Mr. Eppinger as the students embark on their college journey. The following students are the scholarship recipients:

Diyana Abdulahad – NHS, Miata Brima - NHS, John Cullen - WTHS, Rachel Dao - NHS, Kimberly Davis - WTHS, Josephine Dennis - NHS, Melinda Duah - DMHS, Muneera Issa- WTHS, Sebastian Kopacz - WTHS, The Le - NHS, Dorothy Obisui - NHS, Reilly Peloquin - NHS, Tiffany Quang - NHS, Petrena Sommerville - NHS,  Dominik Danko - SHS, Brian Ha - UPCS, Laurana Nyman - BHS, and Moraine Payson - DMHS.

Burncoat Dance Performs Seussical

Broadway has nothing on The City of Worcester. Worcester Public Schools is home to a hidden gem... The Burncoat Arts department. Highlighting the talent was The Burncoat Dance Department and the annual performance of an “Evening of Dance” at the Hanover Theater for the Performing Arts. “Seussical” the story of Horton the Elephant brought a packed house to its feet Wednesday May 18th. The show is based on the characters from the books of Dr. Seuss and tells a story that teaches that the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community that are challenged and emerge triumphant in the end.

Donald D. Johnson Operational & Cost Efficiency Award

Last night at the Massachusetts School Business Officials 50th Annual Institute, the Worcester Public Schools received the Donald D. Johnson Operational & Cost Efficiency Award for its work in bringing services for students with autism back into the district. This award is given each year by MASBO "to recognize school districts for their efforts in developing cost efficient approaches to addressing particular operational areas that commonly tax the budgets of school systems and that are also capable of being replicated by other districts throughout the Commonwealth." The award, sponsored by ING, not only recognizes the district with a plaque, but also awards a $2,500 scholarship to a student in the Worcester Public Schools.

Forest Grove Middle School Performs The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy and Toto brought down the house as they traveled the yellow brick road to the Emerald City during the presentation of the Wizard of Oz (Young Performers Edition) at Forest Grove Middle School last evening. An outstanding performance by the student actors. A special thanks to teachers Joseph Carcia, Nicole Contois and Catherine Mulcahy for their tireless efforts as they worked with students before and after school hours preparing for the school’s annual theatre production.

The second performance will be held this evening, Friday, May 20th, 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium at Forest Grove Middle School. Tickets are $5.00.

Donations from the DA's Office

Recently, District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office presented checks from drug forfeiture funds to support North High School’s cheerleading program and South High Community School’s girls’ soccer and field hockey team. The Worcester Public Schools sincerely thanks DA Early and his team for their continued support of the Worcester Public Schools sports programs.

District Business

Chief Human Resource Officer Job Description

At the School Committee meeting held on May 19, 2016, Ms. Dianna Biancheria requested that the Administration provide a copy of the Job Description for the Chief Human Resource Officer.

Upcoming Week's Events

Red White Blue Flagg 5K

The Flagg Street PTG presents the 6th Annual Red, White and Blue Flagg 5k and Kid's Fun Run on Saturday, May 21st at Flagg Street School. Registration begins at 7:30am, the 5K Race starts at 9am, and the Kid’s Fun Run begins at 10am.

Worcester Arts Magnet School Benefit

Support the Worcester Arts Magnet School on Sunday, May 22nd with a show by Mrs. P & Hot Dish at Beatnik’s, 433 Park Ave in Worcester. Enjoy this eight-piece horn band from 2-6pm. $10 Donation.