Tag Archives: Union Hill school

Tomorrow! Downtown! Lessons Learned from Turnaround Schools!

Please join us for a Community meeting!

Thursday, April 9

8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Fuller Conference Center at the
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

25 Foster St., Worcester

In 2010, Massachusetts set its sights on turning around its lowest performing schools.

What practices and leadership led to the accelerated improvement and measurable success in these schools?

What can we apply or bring to scale to improve teaching and learning in all Worcester schools?

Panelists:

Marie Morse, Principal, Union Hill School

Deborah Lantaigne, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

Kareem Tatum, Assistant Principal, Union Hill School

Len Zalauskas, Education Association of Worcester

Sponsored by the Worcester Education Collaborative

This event is free and open to the public!

Worcester’s Level 4 Schools, Union Hill and Chandler Elementary: Moving forward!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

“Turning around persistently low-achieving schools requires a new way of doing the work that is transformative for the students and teachers in the school… the nature of the work demands a new vision for redesigning the schools and how districts support schools in that process. Bold action is required.”
– Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Back in March of 2010 the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced its list of 35 Level 4 schools. A school is deemed “Level 4” if its achievement is in the lowest 4 percent of schools statewide. Two schools in Worcester were on the list: Chandler Elementary and Union Hill School.

The new law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick last January, is designed to close the persistent achievement gap between the schools in poorer communities and those in richer communities. However, as mentioned in previous articles, the idea of closing the achievement gap is a difficult choice, for the administration had a variety of punitive options to choose and the least restrictive was the removal of the principal. Thus, that was what Dr. Boone, Superintendent of Schools in Worcester, chose. The decision was supported by the Worcester School Committee.

At that time Dr. Boone stated, “These schools have worked extremely hard to provide a high-quality of educational opportunities for all the students enrolled there. While significant progress has been made, we acknowledge that the rate of progress has not met the state and federal benchmarks Continue reading Worcester’s Level 4 Schools, Union Hill and Chandler Elementary: Moving forward!

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!