Tag Archives: teachers

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!

After-school programs are key! Let’s keep our schools open those extra 90 minutes!

By Rosalie Tirella

Years ago, I was an inner-city kid. I, along with my sisters, attended the old Lamartine Street School in Green Island. We were labeled the City of Worcester’s first “inner-city” school. But I had the best public school teachers in Worcester! Mr. John Monfredo! Mr. Gillman! Mrs. Napoli/Zaterka! Mr. Chickarian! All of these folks ran their classrooms like well oiled clocks, where learning was serious business, but they also made learning fun/hands-on and managed to convey a genuine fondness for us kids – all of whom were poor, many of whom were very rough around the edges.

Going to Lamartine Street School was the best part of my childhood! A magical place where books were plentiful, games were fun (and educational), adults didn’t scream at each other, hamsters and other pocket pets were cared for (usually by little bookworms like me!) and … after school activites were made available to us kids.

I don’t think any of the teachers at Lamartine got paid for their extra efforts after school – I do know everyone had a lot of fun. Mr. Gillman, my fourth grade teacher, played the accordian! What a cool – BIG – musical instrument, I thought when I saw him take it out during class to play Christmas songs for us. I immediately began whining to my mom to get me a starter/kid accordian with cool rhinestone buttons on the left and fake ivory inlay over the keyboard at right. And in between – squezze box! A bunch of Lamartine kids felt the same way and their parents got them accordians too. So Mr. Gillman began teaching every accordian toting kid – after school. Giving us music lessons. For free. Boy! Did I sound horrific, but my chest swelled with pride whenever I carried my pretty little accordian (which my mom rented for me from some teeny music store on Pleasant Street) to class.

After school fun that kept a smart kid like me from going home to sadness … At Lamartine I did not have to get sad over my father or our living situation.

About two decades ago, I had an epiphany. I remember walking out of Union Hill School – an adult now. School had ended about 20 minutes ago. And what did I see? A six year old boy running around the street in front of his home WITH A STEAK KNIFE. A steak knife!

What a godsend that Union Hill had an afterschool program, I thought. That little boy needs to join the Union Hill afterschool program. Nothing heavy – nothing amazingly acacademic. Just a classroom where the Unioh Hill kids could: create little arts and crafts projects, finish up their homework, color mimeographed pictures or play in the school yard – maybe kickball or dodge ball.

Nothing fancy happend at Union Hill’sd after school program. Just like nothing too fancy happened at Lamartine Street School for me years ago. But guess what? Activities like these keep some kids out of trouble/steak knife drawers, provide a quiet place to do homework (our three-decker apartment could get noisy with all the arguing: my baby versus my dad versus my mom!) or just hang out and color in a coloring book – in an attractive, safe place. Your neighborhood school.

So much more than babysitting! Life-saving, actually!

And last night I watched the Worcester School Committee worry about: paying WPS teachers who are too cheap to volunteer – want to get paid $60 per hour for their work (90 minuites of work). The city doesn’t have the bucks to pay all these teachers – and Mayor Joe O’Brien (wisely ) said that the system should just hire regular folks to run some kind of after school activites – not really teaching academic.

Bravo, Joe!

But of course, the WPS teachers plan to sue over that. They want the money that the city doesn’t have.

They, unlike, my old Lamartine teachers, don’t give a shit about the kids. Don’t care about their safety or happines. They are gonna go to the mat for a lousy $60 an hour. Over folks who may be able to run a good afterschool program getting payed 10 or 12 or 15 bucks an hour.

What a way to bring in the holidays!

So the Worcester Public School teachers want a contract …

By Rosalie Tirella

… and they, of course, are making asses of themsleves – totally out of touch with America’s 14% poverty rate, and almost 10% unemployment rate, totally oblivous to the fact that few AVERAGE American workers (professional or blue/collar) bring down $100,000 a year salaries – the way many of our Worcester Public School teachers do. Our school principals make around $130,000. Other professionals in our public school system make more than/around $100,000, too!

This is INSANITY!!!!!! THIS MADNESS MUST STOP!!!

Which is why Mayor Joe O’Brien this week called for an “objective” court-appointed mediator to step in and save the City of Worcester from these hogs.

I had lunch with one of my former Worcester Public School teachers a few months ago – a wonderful human being. A person who, like many teachers in the good ol’ days of WPS, went into teaching because she was absolutely passionate about kids and learning. “To be with you kids – oh, it was so special – … ” (How many WPS teachers would say that about their former pupils?)

Anyways, this former WPS teacher, a person who worked overtime many a day in our city schools (FOR FREE) and did wonderful things for students (FOR FREE) like rescue hundreds of used WPS text books out of WPS dumpsters to drive them to a boys’ residential school, was amazed – absolutely amazed! – that today the City of Worcester has a boat-load of teachers who make around/more than $100,000 a year! Continue reading So the Worcester Public School teachers want a contract …

Worcester’s teachers and cops: pay 25% of your health insurance premiums!

It’s only fair, guys and gals! According to Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien all our other municipal employees – like clerks who make a fraction of the money our police make – are paying 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. Why can’t you do the same thing? Why do you have to be so selfish and pigheaded? Don’t you realize you are blessed? In a brutal economy you pretty much have a job for life (some would say sincure). Many workers in the private sector pay much more than 25%. My firend’s husband has to pay 50% of his h.i. premium – and he works for a good, estasblished company!

This is what pisses me off! We have cops who milk the detail system and bring down as much as $150,000 a year. We have school principals making over $100,000 a year! Continue reading Worcester’s teachers and cops: pay 25% of your health insurance premiums!

Things that money can’t buy

By Richard Schmitt

In his recent remarks about education President Barack Obama offered support for the idea of paying teachers more if their students had higher scores on standardized tests like the MCAS. Education reformers have recommended merit pay as a method for improving American education for a while now. It seems common-sensical. If you pay your cleaners minimum wage, they will do a minimal cleaning job. Pay them a bit more and they will have some incentive for working harder. Get a cheap yard clean up service and they may cut your grass but not trim the edges carefully. Pay a little more and you may find that your yard looks better.

So why would this idea not work with teachers? Because mowing lawns, cleaning offices or houses is not a job you do because you love mowing lawns or cleaning. You do it for the money. If that is what you do it for, you may well work harder to get more money. But we don’t do everything “for the money.” Other things matter. Few people get married for money; we don’t have kids for money. We don’t have friends for money, or knit or sew or cook good meals for family and friends for money. Some people are fortunate to have work that they love. Yes, they get paid and often would like to get paid more, but since they love their job, they do it as well as they can – even if they do not get paid as much money as they would like. Continue reading Things that money can’t buy