Tag Archives: Worcester Technical High School

My “baby girl” just graduated from Worcester Technical High School!

IMG_0404-1

Sha-Asia is attending Bucknell University in the fall! Outstanding!!! What a terrific Worcester high school we have in our Worcester Technical High! And Sha-Asia … so young and gifted! Great job, mom (Parlee)!

By Parlee Jones

Wow.  On June 10, 1997, my world changed with the birth of my daughter.  It was a hectic, chaotic day that turned into an emergency C-section with my baby girl in distress.  Almost 18 years later, this baby girl walked the stage and graduated from Worcester Technical High School with plenty of Pomp and Circumstance.

I am so humbled to be the vessel through which this young queen emerged from.  Since day one it has been a treat to watch her grow and develop into the young woman she is today.

Sha-Asia Medina Taylor, my daughter, my companion, my ride or die, my life, as you prepare to leave our nest and continue on the path the universe created for you when you were still stardust I hope you remember the words and thoughts I put on paper as a poem for your first birthday.  I believe they still ring true today.

Sha-Asia Medina ~ Written by Parlee Jones, June 6, 1998

What can I give you, my pretty little girl, as you walk on the path of life?

A Mother’s love, a great big hug and a map to take you there.

For you are born free, although you came from Father and Me.  From our Mind, Body and Soul.

You will be, for you are born, all that is predicted of you.  For you will be great.  The world is at stake.  What part in the play will you choose?

Will you choose the right instead of the wrong from what I instill in you.  Can I put myself deep enough into the essence that is you to make you love all that is life.

Loving what is right.  Understanding why it went wrong.  And strong enough to learn from each and every experience.

Can I teach you that?

That is the life I live for you, for me and he.

My pretty little girl with those chestnut eyes and hair as soft as silk.  My pretty little girl with that intelligent mind and laughter that brings joy to any cipher.  I give you the desire for excellence.  For through your hard work is the way you will succeed and get what you want out of life.

By surrounding yourself with you’re a-alike.  For the minds that are together as one are the ones that cee the Father.  Always remember your ABC’s ~ A-Alike, B-Alike, C-Alike.  There is strength in numbers, but sometimes you must stand alone.  Always remember, the truth is on your side.

Education is one key to set the mind free and I’m not talking just the school of hard knocks.  You learn from me, you learn from a tree.  You learn from above, you learn from below.  Education is an everyday process.  Open your eyes to the arts and knowledge what you see, for beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, as long as it feels right in your heart.  Don’t be afraid to dance your dance and listen to the sounds that soothe you.  For there is a song that you may choose to sing and a rhythm that is written by your movements.  And always remember the Ancient Drums.  Have compassion for all breathing creatures, great and small.  From the smallest mouse to the great, majestic elephant.  They are all here with purpose and meaning, for Allah loves life.  Find the Temple of your Familiar and dwell in the house of the Almighty.

Remember that people are not born evil.  They are shaped and molded by their life’s experiences.  Strive to help others if they are striving to help themselves, but don’t go down with a sinking ship.  Try to maintain a sense of humor, and remember, the truth is in the joke.

My beautiful, precious, little princess, you give me the strength that must be with me to take you where you must go.  I’ll love the hell and come out right the first time, for you inspire me to keep it real and keep it sweet.

For although you are born into this world, my beautiful star child, you are not of it.  Allah has blessed you and called you his own, so therefore, you are the chosen one.

Mommy’s precious, loving, Show and Prove baby.  Always remember that you are Supreme.  I gave you all I have to give and more.

I love you Sha-Asia Medina and am so proud and humbled by you!

Peace and Blessed Be!

THE GIRL WHO DRESSED UP IN KLUXER COSTUME.

By Gordon T. Davis

A girl dressed up in a KKK costume during a Halloween event at Worcester Technical High School on October 30, 2014.  This is the same high school that President Obama honored and attended its graduation ceremony in Spring 2014. Her dressing in the Kluxer robes and hood caused much upset in the Worcester and Boston areas. There was a report of it on the Boston TV.

The girl technically did not violate any policies as the Halloween event costumes were to depict great villains. Admittedly, the Ku Klux Klan is a great villain, guilty of murder and terrorism. Their klaverns are still on the Southern Poverty Center’s list of hate and terrorist groups. The very image of them is offensive to most people in Worcester and Boston areas.

I spent a good part of my adult life fighting against the Kluxers and the Nazis; we opposed the Nazis’ use of the Worcester Public Library as a meeting location.  So I think I can speak with some experience. The girl in the KKK costume is a child who followed school policy that was not at all clear. The school policy was confusing and it is that policy that needs correcting and not the child. When the policy is clear then the children will have the guidance they need to make good decisions. Children cannot be expected to make nuanced decisions between what is bad and what is offensive without guidance from adults. It is the school authorities who should have known better, albeit knowledge that was hard to obtain beforehand. The School Department’s policy on anti-racism and anti-discrimination is not well known to the public and there should be some discussion with the public about it.

The policy for great villains or heroes should be clarified to exclude characters that might be offensive. Of course this is a restriction of expression, but there are times political correctness makes good policy.

When my kids went to public school Halloween costume events occurred in elementary school, not in high school. My own memories were that it was fun dressing up for grammar school events. I wanted to be more mature in high school and dress the part, if only to impress the girls. Perhaps there should be restrictions on Halloween costume events in high schools.

The Worcester Public School is run by Dr. Boone who has shown competence in matters such as this. I sometimes think that she does not do as much as she wants, because of local politics. I do think that she will have an honest review of the Worcester School Department’s policy as was promised in its press release. I hope Dr. Boone does not wait for things to blow over without doing this review. I also hope she makes it and all policy changes public.  The girl in the KKK costume was a preventable event and I hope the School Department finds the right policy to ensure no further embarrassment to the students,  itself and to the City.

The fantastic Worcester Technical High School

By Edith Morgan

What do Mechanics Hall, Union Station, Green Hill Park, and Worcester’s Vocational Technical High School have in common? All involved over ten years of unrelenting effort on the part of citizens to save them from ruin. Mechanics Hall is now one of the foremost performance venues in America, saved from years of neglect and misuse ; Union Station, a falling down ruin in the 1970’s, is now a functioning and shining hub; and Green Hill Park, after decades of being dumped on and neglected, is now the city’s crown jewel, as the Green family envisaged when they made it over to Worcester in 1905. And so it was with our newest High School, Worcester Technical.

When I moved to Worcester in 1967,” vocational education“ was the province of the city council, who administered the vocational school down by the armory. It seemed to be a dumping ground for (mainly boys, as Fanning trade catered to girls, I believe) . While many dedicated shop teachers in fact tried to teach a trade to their students, the school under the tutelage of the city council was believed by many with whom I talked to be a haven of patronage.

Then , vocational education was taken over by the School Department. And like the other projects I mentioned, Worcester went from the bottom of the pile to the top – not just here in the city, but statewide and even nationally. I have come to the realization that this is how we accomplish big things here in Worcester . And so, after well over ten years of planning, hearings, gathering support, revisions, and getting funding, Worcester opened its top-of-the line Technical High School.

Visitors from everywhere come here to learn, admire, and praise the school, its facilities, its leadership, its accomplishments Just recently, Arne Duncan, the president’s Education Secretary, visited, along with other notables, to see for themselves what has been accomplished. And the school’s principal Sheila Harrity, has been recognized as the 2014 National Principal of the Year by MetLife/NASSP.

“The School That Works” opened in 2006, at 1 Skyline Drive, with a 400,000 square foot campus, situated on the site of the former city-owned Belmont Home, and 5 acres of what was part of Green Hill Park (for which the city gave the park 6 acres of land facing Belmont Street – a win-win all around). Originally to cost $72 million, delays and changes in the plan (due to the presence of vernal pools in the area, that required moving the footprint to preserve these pools) the building was completed at a cost of $90 million. Another win-win deal enabled Worcester to properly cap the old quarry which had long been used to dump construction materials and who knows what else, and create athletic fields for the school, while remaining part of the Park, and enabling city children to play soccer and other sports when not in use by the school – with funding provided by the state.

I urge all Worcesterites to become acquainted with this jewel in their midst: this school, which this year serves1,400 students, with opportunities to study and practice in 23 technical programs, if very welcoming to the public, and offers services as part of the education of their students: During the school year, you can get an excellent lunch, between 10:30 and noon at the beautiful “Skyline Bistro”, where I have enjoyed meals with friends, enjoying the wonderful view, and the professional service by students learning about restaurant management and food preparation with all the latest equipment – under the watchful eye of their teachers. If you just want coffee and a pastry, those are also available. If you need a little pampering, there is a beauty shop. Should your car also need some work, the school has an-up-to-date automotive and collision shop – and students who are studying graphics and printing will design things for the school s well as for outside (city) persons and organizations. And there is a real bank, with an ATM , and a place to spend your money aq the school’s gift shop , or at the school store, if you need sweatshirts or school supplies. It is almost like a city within a city, with all the amenities that students will need when they get out into the real world.

And lest you think that with all these career and vocational opportunities, that academics might be neglected, here are the amazing facts: In the five years of its operation, 77% of Worcester Tech students scored at the advanced/proficient level, while in Math. 74% did so . and 96% of this year’s 10th and 11th graders passed in Science. And they graduate in huge numbers: presently, the school has 95.4 graduation rate – with only a 1.1% drop-out rate.
And just so you think it is not all work and training, the schoo also offers many sports, including cross country, football, basketball, baseball, track, volleyball and others. The school mascot is the eagle.

The student body demographics is amazing also: of its1400 students, 51 are female, 49% male; 65% qualify for free or reduced lunches, and 21% are special needs students. Walk down the halls, and you will see that the student body reflects the ethnic backgrounds of the city’s residents.

All these things have not escaped the notice of national groups and organizations: in 2006 School Planning and Management Magazine rated Worcester Tech “The #1 Public Education Facility in the Nation”. In 2011, the school was selectees one of just five high schools in the nation as MetLife/NASSP Breakthrough School – and it was the only New England School selected, and the only vocational technical school in the country

As a retired educator, I have to greatly admire what is accomplished at this school: a tremendously well-equipped facility, excellent leadership, fantastic faculty, beautiful location, with a student body that achieves great things daily – in other words, what every school should be able to offer every child. And it pays off: In 2012, Worcester Tech graduates left the school with all academic requirements met, and with industry-recognized certificates. 77% went on to higher education, 18% went directly into the world of work, and 3% joined the military.

But the school is not resting on its well-deserved laurels: the drive to constant improvement is always on and in evidence everywhere. In a rapidly and constantly changing world, constant re-examination of curriculum, facilities, and student needs, are a must. And while that can at times be costly, not doing is far more expensive: Even the most expensive school does not cost per pupil what one year of incarceration costs: upward of $ 40,000 a year, not to mention the awful waste of lives.

On a personal note, I am very happy that this great facility is within our neighborhood, gracing the entrance to our greatest park, and providing so many opportunities to so many of our children. I realize that there is a waiting list, and while the school opened with 1,100 students and now has 1,400, we c not accommodate everyone who wants, or needs the opportunities it offers. But I am hopeful that sometime in the future, there will be place for all those of our young who want and deserve a top-notch education with a vocational technical twist.

Worcester offers many great choices at its 5 high schools, and there is a place for all. Thanks to the many who have worked diligently to create and support an excellent public school system, in these difficult times.

We love great dads! Worcester’s 2014 Father’s Forum!

2014 Father’s Forum

Get the tools and resources you need to support, serve and engage local fathers!!

Practical tools for working with fathers

Evidence-based services for fathers

Opportunity to sign up for additional training and materials!

Location: Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive

FREE PARKING

Date: Wednesday, 4/16/14

Time: 8:30 a.m. -1 p.m.

Food: A full, hot breakfast will be provided!

Freedom Writer teacher speaks to students at Worcester Tech High School

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

Worcester Technical High School two weeks before the MCAS, as they have done the past two years, brought in a motivational speaker to talk to the students. The event was held at the Hanover Theater in Worcester and the entire school was bused to the event.

This year’s speaker was Erin Gruwell, a former teacher, who has the distinction of having a movie made about her making a difference in the lives of her students. The movie is entitled, The Freedom Writers. A week before Ms. Gruwell’s presentation the students had the opportunity to watch the movie and discuss it with their teachers.

Erin Gruwell, a most dynamic speaker with an outgoing personality, had the students’ attention within a minute. She spoke about her first day at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California for as a recent college graduate she landed her first job in Room 203, only to discover many of her students had been written off by the education system and deemed “unteachable.” Her students lived in a racially divided urban community; they were already hardened by first-hand exposure to gang violence, juvenile detention, and drugs. Continue reading Freedom Writer teacher speaks to students at Worcester Tech High School