Category Archives: Uncategorized

No “trade” off for academics and vocational training at Worcester Technical High School

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

In September 2006 the Worcester Technical High School, formerly known as Worcester Voke, opened their $90-million facility to the students. Their goal was and still is “creating the future through technology, training and talent.” This 400,000-square-foot building is a state of the arts, technology rich, six-building school complex with a premier athletic field. The facility has garnered praise from educators in districts both in and out of state.

The magnificence of this structure is matched by its equally impressive record of student performance. According to Principal Shelia Harrity, the school has reached the Annual Yearly Progress benchmarks for No Child Left Behind in English, Math and every subgroup three years in a row. Consider this: 59% of all schools in Massachusetts have not reached their benchmarks.

When you look at the MCAS scores at Worcester Technical High School (WTHS), one sees a steady progress being attained. This year the school in its English Language Arts MCAS had 4% of their 10th graders reach advanced ranking, 52% scored proficient (as compared to two years ago), 40% were in need of improvement and 4% failed. English Language Arts increased by 6% in proficient, decreased failure by 3% in one year and 10% in two years. The school goal is to eliminate all failures within the next few years. In math, in 2008, the same steady progress continued, with 23% in advanced (in the last two years), 34% in proficient, 33% in need of improvement and a failure of 10%. Thus, there was an improvement rate of 3% in advanced, 13% in advanced over two years, improved by 8% in proficient in one year, a decrease in failure rate by 6% in one year and a decrease in failure rate by 13% over two years.

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The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower

By Robert Baer

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

President elect Barack H. Obama faces numerous problems when he assumes the Presidency in January, foremost among them the perilous state of the U.S. economy.

In the second tier of importance are the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war against terrorism. To resolve these second – tier issues will require dealing with Iran, which has been supplying terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel while trying to develop nuclear weapons. So the publication of Robert Baer’s “The Devil We Know: Dealing With The New Iranian Superpower” is quite timely.

Baer joined the Central Intelligent Agency’s Directorate of Operations in 1976 and was in the CIA for 21 years. One Internet encyclopedia quoted investigative reporter Seymour Hersh as saying that Baer “was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East.”

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This holiday season let love rule! Reach out to your neighbors, the Worcester Way

By Rosalie Tirella

This holiday season, I would like to give thanks for this blessed gift: Worcester’s Heart. While some folks in town like to crow about our theaters or artists, trains or planes, we know that festivals and shows are for the occasional Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and train rides are most poignant when carrying us back … home . We all can appreciate the driest of martinis, but we know that a great cocktail does not a great city make. There are hundreds of cities (and towns and suburbs) filled with trendy and stylish bars, but after you’ve found your true love, you find the club scene sort of superfluous. What keeps most of us here is … each other.

Friendships, great and small; parenthood in all its messy glory; dying parents; eccentric aunts and uncles. Wives and ex-wives. Boyfriends and gal pals. Throw in a rollie pollie Babci or two and you have every reason in the world to stay in Worcester. Even our pets keep us rooted! Dogs, cats, the too-cute guinea pig. Who amongst us hasn’t lost a beloved cat or dog and mourned his or her passing the way we would a human being’s?

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Share your warmth with a cold dog this holiday season

Life is never easy for a neglected dog who lives outside at the end of a chain. Some manage to find a little cover from the wind and rain underneath a bush or behind a garbage can, although even they won’t be able to hide from the cold. Some will suffer horribly from frostbite and even die from exposure.
This winter, life is going to be even more difficult for many of these animals, as the economic crisis means that they will have even less to eat and no toys to fight the terrible boredom that is their only companion.

As a PETA doghouse sponsor, you can give a backyard dog shelter from the cold and wind with a sturdy PETA doghouse. Please be an “Angel for Animals” today. Thanks to our caring “Angel for Animals” sponsors, PETA has built and delivered more than 4,000 top-quality doghouses. That means more than 4,000 animals now have shelter and a fighting chance to survive the freezing cold and sweltering heat — for years to come.

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Give a needy kid a coat through the Coats for Kids program

By Paula Harrity, volunteer coordinator for Worcester Public Schools

Every day school is in session, more than 23,000 students converge on Worcester’s Public Schools. Nearly two thirds of these children are poor, many do not speak English as a first language in their home, and increasingly, the Worcester Public Schools welcomes refugees who have come here from war torn nations, and they have witnessed first-hand the horrors of mass destruction and hunger.

The ‘Coats for Kids’ program was developed by the Volunteer Office of the Worcester Public School 19 years ago and provides needy children with the necessary winter outerwear to enable them to come to school each day dressed in clothing appropriate for cold New England winters. The Coats for Kids Program serves all Worcester Public Schools, Head Start, Community Partnerships for Children, and several homeless shelters for families in Worcester.

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Congrats to Lorraine Laurie!

By Rosalie Tirella

When I was a kid growing up in Green Island, there were lots of “characters” who captured the imagination. Lorraine Laurie was one of those interesting people. It was decades ago and we were all so much younger! Lorraine looked like a kid back then! She was skinny and always smiling that great toothy smile of hers. She always carried a big tote bag – filled with … I could only guess! Her hair was longer and dark brown. She didn’t drive but covered a lot of ground in her sensible shoes that were made for urban walkin’!

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For the love of Tyson

By Rosalie Tirella

What a grand sight! To enter the parking lot of the Worcester Animal Rescue League and see Tyson the pitbull pup walking jauntily besides a woman and a boy who were (I hope!) planning on adopting him. Brindle and white with a tail wagging so wildly – like a little plane propeller – Tyson’s butt literally wiggled, Tyson made my day! His plight, if you recall, captured headlines a few months ago, when Dorren LaPorte, WARL’s wonderful executive director, told all of Worcester County just how badly Tyson and another pitbull had been abused by some sicko in Worcester. The other pitbull died from what proved to be the fatal injuries it sustained. Tyson was “lucky.” His owner, the abusive asshole, (I hope this felon goes to prison for years and years and years) lived, despite the fact his owner made it a habit of throwing, kicking and crushing the little puppy.

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Police Officer Mark Rojas and the blacked-out files

By Rosalie Tirella

So often in this town, it’s who you know, not what you know. So here we have Worcester Police Officer Mark Rojas, a guy who allegedly shoots a pitbull point-blank, a guy who allegedly harasses an ex-love, a guy whose compalint file over at the WPD headquarters on Lincoln Square is so thick and heavy, mere mortals tear groin muscles each time they move the tome from file cabinet to desk … and he probably expects … to get off easily.

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