The Worcester Public Schools are out!

By Rosalie Tirella

Our Worcester Public Library and the city’s branch libraries are closed, too! pic: R.T.

The coronavirus has shut down our Worcester Public Schools for weeks, and my heart breaks for all our neighborhood kids who LOVE THEIR schools: their TEACHERS, TEACHERS AIDES, LUNCH LADIES, JANITORS … the hot lunches, the fun at recess, the art classes, music, books, friends and so much more. … I see the neglect here every day, kids as an afterthought: I never (or seldom) smell hot meals cooked for kids … Little ones – so young! – walking to school alone, leaning against walls as they walk alone to school – half-asleep … Children not dressed appropriately for winter weather. Their parents. Parents whose parents were raised in dysfunctional situations so, of course, they have no parenting skills. Kids are neglected, maybe exploited or abused. They are never out playing catch or hitting a baseball with dad or going on walks with Ma. … The man of the house stays in the apartment while the little boy lugs big garbage bags downstairs and throws them into the Dumpster. The child does the dirty work. …

BELIEVE ME! OUR CLEAN, WARM, SAFE, FUN PUBLIC SCHOOLS are a godsend for so many Worcester kids!!!! Pre-K to high school seniors! All the ENRICHMENT: books, art, dance and recess … free hot lunches, often breakfast … and dinner, too, at some schools. One quarter of Worcester kids are food insecure. They need warm healthy meals to grow and thrive!!! … So many of our kids live with negligent or abusive parents …

Finally: LOVE. Love in the WPS. SO MANY OF OUR STUDENTS LOVE THEIR TEACHERS. REALLY! Let us give WPS teachers their due. Let’s drop the color prism for a few weeks and see what I saw when I was a substitute teacher in the diverse Worcester Public Schools years ago: WPS teachers coming in to school early to build special houses or projects with kids. A few kids come in early too – to watch their teacher build that magical castle! … WPS teachers putting on music for their students to enjoy as they draw or work on a fun project … A WPS teacher letting a small, tired little boy nap in the classroom’s library/book corner on a mat, covered and cozy in a small blanket. He got no zzzzs last night – he snores he is sleeping so heavily! … A WPS teacher staying after school to help her student understand the day’s math lesson … A WPS teacher paying out of her own pocket for cute stickers or pencils to give out to her students. Because she cares about them and wants to see them happy – happier. … Or a little Vietnamese first-grader at Canterbury Street School coming up to the “sub” for the day (me – her teacher is out sick) and telling me what I need to do this morning cuz that is what her teacher always does. She is so small and cute – and serious, directed. Leaning over me as I sit at teacher’s desk, she tells me which book I need to use, where teacher’s special folder is. Then just like that she says she misses her teacher! … 25+ years ago I saw all this in the Worcester Public Schools – a witness to love!

City Manager Ed Augustus and CITY OF WORCESTER! PLEASE STEP UP! Our city kids need our city schools and all the amazing people and opportunities they provide! Can we, as a city, duplicate some of these experiences and services during these challenging weeks? The people are impossible to duplicate♥️