I was very pleased to read, in [the] January 23 – February 5 edition [of InCity Times], the excellent article regarding “the proposed academy for gifted WPS students” by my friend and former School Committee colleague Edith Morgan.
Edith provides your readers an excellent summary of the considerations which the School Committee will address as it decides whether to establish such an academy, based on an International Baccalaureate curriculum, at Doherty Memorial High School.
I share Edith’s hope that “there will be much input when the school committee, after voting approval, holds its first public hearing” on the proposal, later this winter. In fact, this hearing should precede any decision as to approval of the academy.
As a Committee, we do need to hear from the Worcester community whether this program is an appropriate addition to the Doherty curriculum, and whether, in a time of significant budgetary challenge, it warrants the substantial financial investment which it will require.
The public needs to hear more about the curriculum itself, the population it will educate, and the cost to other services and programs of the Worcester Public Schools if funds must be reallocated to establish it.
In turn, our School Committee will benefit from the considered advice of the public as to the costs and benefits of the program – i.e., does it offer sufficient curriculum enrichment to participating students to justify the expenditure involved. I do hope your newspaper will publicize our first hearing on this topic when it is scheduled.
The same edition of your newspaper noted that our “Chandler Elementary [School] could use some playground equipment for the spring.” You are correct. This school serves an enthusiastic, energetic and lively student population which will thoroughly enjoy such equipment.
Chandler Elementary School in the Piedmont neighborhood
However, it lacks the resources which parents and neighboring businesses in more affluent neighborhoods can bring to bear to acquire and install such equipment.
I will place a proposal on our School Committee agenda for our February 5 meeting to assist the school to seek donations for enhancement of the Chandler Elementary playground. Again, anything your newspaper can do to encourage your readers, and the businesses in the Chandler area, to help us here will be a true service to many wonderful and deserving young people.
Thank you again for bringing attention to these important issues regarding the Worcester Public Schools, and all continued best wishes.
Brian O’Connell, Worcester
Worcester School Committee