Tag Archives: Dr. Melinda Boone

Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone’s North High School update …

 emailed to the Worcester School Committee and other city officials. Public info – full text:

The past two and a half weeks have been a mix of very high points and a couple of very challenging points at North High School. This update summarizes some key events and actions that have occurred during this time period. The school continues to experience a reduction in the numbers of students engaging in disruptive behaviors. The School Liaison Officer and an additional WPD officer continue to have daily presence at the school supporting in a community policing role. The Safety Intervention Team and the Climate and Culture Team both continue to meet on a regular basis continuing to develop specific plans to strengthen the North High School Action Plan and monitoring progress of efforts. The dedication and commitment of the faculty and staff to these teams and the many facets of the Action Plan have resulted in positive and meaningful experiences at the school.

One obvious challenge occurred on Sunday, March 29, 2015 when Principal Dyer sent a letter to her faculty in response to a column that had been written and published in a local media publication. As you are fully aware, Mrs. Dyer sent a letter of apology to the faculty on Friday, April 3, 2015 addressing the manner in which she handled that response that impacted the relationships being developed at the school and put the school back into the media focus. You each received a copy of that apology to the faculty. Since the letter and apology, Mrs. Dyer continues to work with her faculty to reclaim the momentum that was occurring prior the letters.

Another high profile challenge occurred last week when two female students were engaged in a fight over a male student. As a result of the students failing to comply with directives from the school administrators, and eventually the police, they were arrested.

Key Highlights:

College acceptances continue to roll in for seniors including recent acceptances to Boston College, Smith, UMASS Amherst, Tufts, Rensselaer, Worcester State, Boston University to name a few. Across the hall from the Gear Up office at the school is the College Hall bulletin board.

Students presented “Once Upon An Island” for two successful nights last month at the school.

The first Parent/Teacher Dinner and AP Night was held with over 200 in attendance! North High students presented AP classes to families, operated the music and sound systems, provided school tours and babysitting services, and served families side by side with their teachers.

TJX provided a luxury bus twice to shuttle students to their headquarters providing career and financial advice.
UMASS Medical School interns and North High School were highlighted on Chronicle last week. Here is a link to that show: http://www.wcvb.com/chronicle/only-artifical-patients-for-anthony-everett/31992818

The JROTC Unit won two awards for their excellent presentation during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

At this week’s Faculty Meeting teachers presented on the National Honor Society and Community Service, upcoming Blood Drive, Walk for the Less Fortunate, and Restorative Justice/Perseverance Circles.

[ Dr. Melinda Boone, superintendent, WPS]

Twice Vice? No way for WP school committe member Tracy O’Connell Novick

By Rosalie Tirella

Re: Worcester Public Schools Committe “Vice Chair” Tracy O’Connell Novick: we’ve heard this from John Monfredo, fellow Worcester School Committee member: This will be the last time Novick is VICE CHAIRMAN of the Worcester Public Schools Committee.

Monfredo is head of the Worcester Public Schools Committee rules subcommittee, and he is working to make it a committee rule that after each municipal election, second-place vote getters get the vice chair of the Worcester School Committee – not people who do backroom deals with folks like Novick did. Monfredo told me he was not planning to vote for Novick getting the vice chair slot, but Mayor Joe Petty (the Chairman of the Worcester School Committee – like all Worcester mayors Petty heads the school committee) went to him and told him to do so, to make the WPSC seem cohesive and positive.

Monfredo told Petty he was againt Novick as Vice Chair because she had alientated so many minority parents of Worcester Public School students with her Dr. Boone witch-hunt. Novick tried to destroy Dr. Boone, Worcester’s first black female school superintendent. The minority community had had it with Novick. Monfredo told Petty if Novick became Vice Chair of the school committee, it would send the wrong message to so many city parents and kids.

Petty didn’t listen – and Novick doesn’t care who she offends as long as she gets all the free publicity that comes with comes with the Vice Chair slot. She gets to “speak for” the Worcester School Committee via the papers, TV, etc.

So now the City of Worcester must live with this mistake – a slap in the face to minority WPSchools students and their families. Remember, Worcester is a majority minority school district, meaning there are more minority kids than white kids in our public schools.

But, thanks to John Monfredo, the WPSC rules will soon be changed – he is having a meeting of his subcommittee soon – to make this Novick’s first and last stint as Vice Chair. The process will be fair – the vice chair slot will be awarded to the second highest vote getter – just like the way it’s done with the Worcester City Council. Top vote getter mayor, second top vote getter City Council vice-chair.

WPS Committeewoman Tracy O’Connell-Novick’s latest dirty tricks

By Rosalie Tirella

Seems like the city can’t catch a break. Just when you think WPSCommitteewoman Tracy O’Connell Novick is putting an end to her malicious scapegoating of WPSchools Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone, we see this: She and fellow Boone harasssers – Brian O’Connell and Dianna Biancheria – have put themselves on/made themselves the “Accountablity (Administration)” subcommittee of the Worcester School Committee. As chair of the WPS Committee, Mayor Joe Petty let them do this; he did not suggest another person be added to the subcommittee to counterbalance what will most surely be a group of hyper-vigilant nut jobs ready to see scandal whenever Dr. Boone does anything they disagree with.

Novick was the one who wanted to delay the school committee’s vote on renewing Dr. Boone’s contract until after election, hoping that an anti-Boone person would win and somehow help Novick and crew oust Dr. Boone.

Well, Novick never got her way and she got re-elected, but at a low #5. Voters thought she was vindictive and racist – her numbers went down.

SO: Just when she hits a nadir, Novick has the nerve to lobby for and will most likely get the VICE CHAIRMANSHIP of the Worcester school committee. Novick is seeing her numbers slipping – especially amongst minorities. One person of color I know said she would love to slap Novick around – another person says he hates her snotty attitude. So with her support in the African American/minority community hitting a new low, it is incredibly ballsy/creepy but politically astute of her to get herself the Vice Chair slot.

This Vice Chairmanship is extra FREE exposure/p.r. – especially when chairman Petty (Worcester mayor is always the Chairperson of the Worc. School committee) is away, which he may well be seeing he has a full time job in Boston. Can you imagine! All that free press for Novick! All her quotes in the T & G! Everyone in town can see her “lead” something – even if it is another witchhunt. Novick, the smarty pants, can burnish her image, which is in the crapper at this point, as Vice Chair of the WSC. And it won’t cost her a dime.

This is a cynical move by Novick who doesn’t want to lose her WPSC seat and might just run for City Council in a few years. Usually, the second highest vote getter gets the Vice Chair slot – not someone who goes behind folks’ backs to maneuver and BS and get the slot.

Mayor Petty has done nothing to stop this little creep, who beneath the veneer of super-giving West Side stay-at-home mom, is really just a competitive, nasty, conniving little worm, who will once again make Dr. Boone’s life miserable.

God help Dr. Boone. God help the minority kids of the Worcester Public Schools.

Again.

Who’s thinking about the kids?

By Parlee Jones

I am not a political person by nature, but that has been changing over the last couple of years. I have come to see that attention to Worcester’s elected officials is needed if I hope to offer the best opportunities for my children. Most would consider me to be a very active parent. You can find me at parent’s night and PTO’s.

I can sit with my children every day after school and help them with their homework, meet with the teachers to discuss teaching strategy and plans for next year, but I continue to find road blocks along the way.

I joined a community organizing group called Black Legacy almost two years ago. The group was just starting. We came together to talk about the health of the community, and the disparities that exist. We wondered why members of Worcester’s Black community were becoming sicker, more often, and more severely than our White counter parts in so many areas including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, various cancers, and infant mortality. What was going on? What we realized is that all of these health issues are related to socio-economic income, which is largely dependent on the quality of education someone has. When we looked at the data, we found that there was a major income gap in the city of Worcester by race and ethnicity, and indeed this gap is found in our public education. So, as folks committed to making as big an impact as possible, we decided to focus on closing the academic achievement gap knowing this will help close the gaps in income and finally overall health.

This past September, we held our second Black Families for Education Conference, intending to raise awareness of the school-to-prison pipeline. This pipeline is a national problem which recognizes that failures in education have a direct link to the likelihood that a person might find themselves in prison. By exploring the pipeline, some communities are making major changes that increase student success and stop that path.

• Uneven disciplinary practices
• Low expectations of students
• Under resourced schools

When we put all three of these issues together, it is easy to see why we have achievement gaps. It also becomes relatively easy to see what needs to happen to close those gaps.

• Eliminate disparities in disciplinary action that is the result of unintended bias
• Increase expectations for all students for high academic achievement
• Increase a more equitable distribution of resources in the schools and neighborhoods so that all children are able to be in strong schools, not just the ones in wealthier communities.

You can learn more about the school to prison pipeline at www.blacklegacynow.org.

What has become clear is that many on our current school committee are not committed to these goals. In fact, some school committee member’s like Ms. Tracy Novick campaigned against high expectations for all students, and not expectations for teachers. Her cry’s against MCAS seem, on it’s surface to be a concern for unequal negative impact on poor students and students of color, but in reality it is a strategy to save teachers from being subjected to the same high stakes evaluation as high school students are. Again, on it’s surface, this looks good. Most of us agree that MCAS should not be a score that can keep a student with passing grades from graduating from high school. That seems completely unfair. We do want to be able to have multiple measures of what students are learning, but it shouldn’t be used in the way it is.

But in reality, her organizing is not to eliminate MCAS as a high stakes test for students. Her organizing is to stop MCAS from being a criteria for teacher evaluation. The state and feds are revisiting how teachers are evaluated and they think one of the measures of a teachers success should include how much students learn. I agree. Should it be the only measure? No. But it should be one. And MCAS doesn’t need to be the measure.

Actions speak louder than words.

The current discussions about the extension of the superintendents contract is a place we can see where candidates values lay. Again, the primary role of the school committee is to hire, oversee, and collaborate with a superintendant that is able to support strong education of students in Worcester Public Schools. Our current superintendant has demonstrated a list of accomplishments for the district that outshines any recent superintendants including the ability to maintain 100% of programming during such dire economic times. In fact, she’s been able to bring more programming to the district.

I support:

• John Monfredo
• Jack Foley
• John Trobaugh

They have shown that, in addition to their personal agendas and perspectives that they will bring to their work, they understand that the bottom line is a strong leader who is able to show growth and improvements across the district. A leader who is able to balance the needs of the neediest students with the needs of the most advantaged and gifted students. I know that Dr. Boone is taking this school system in the direction we need to go in, and there’s proof to show it. I am concerned about the intention of those that would rally so hard to remove a proven successful leader, such as Tracy Novick. What direction does she want the schools to go in? I believe she would love to see it go back to the old system where the superintendent wasn’t focused on all students, only those students who’s parents voted and voiced their opinions through school committee members. Ms. Novick, Ms. Biancheria, and Mr. O’Connell who are elected to represent all the families of WPS’s have demonstrated again and again that they are committed to the constituents that voted them in, not the needs of the student body they were elected to shepherd.

Ms. Dianna Biancheria is proud of her role in bringing new programming to North High. She should be. However she seems completely apathetic to the fact that the policies for those programs are biased against poor white students and students of color.

Mr. O’Connell has admitted that Dr. Boone has been very successful in the past two years, yet says he would not want to renew the Superintendents contract for the standard 3 years to “send a message.” He has said that he thinks there are some areas he’d like her to focus more on, so holding back and suggesting only a two-year extension would make his point. What kind of a message is that? The school committee should not be a place where individual committee members play with peoples contracts because they are not willing to bend to individual whims. The school committee is supposed to set policy collectively, through the democratic process as part of a shared agenda. Enough with the personal agendas.

In fact, some school committee members have been much more concerned with the teachers than they have been of the students. I feel we have to care about both, but when it’s time to make decisions, the bottom line has to be “what is in the best interest of the students?” When we ask that question, we get answers that include strong teachers, happy teachers, teachers that have the resources needed for instruction, well trained teachers, and so much more that is pro-teacher.

The current school committee began two years ago with a newly hired Superintendent. Now, not everyone was pleased at this new hire. Maybe it was because she isn’t from Worcester, or because she’s a woman, or because she’s a person of color, or just because it wasn’t the guy most thought was a shoe-in… the one that was part of the same old network. On top of that, Worcester was identified as having two underperforming schools that the state was requiring immediate drastic action on. The state was basically telling us that we weren’t making the necessary improvements and, we needed to choose from a small array of choices for change or they might come in and take over the schools themselves. The tough decision needed to be made and our new Superintendant make the recommendations and lead the transformation of those two schools which included the removal of the principals at both schools.

I attended to school committee forums and was the first place I saw how different some of the school committee members views were from mine and those of my community. The conversations were primarily focused on the teachers and the terrible conditions they had to work under in “those” schools with “those” kids who had “those” parents. There was a lot of code speak but it was clear that there was an assumption that teachers and principal should not be held accountable because there was no way to do any better with “those” kids. The forums were not focused on what needed to happen to improve the student outcomes of the “those” kids.

Dr. Boone has walked her talk of high expectations for students, teachers, administrators, and the community.

During that same time, I have come to have a greater appreciation for some of the school committee members that are willing to learn about the student body and their families, in order to recommend policies that they think will benefit all WPS students.

The biggest job of the school committee is to hire, evaluate, and collaborate with the superintendant of schools. That’s pretty much it. To make sure they hire a qualified individual that can demonstrate continuous movement toward strong student achievement.

What I’ve come to learn is that all of the committee members are not focused on student achievement at all. At least, not for all students. For example, Tracy Novick has spent the last two years fighting against the superintendants focus on student achievement. That has been Ms. Novick’s platform. She has wasted hours on hours of school committee time on soap box rants against the MCAS. Why do I say wasted? Well, I think most of us believe that the MCAS test used as a high stakes exam has been bad policy, but it is a state requirement and more than 60% of the WPS’s funding is tied to the state. Unless Ms. Novick plans on telling the state “no thanks” to its funding, the school committee meeting is not the place for her personal opinion. What’s worse is she has twisted this contractual obligation as an assault on the superintendent, who has done an amazing job meeting those obligations and surpassing statewide improvements.

As I listen to the politicians speak over the last two years and during the current forums, it has become abundantly clear that the big difference is who the candidates are most focused on. It is my opinion that some have their priorities wrong given their role in the city.

There are seven committee members that include six elected, plus the mayor. Of the six elected, more than half come from the West Side of the city. Including the mayor, all of the members are White and have middle – upper income levels. So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, the school committee is responsible for setting policy and they also work with the Superintendent to identify priorities for the cities schools. That means, what they think is important… what is important in their lives and the lives of their family and friends is typically going to be what is at the forefront of their minds to focus on… to set as priorities. This is where perspective can come into play.

Mr. Foley has worked at Clark University in Main South for many, many years. From these experiences, and others, I can see that he has a deeper understanding of the students of the Worcester Public Schools.

Mr. Monfredo was a principal for 20 years. He always had a full parent room and his teaching staff enjoyed working with him.

Mr. Trobaugh wants to work with the present administration to bring positive changes. Also supporting real parent involvement.

It is the responsibility of us to choose the school committee that will work for our children. All children in Worcester, regardless where they live or where they go to school. We must work together as a community to keep all children out of the school to prison pipeline.

Worcester School Committee evaluates WPS Superintendent Melinda Boone tonight!

Here is Worcester School Committee member John Monfredo’s evaluation of Dr. Boone:

Dr. Melinda Boone completes her second year as WPS Superintendent … My Evaluation

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

Each June the Worcester School Committee, by law, evaluates the performance of Worcester’s School Superintendent. Tonight all members of the Worcester School Committee will stannd up and publicly gave their evaluation summary of Superintendent Boone on her second year as Superintendent of our city schools.

The evaluation is based on the goals and objectives that were mutually agreed upon by the Superintendent and the School Committee at the beginning of the school year.

Two years ago I was the first school committee member to greet Dr. Boone as she came to Worcester from Virginia for her interview. I found Dr. Boone to be a person who was easy to talk with and passionate about education. At her interview Dr. Boone said, “The difference between success and failure is opportunity…. I believe that all students need access to the same standards.” She also said she was high on best practices, a strong supporter of parent involvement and believes that the challenge ahead is the quality of teaching.

Here is my evaluation of Dr. Boone as will be presented tonight at City Hall:

Dr. Boone has stated on several occasions, “I see ourselves competing with private, charter, parochial and other public schools. Our goal is to make sure that we become the school of choice.” Again, she reiterated that at the “Parent/Guardian Expo” Saturday, June 11, held at WPI.

She has demonstrated by her actions that parents are an integral part of the success of children and education in general. Dr. Boone has worked closely with our schools to maintain an inviting and welcoming atmosphere along with working closely with parents to gain their trust and show them that the Worcester Public School’s is truly a partner with them.

Dr. Boone believes that parental involvement is a key piece to educating our children and has reached out to the community in an attempt to make the “Village” concept part of the educational solution. She has participated in the Worcester Educational Collaborative Community briefing on Innovation Schools, been the keynote speaker at the Worcester Community Action Council United Service Executive Group Breakfast and served as MC at the annual community MLK Breakfast. She has been a guest speaker at the Worcester Business Leaders meeting, the Worcester UNUM Girls’ Leadership Conference Panel, spoken at several Worcester Community Action Council seminars and in general has met with interfaith leaders, social agencies representatives, business leaders and many school group parent organizations. Continue reading Worcester School Committee evaluates WPS Superintendent Melinda Boone tonight!

Worcester School Committeewomen Tracy Novick and Dianna Biancheria and The Goddard School MCAS witch-hunt

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s take another look at the political subtext of the nasty/arrogant behavior of Worcester School Committeewomen Tracy Novick and Dianna Biancheria, re: The Goddard School MCAS brouhaha that they have managed to create, insulting WPS School Superintendent Dr,. Melinda Boone, the City of Worcester, Goddard School staff, students and families.

These two women are using the Goddard School to work out their issues re: The MCAS test in general (Novick, who loathes them and wants to do away with them – even though most educators and inner-city families want some kind of standardized test measuring the academic progress of students), the Mass Dept of Primary and Secondary Education (Novick has a vandetta against Mr. Chester and imtimated that he was corrupte), desire to oust Dr. Melinda Boone/racism (Novick and Biancheria resent this intelligent, caring and powerful African American woman), power/control (Novick and Biancheria do not know their boundaries and want to take it away from Dr. Boone – witness how the immature and shrill Novicik “slapped” her information request/letter in Dr. Boone’s hands at the last Worcester School Committee meeting. “unbelieveable” is how one political observer viewed Novick’s rudeness) and finally, both women’s disdain for then Mayor and now City Concilor Konnie Lukes who was instrumental in keeping the school superintendent search two years ago, fair, open, professional – and country-wide.

Good ol’ political Worcester boy Steve Mills did not get the job. The Worc. School Superintendent Search Committee, headed by WPI president and a lot of impressive/diverse Worcester business and educational and community leaders, chose Dr. Melinda Boone, who hails from Virginia – and is a beacon of professionalism and fairness. She is a role model for all our public school students – especially our kids of color. Novick – white, privileged, stay-at-home Mom who has never lived in the inner city and has never been poor/working class – has no idea how important a symbol Dr. Boone is for the WPSchools – a majority minority school district, where a majority of students are eligible for free or reduced-lunch (read poor) and whose parents know (to their very cores) that their kids’ school are neighborhood beacons of hope and caring, as well as education.

Konnie Lukes, John Monfredo, Joe O’Brien, Jack Foley and Mary Mullaney know this.

Novick has her head so far up her tight little asshole, she is incapable of seeing the truth. Biancheria is too dumb to have the kind of complex motives that Novick has – who will probably use the Goodard MCAS “scandal” to run for Worcester City Council soon (we hope she loses). Biancheria just feels left out, out of the loop, she says.

In other words, Dianna B.’s ass isn’t getting kissed often enough.

Dianna Biancheria worked at the Worcester public School Administration building on Irving Street. She was put into her high-paying position (a sinecure if ever there was one) by her ally and all around Worcester big-shot player, by former Worcester Mayor, Ray Mariano. Then she lost her job and all that money.

Dianna B. immediately ran for Worcester Public School Committee just to keep her fist in the money pie – and won, with the help of the Ray Mariano Political Machine. She – like all Worcester School Committee members – gets (around) a $15,000-a-year check for sitting on the Worcester School Committee.

Having watched the Goddard “showdown” a few weeks ago in which Dianna and Novick and strange political bed-fellow Brian O’Connell’s petition to see all the state records re: the Goddard MCAS test results (which classrooms was the “coaching” going on in, which tests were affected, which students were being inappropriately aided by which Goddard School teachers) get voted down 4 to 3 should have ended this creepy affair.

Nope. Novick and Biancheria are going to the state, filing freedom of information letters and the whole nine yards. Just to out to the community the Goddard students (how sad for the families!) and the teachers (whom everyone says are first-rate) to get what they need: their bizzarro egos fed, their misplaced need for control met and their (unconscious) racist, provincial desire to ruin the career (same motive of former Worcester city councilor Gary Rosen – the little dildo) of Dr. Melinda Boone, a woman way too classsy for these three.

To Tracy Novick and Company: Let the Goddard School move on

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

Goddard Elementary School has been in the news for several months due to their MCAS scores. Following a four month joint investigation conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Worcester Public Schools a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was released. It stated, ”State officials have invalidated the 2010 MCAS results for the Goddard School in Worcester following a joint investigation conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Worcester Public Schools that found educators provided students with inappropriate coaching during testing.”

As stated in their press release and reiterated by Dr. Boone the department found through investigatory interviews with school personnel that staff who administered the 2010 MCAS tests reviewed students work on the test, coached students to add to their responses and scribed answers or portions of answers that were not worded by students. According to the guidelines no test administrator or other school personnel may coach a student during testing or alter or interfere with a student’s response in any way.

In essence, according to the State, the school broke the protocol guidelines, but keep in mind that this was not a case of someone cheating to inflate the MCAS scores of the children. As Commissioner Chester stated in a letter to Dr. Boone …”irregularities occurred at the Goddard Science and Technology School and those guidelines were not adhered to in this instance.”
As part of the remedy, Superintendent Boone was asked to prepare a report to outline how the district will train staff in proper testing procedures and how it will oversee the proper administration of the spring of 2011 MCAS tests. Dr. Boone has already completed the plan and has submitted it to the Department of Education. In addition, Dr. Boone went beyond what the State had asked for in her plan.

Dr. Boone stated, “I have pledged to the Commissioner that the district will continue to work cooperatively with the Department to ensure that all educators in Worcester are trained in proper MCAS testing procedures and will follow those procedures explicitly at all times. Despite the irregularities during the last year’s testing, I am confident that the instructional practices at Goddard are sound and represent the best practices nationally to raise student achievement.”

The school and the principal have been penalized by the state and now it’s time to move on while learning from mistakes that were made. The School Committee in a 4-3 vote did just that and voted for administration to move on and accept the findings of the State. However, there are many in this community who are still not willing to allow Goddard to “move on.” We live in such time where individuals want to be punitive and want “heads” to roll. Just listen to the talk shows or read the blogs and you’ll know what I mean. Even after all this disclosure talk show hosts are still complaining about the lack of transparency.

Many of these people making such outlandish accusations know nothing about this school. I have visited this school many times and have been impressed with Principal Marion Guerra who brings passion and a sense of purpose to the job and in addition surrounds herself with a very competent staff. There is a warm and caring environment in the building and everywhere you go you see data walls telling of where the children are in their Measurement of Academic Progress, you see students goals being written and you see lots of evidence of good teaching practices. The school believes that it takes a “village to raise a child” and therefore there are many neighborhood partnerships with church groups and social agencies. All the groups speak very highly about the school!

At last week’s school committee meeting over 100 parents, community members and student came to support Goddard! Many walked up to the microphone at City Hall and spoke about the school and the respect that they have for their principal.

You could hear statements such as ..”Mrs. Guerra loves the children for she is out in the morning greeting parents and students with a smile.”… “She encourages us all to read together as a family.”… “We see her working with students in the summer time developing a neighborhood garden.”… “I attribute my child’s success to the leadership of Mrs. Guerra.” Parent Khedeja Al-Iman spoke to me about how her son was in a charter school but after talking to other parents enrolled her son at Goddard. She stated that it was a great move for she is very satisfied with the caring and education that goes on in the school.

School Nurse, Catherine Robotis perhaps said it best, “Mrs. Guerra is deeply committed to the education of the children at Goddard. She works with children, their families, and the teachers to remove barriers to learning and promote achievement.  I can think of countless instances where her input and assistance directly helped children in need.  She is truly loved and respected by the children and their families for all she does throughout the year for them.  Several have voiced to me a wish for this process to end so they can get on with the business of learning without further distraction.”

Let’s look at some facts about this school. It is located in the main south area of our city. Goddard School is home to over 600 students and 98% of the families qualify for free and reduced lunch. The families at the school originate from all over the globe with 85% of students and families non-native speakers. There are more than 22 languages spoken at the school and these students are supported by English Learning labs. The school houses Special Education programs for Spanish speaking students and has a number of support programs for students with behavioral disabilities. The poverty level in the last nine years has increased from 65% to 98%.

Despite these odds the school has shown academic growth but not enough to close the achievement gap and to support all students to be college ready. Thus, they have taken the initiative and have applied to become an Innovation School. The Innovation School concept is a component of the educational reform agenda and has the potential to dramatically increase opportunities to improve student achievement.

Goddard School has an exciting future. In their innovation application the introductory page stated, “Research tells us that highly effective schools that beat the odds are effective because the staff has a strong culture of shared expectations for student achievement and a shared belief system built around commitment, responsibilities, and expectations…Decisions around curriculum, instruction, scheduling and resources both human and material are made collaboratively based upon data.”
Their idea is to move the culture of the school to the next level of commitment and responsibility where everyone is involved the complex issues around student achievement.

I believe it is time to move on and concentrate on ensuring that students at Goddard continue to receive an excellent education. Mistakes that were made are being addressed and now it’s time to support their efforts as they focus on meeting the needs of their students.

Rave reviews for Worcester Public Schools’ anti-bullying program!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

“I just want the bullying to stop. That is all I ever wanted. I used to love going to school. Now I hate it.”
(9-year-old Verity Ward quoted in the Sunday Telegraph, 12 March 2000)

Throughout my career as a former principal and teacher I have witnessed bullying take place in and out of school. “Bullying is unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening, or leaving someone out on purpose.”

The issue of bullying and its effect on children has finally been recognized. As a principal, year ago, I saw bullying first hand and saw how it affected students. I remember seeing a little girl crying in the corner of the school yard because she was told by one of her classmates that she wasn’t allowed to play with them and other classmates because they didn’t like the way she dressed. Then there was a boy who wasn’t picked to play with the other boys on their football team at recess time because he couldn’t speak English.

The effects of bullying don’t stop there, – bullying can hurt children other than the victims. Studies have shown that children who witness bullying may be afraid to go to school, too. They worry that a minor mistake may make them the bully’s focus. Or they may start bullying others, figuring that siding with the aggressor will keep them safer. Continue reading Rave reviews for Worcester Public Schools’ anti-bullying program!

Let’s hope Councilor “Ric” Rushton (Dope-a-rama) and Mayor Joe O’Brien don’t pig pile on Dr. Boone

By Rosalie Tirella

We will see if this bullshit continues at tonight’s Worcester City Council meeting: the not-so-latent attempt to pull the rug out from under the sturdy feet of Dr. Melinda Boone, Worcester’s new school superintendent.

We know that City Counilor Frederick Rushton was a big fan of “connected” school superintendent candidate Steve Mills (now working in some Boston suburb), and that he wanted his boy to get the superintendent job big time. Infact, last year Rushton was the city council member who was most vocal in his opposition to Boone. And he pushed for Mills, who thought he was a shoe in because he worked on Tim Murray’s first political campaign and all that crap.

But, hey, Rushton was powerless and then Worcester Mayor konnie Lukes wasn’t. As then-chair of the Worcester School Committee (as is for all of Wormtown’s mayors), Konnie created a professional search committee comprised of community intelligent non-biased community folks who would look at all super candidates. The search committee recommended the best candidate – Dr. Melinda Boone, a female, Black educator from Norfolk, Virginia. Our school committee OK’d the recommendation and – voila! Worcester actually looked smart, cool and progressive. … Continue reading Let’s hope Councilor “Ric” Rushton (Dope-a-rama) and Mayor Joe O’Brien don’t pig pile on Dr. Boone