Tag Archives: students

Millbury Parents Club’s 3rd Annual 5k and Fun Run!

ImageProxy

Go, Millbury Public Schools, go!!!

Millbury Parents Club’s 3rd Annual 5k and Fun Run!

May 1

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year to raise money for the Millbury Public Schools to help pay for things that aren’t covered by the school budget including:

buses for field trips

science programs

reading programs and more!

It’s a 5K race and a one mile fun run for kids!

This is a great community event!

CLICK HERE to register and for more info!

BE THERE!

IMG_5510-1

Assumption parked in A.I…Helping kids with Autism – Go, Assumption College, go!!!!

In recent years, there has been a rise in Autism across America, and now 1 in 68 children are diagnosed on the Autism spectrum.

In Central Massachusetts alone, 3,000 families are estimated to have a family member diagnosed with Autism.

Due to the rising number of families with children who have been diagnosed with Autism in need, waitlists grow longer and more therapists are needed. HMEA is dedicated to helping these families in Central Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.
 
Through a $56,700 grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, HMEA has been able to expand the Students for Higher: Rising Up for Autism program in partnership with Assumption College.

Dr. Jan Yost, President & CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, remarked “with the increasing number of children presenting with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, we commend HMEA for partnering with Assumption College to develop a creative approach to alleviating the challenges these children and their families face, while also providing college students with exposure to children with Autism and a job as they are studying to be therapists.  The ultimate goal is to increase the number of therapists who are skilled in Applied Behavioral Analysis, which is proven to help young children with Autism. Once a successful program is established at Assumption College, it is hoped that HMEA will be able to implement the program in other colleges in Central Massachusetts.” 
 
The Students for Higher program specifically trains students in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy has proved to be an effective treatment for Autism, especially when used during Early Intervention and is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General.

Students are taught ABA training techniques such as personalized brain games and positive reinforcement. Students shadow Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) at first. Once students have gained adequate training and observation, they take care of specific clients independently and check-in with a supervisor.
 
The Students for Higher program is making an impact on those with Autism, their families, and Assumption students. Kate Colburn, project leader of Students for Higher, happily reported that “the Students for Higher:  Rising Up for Autism program has helped provide Behavior Therapy services to all of the children that HMEA supports in the Worcester area.” It has certainly made the impact it intended on families and the unnerving waitlist.
 
Students have the opportunity to gain real-life, hands-on experience that is much needed in the job market. They are able to receive ABA training and practice with the supervision of BCBAs, helping them to determine their career paths while helping those in need. “After participating in the Students for Higher program, I feel like I’m more prepared for the real world and I have the experience I need to do what I love” says Abigail, an Assumption College sophomore, “I also like how my daily experiences with my client connects with what I’m learning in my Human Services and Psychology classes.”

Michael Moloney, CEO of HMEA, said “through this program, HMEA has been able to provide more ABA trained therapists to families in need across Worcester County, the MetroWest region, and parts of Rhode Island. Not only are Assumption College students gaining needed real-life work experience, but they’re also helping HMEA achieve its mission of giving children with autism and their families, help, hope, and a future filled with promise.”
 
About HMEA:
 
HMEA was founded in 1961 on the basic principle that people diagnosed with Autism or other developmental disabilities have dreams for their lives. Our mission is to help them live that dream and our 700+ caring, committed and competent staff are dedicated to achieving that. We treat each person diagnosed with Autism or a developmental disability as an individual, with talents, abilities and challenges. And our care spans his or her lifetime — from the first few months of life through adulthood. HMEA serves over 4,000 people who have Autism and other developmental disabilities throughout 110 communities in Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.hmea.org

ACE and Jim parked in AI

image004

*******

Congressman Jim McGovern Applauds $317 Million New Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Institute

New Institute Includes UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College

Congressman Jim McGovern applauded last week’s announcement that Massachusetts has been selected by the Department of Defense to host a $317 million public-private research partnership called the Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

The Institute will be based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with participation from UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester
, and a total of 89 manufacturers, universities, and non-profits.

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in innovation, and this public-private partnership will continue that tradition. Powering the 21st century economy starts with strong investments in the technology of tomorrow and this will ensure that Massachusetts continues to be on the front lines, as we write the next chapter in fiber science,” Congressman McGovern said. “I am proud that UMass Amherst and Quinsigamond Community College will be part of this exciting manufacturing partnership. I thank Secretary Carter for recognizing the incredible work of our Massachusetts schools and look forward to all we will achieve through this partnership.”

UMass Amherst will be committing $1 million to the initiative and will focus on research in polymer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and computer science. UMass Amherst projects in the initiative will include fiber-integrated sensors, energy generation and storage systems, thermal camouflage and other areas. Quinsigamond Community College will support the education and training of a skilled workers in advanced textiles manufacturing.

“We look forward to accelerating the fiber and textile manufacturing workforce in the US, and across Massachusetts,” Dr. Gail Carberry, QCC President stated. QCC will help develop a national community college network and co-develop industry recognized curriculum modules for accelerated, stackable certificates based on local fiber and textile industry demands to crate career pathways through 2-year colleges and beyond. “This Advanced Manufacturing Institute allows us to leverage the significant State and industry investment for QCC’s Innovative Technology Acceleration Center (ITAC) in Southbridge,” Dr. Carberry added.

The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more.

For example, the institute will pair the likes of leading audio equipment maker Bose, computer chip maker Intel, and nanofiber manufacturer FibeRio with textile manufacturers and textile users like Warwick Mills, Buhler Yarns, and New Balance. In doing so, the institute will accelerate technology transfer to enable revolutionary defense and commercial applications such as shelters with power generation and storage capacity built into the fabric, ultra-efficient, energy-saving filters for vehicles, and uniforms that can regulate temperature and detect threats like chemical and radioactive elements in order to warn warfighters and first responders. The combination of novel properties such as exceptional strength, flame resistance, reduced weight and electrical conductivity through this institute will lead to significant advancements in this industry.

Gordy’s parked in yum yums: What Would You do with $91 million a Year?

By Gordon Davis
 
The Worcester School District is being underfunded at least $91,000,000 per year. This is according to the calculations found in M. G. L. Chapter 70 and the statutes for special needs education.

The purpose of this money is to ensure that school districts with low incomes and property values receive resources similar to those of wealthier school districts. This makes sense, especially in terms of the low classroom sizes needed for quality education and for the intense educational effort needed by some special needs students.

However, for years – or decades – Worcester has been shortchanged by millions of dollars. Thinking of it as a tax refund might bring clarity. The State owes you a $2,000 refund, but only gives you $1,500. This is certainly unfair and possibly unlawful.

The excuse I most hear is the money had not been proposed in the Governor’s budget. This go along to get a long mentality is objectively harmful to the children of Worcester. I understand that several legislators have raised a fuss about the Governor’s education budget. Good for them!

I was surprised when a person who supports the Worcester Public Schools asked me what our School District would do with the money.

The answer I had for him was fairly easy, but also incomplete:

1. Ensure that special needs students get all of the resources that are required for them to be successful.  
 
2. Reduce the student-teacher ratio so that all students can get more individualized instruction.
 
 
3. Institute additional Advanced Placement courses to ensure that the students who are seeking college preparation get it.
 
4. Establish a school similar to the Nativity School in the Worcester Public Schools for children at risk.
 
5. Repair and modernize the school district’s buildings.
 
6. Establish an exam school for science and mathematics.
 
There does not seem to be any urgency in our delegation to the State House, members of the Worcester City Council or Worcester School Committee to get this money. In fact, I have heard only four people in the City talk about it and two of them are in CPPAC.  Another person is in the teachers’ union. State Rep. Mary Keefe is the fourth.

This money would not only help Worcester students be successful, but it would also add to the economy of the City. It would be a net gain, as more money would come in than leaves.

It would also mean scores of new jobs.

Hopefully, most of these jobs would be obtained by Worcester residents.

The additional money and the improvements to the Worcester School District would have the additional effect of helping to stop the drain of money to the charter schools.

A new exam school in Science and Math, a middle school based on the Nativity School model, additional Advanced Placement courses, and smaller class sizes should make the Worcester Public Schools even more attractive to students outside our District.

The students of Worcester would benefit more when the Worcester City Council stops its pipe dream of making Boston “jealous” and when the Worcester School Committee stops selecting candidates based on popularity.

I hope this wish list comes about within my lifetime.  

The Worcester Public Schools and the Drug Fantasies of the State House

By Gordon Davis
 
First, let me start off by saying that the opioid crisis is real and something needs to be done about it. Overall, it is a good thing that the State House recently passed an opioid bill.

The bill mandates drug screenings for public school children. However, there does not seem to be any evidence that the crisis is particularly acute in public schools. In fact, the statistical evidence is that drug use of any kind among high schools is declining.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in a recent report said the following:

2014’s Monitoring the Future survey of drug use and attitudes among American 8th, 10th, and 12th graders continued to show encouraging news about youth drug use, including decreasing use of alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription pain relievers; no increase in use of marijuana; decreasing use of inhalants and synthetic drugs, including K2/Spice and bath salts; and a general decline over the last two decades in the use of illicit drugs. 

Misuse and abuse (or “non-medical use”) of prescription and over-the-counter drugs continues to decline among the nation’s youth. Past-year use of the opioid pain reliever Vicodin has dropped significantly over the past 5 years; 4.8 percent of 12th graders used Vicodin for non-medical reasons in 2014, compared to 9.7 percent in 2009. Past-year use of narcotics other than heroin (which includes all opioid pain relievers) among high school seniors dropped from 7.1 percent in 2013 to 6.1 percent in 2014; 9.5 percent of seniors had reported past-year use of these drugs in 2004.

Private schools are not required to carry out drug screenings. Given that this is a medical issue, it seems prejudicial that the state Legislature was silent on drug screening for private schools. There are state laws on vaccinations that apply to private schools.

This seems to be another instance where public school children are treated in a disparate and maybe an unlawful manner.  The issue of mandatory drug screening certainly raises Fourth Amendment issues of searches by government agencies without probable cause. In this matter, it is a search without reasonable cause.

The drug screenings are to be conducted by school nurses or other medical personnel. 

I do not think each high school and middle school in Worcester has a school nurse; many of them were eliminated in budget cuts while ago. It is likely that there will be more layoffs next fiscal year due to school underfunding.

In theory, the parents of a child are able to opt out their child from the drug screening. This raises process and procedure questions as to how the parents will be informed about the substance and implication of the drug screening and how to opt their child out.

There are also questions about medical records. From my experience in discrimination law, every “oral“ warning was actually written down and placed in the employee’s file. I am pretty sure that the same will happen with these drug screenings.
 
I cannot imagine what the process would be if the nurse or other interrogator came to the conclusion that a child was abusing drugs. Such a conclusion is likely an automatic suspension from school.  Although the conversations with medical personnel are “confidential,” it is not the same as the lawyer-client privilege. Medical personnel can be summoned to give an affidavit or to court.

The Mass Human Rights and PLP plan to raise these issues with the Worcester School Administration and the Worester School Committee.

It seems like an issue other groups should be interested in – groups such as CPPAC and Jobs/School Not Jail.

With the transition to a new WPS Superintendent Worcester might not get to these issues for a while. How other school districts handle this new drug screening mandate could prove helpful.

Perhaps the Worcester legislative senators and representatives and the governor’s office can sponsor an information session on how to carry out this mandate without violating children’s civil rights. 

With new WPS super, Worcester should consider district representation on the Worcester School Committee

By Gordon Davis
photos by Gordon Davis

What is to be done now that Maureen Binienda is the new Worcester Public Schools Superintendent?

The success and education of our children are the only issues now. We have to work together to effectuate these goals. Any division or animosity within the Worcester School District must be put aside.

Dr. Binienda_1
Dr. Binienda

Since the search was internal to the Worcester School District, the candidates for the schools superintendent job still have important jobs to do and must continue to do their good work: Dr. Mulcahy teaching English, Dr. Allen running Norrback Elementary School and Dr. Rodrigues continuing his work as Assistant WPS Superintendent.

Dr. Rodrigues faces a test of character, as he has to teach his replacement the ropes.  I am sure he will pass this test and be of great help to Dr. Binienda.

Dr. Rodrigues_1
Dr. Rodrigues

I think Dr. Rodrigues will eventually be scooped up by some school district which has a better appreciation of his talents, experience and education.

I think Dr. Binienda will do a good job until she retires in a few years.

As I have pointed out before, there seems to be something irrational or illogical regarding this WPS superintendent selection process. The irrationality became more evident when the two progressive Worcester School Committee members – Hilda Ramirez and Tracy Novick – were voted out of office this past November. They were replaced by at least one ideologue.

I also have to say that I was surprised by the votes of some long-time Worcester School Committee members who I thought were more level-headed.

One time, several years ago, then Worcester Mayor Joseph O’Brian suggested that there should be regional or district representation on the Worcester School Committee similar to that found on the Worcester City Council to ensure minority representation, to reflect the diversity of the students/families of the Worcester Public Schools. To ensure their voices, needs and perspectives were heard. I was skeptical at the time, as there is a so called minority majority State Representative district in our area that has never been filled by a minority.

After the recent events, I may have to concede the point to our former mayor.

The Worcester School Committee is entirely white – even though most of the children in the Worcester schools are not.

I do not think that this should last for long, for the good of the city.

For years the Worcester School District has been underfunded. It should be receiving at least $90 million a year more than it is now receiving in accordance with Chapter 70 of State statutes. Yet I have seen no urgency by the Worcester School Committee to fully fund the schools.

There has been no effort to organize parents or teachers or the community in general to demand full funding.  

Compare this to the student walk out in Boston.

The children once again lead the way.

There is a definite need for a change in leadership in Worcester.

It is not clear to me that the Dr. Binienda choice is a symptom of this lack of leadership. I wish her good fortune in running our public schools; our kids’ lives depend upon it. 

Engineering event parked in A.I! BE THERE, WPS!!

Save the Date

From the National Society of Black Engineers

NSBE’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community!

Hi, All!

It’s my pleasure to invite you to attend the TORCH Fest & Innovations Faire on …

Wednesday, March 23 …

from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM

… at the NSBE National Convention.

This event is open to the public and will feature all kinds of activities, organizations and educators to expose young minds to the wonderful world of STEM. I realize this event takes place during the school day, but I can assure you that students will benefit greatly from a day with us.

So come and help NSBE Engineer a Cultural Change!

Convention Website:
nsbe.org/convention

*******

NSBE’s 42nd Annual Convention

Engineering a Cultural Change

March 23-27, 2016| Boston

www.nsbe.org 

The Worcester Way: The apples before the cart before the horse

CAM00130
Lots of Worcester Public Elementary Schools have all-white teaching staffs while the schools’ students are predominantly minority kids. We hope new WPS Superintendent Maureen Binienda rights this wrong! Ha!

By Rosalie Tirella

Why attend any one of the Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Search “community,” “open,” “forums” that the City of Worcester is hosting next week and urging us Worcesterites to attend when we all know Maureen Binienda, principal of South High School and a lady at the tail end of her education career, will be crowned prom queen? The brandy new superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools!!!

For the City of Worcester to hold these two community “listening sessions” insults our collective intelligence. We Worcesterites should call ’em out and shout: LUDICROUS!!!

The move is almost as big a joke as the not so long ago hiring of Worcester boy and political insider Ed Augustus as new Woo City Manager AFTER Augustus swore up and down on his granny’s grave that he wasn’t interested in the CM job and would not take it even if it were offered to him as the big prize in a really cool gum ball machine from Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage Gift Store at Webster Square, the neighborhood where Augustus grew up …

CAM00160-1

… AFTER the City of Worcester hired The Three Stooges Professional Search Firm to conduct a national city manager search to bring in some great job applicants outside the Worcester (cess)pool to be interviewed by supposedly unbiased city leaders …

… who decided AFTER those poor chumps (I mean job candidates) jumped through a billion quirky Worcester hoops to only learn that this screwy city was gonna hire the insider Augustus, but THANK YOU FOR LETTING US WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME … You must have loved spending time HERE IN WORCESTER, spending a few weeks glad handing and schmoozing and answering a million questions posed by sometimes dense city leaders and honest regular folks, some of the questions very personal (remember the WPS Superintendent candidate who had declared bankruptcy or the most EXCELLENT, HARVARD-educated WPS Superintendent candidate who came in all the way from New Mexico?). … THANKS FOR BEING IN THE WORCESTER DOG AND PONY SHOW, folks! We’re certain you’ll speak highly of our city to friends, family and colleagues wherever you go!

If any serious candidate for any serious, seriously important City of Worcester job Googles Worcester, job search and hiring practices the search will yield: MORONS! BE VERY AFRAID! STAY AWAY!! Maybe the prospective job applicants will take the time they had planned to use to write their letters of interest, polish up their resumes, meet with headhunters and instead book a trip to Disneyland – the experience will be just as Goofy and surreal and mind-numbing! But at least you get cotton candy and pink lemonade and rides in the sky!

Most Worcesterites know our city government is dysfunctional and, like the little kid who’s seen mom and dad fuck each other over left and right, feels 1. This is normal behavior and 2. Is deeply depressed. Why just look at our city!

CAM00164

CAM00663

Garbage strewn everywhere – some of it hanging from the tree branches. Stabbings galore, used syringes all over our backyards, people brandishing guns, entering homes with babies and mothers in them, mothers corralled into bedrooms, ever watchful babies scarred for life.

The insanity of Worcester city government (and America’s messed up economy) is reflected in the governed. And most Worcester peeps are saying: FUCK YOU! We know we’re zero in your eyes, Worcester city leaders; we know we’ve got to slog through our days while your relatives and cronies get $90,000 a year city jobs and other perks just because they know you. So here’s your shit sandwich, City Councilor Lukes!!! (BTW, Konnie Lukes is one hell of a slumlord!) Screw your combs and yellow city trash bags, City Councilor Gary Rosen!!!

Is it any wonder that after the City of Worcester has decided to CLOSE the WPS Superintendent Search and just interview LOCAL (read WORCESTER pal) candidates and AFTER city bigwigs have made Maureen Binienda Mayor of our politically important Worcester St. Patrick’s Day and after the muckety-mucks have all gone on record in one way or another to tell the world: MAUREEN BINIENDA WALKS ON WATER. SHE IS A WORCESTER IRISH CATHOLIC GAL. SHE KNOWS WHAT LIES IN THE HEART OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR STUDENTS IN OUR MAJORITY MINORITY SCHOOL SYSTEM, A SCHOOL SYSTEM FILLED WITH POOR AND DISENFRANCHISED STUDENTS. … Those students are about to learn Woo lesson #1: In Worcester it’s WHOM you know, not WHAT you know.

I mean, the fix is in.

Mo is in.

As usual, when it comes to hiring people for the City’s most prestigious (read politically powerful and connected), highest paying, bestest, coolest, most freakin’ PLUM jobs, the City of Worcester has shit all over itself.

Again.

It’s put the apples before the cart before the horse and made Worcester, the second largest city in New England, seem provincial, totally closed off, myopic, fearful of the future …

There will never be any NEW VISION in Worcester because city leaders are waiting at our half-empty airport with hot pokers in their fists ready to pounce on the next Melinda Boone – to stab his or her eyes out.

Worcester kids in style! Go, WPS students, go!!!!

The City of Worcester is launching a pilot after school program on February 1

It’s called Recreation Worcester. 

Recreation Worcester is a free community program that, for now, will be held at five sites across Worcester:

Chandler Elementary School (Wednesday & Thursday),

Claremont/Woodland Academy (Tuesday & Thursday)

Goddard School (Wednesday & Saturday)

Quinsigamond Elementary (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday)

and Worcester East Middle (Tuesday & Thursday). 

Many of you are active community organizers and participants within the City and have the capacity and ability to help us grow this program!

Programming is offered to all Worcester Public School students ages 7 and up. 

Younger students (7-13) will attend programming from 2:30-5:00 and older students (14+) will attend programming from 5:00-7:30 (times may vary depending on the site- our latest start time is 3:00 and our latest end time is 8:00). 

Dinner will be provided by the WPS. 

In addition to the partnership between the City of Worcester, the Worcester Public Schools, and local colleges and universities Recreation Worcester is backed by several sponsors and partners across the city.  

The Recreation Worcester team is not only looking for youth to register for the program, but also, for college students and older youth who are interested in volunteering and gaining experience as a youth worker. 

Recreation Worcester is unique to Worcester and has a strong foundation in past programs that have proven to be successful. 
 
Thank you!

Protest tomorrow!

BOSTON FAMILIES AND STUDENTS TO PROTEST MAYOR WALSH’S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

Boston – On January 19, 2016, a broad-based coalition of public education stakeholders made up of families, students, educators, community members and groups representing public schools throughout Boston will come together at Mayor Walsh’s 2016 State of the City Address to protest budget shortfalls which negatively impact all of our Boston Public Schools.

We are protesting the Walsh administration’s failure to aggressively advocate for adequate funding and to make the investments needed to create success for every single student in all of our Boston Public Schools.

DATE: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TIME: 4:30 pm

LOCATION:  Intersection of Westland Ave and Mass Ave, Under BSO sign

We are demanding that Mayor Walsh, at a minimum, do the following:

Join in solidarity with Boston’s students, families and community members to aggressively advocate for our Boston Public Schools at state and federal levels;

Through strategic planning and ambitious revitalization, reduce the BPS budget shortfalls of $50 million this year and $140 million over the last three years;

Invest in fully-resourced community public  schools with wraparound services for Boston’s children;

Work with the true stakeholders of Boston Public Schools: students, families, educators and community members to fully audit BPS’ budget in order to assess community needs and address inequalities;

and, Collaborating with the true stakeholders, demand democratically controlled public schools through an elected Boston School Committee.

In Boston, the stakeholders have come together to build a new vision for our public schools and our children—one that champions great public schools as the heart of our neighborhoods and ensures that every student, regardless of zip code, receives the highest quality education available.

Our stakeholders have developed a community-driven movement for the benefit of all of our students  and we will hold all of our elected officials accountable to us as their constituents and voters.

Contact: Karen Kast-McBride Mary Lewis-Pierce (617) 877-2871 857-891-3271
Karen.Kastmcbride@gmail.com lewispierce@gmail.com