City Connects in the Boston Globe

Over the weekend, the Boston Globe ran a story about the challenges facing school districts in Massachusetts’ “Gateway Cities,” 24 former industrial cities across the state, in establishing partnerships with nonprofits providing services or funding to schools. The article,”Smaller Mass. cities seek non-profit to bolster schools,” reported that almost 75% of the 40 turnaround schools named by the state since 2010 have been in outlying cities, but for a host of reasons, the bulk of partnerships seem to be concentrated in more populated urban areas like Boston.

This article comes on the heels of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s proposed 2013 budget, which includes funding for his “Gateway Cities Education Agenda,” an initiative he announced in November. The agenda comprises five strategies aiming to close the achievement gap, including a student support effort to be funded by a proposed $3.6 million. The Governor proposed creation of Student Support Councils in Gateway City schools and hiring Student Support Counselors to provide comprehensive services to students and their families.

City Connects is currently working with two Gateway Cities: Springfield, MA, which has City Connects in its turnaround elementary schools, and Lynn, MA, who recently engaged in a planning period with City Connects. From the article:

Already, a movement is taking root among some nonprofits to look beyond Boston. ACCESS, which provides college financial aid advice to middle and high school students, has expanded to Springfield. So has City Connects, an organization at Boston College that puts counselors in local schools to help connect students and their families to a variety of programs.

For more information:

2010 Statewide Test Scores Released

Yesterday, Governor Patrick released the 2010 school and district MCAS results and congratulated 187 newly-named “Commendation Schools” for their progress in closing achievement gaps and improving academic achievement. We are very excited that two of those schools, the Eliot and the Gardner, are City Connects schools!

“There are so many great success stories in schools across this Commonwealth because of the efforts of administrators, teachers, students, and parents who are united and committed to making every effort to ensure that every child that walks through the door receives a high quality education,” said Governor Patrick.

For more information:

Update: Mass. Adopts Common Core

The Boston Globe reports that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously voted this morning to adopt the national Common Core standards. Read the full story here. Massachusetts is now the 28th state to adopt Common Core.

Statement from Governor Patrick:

Massachusetts leads the nation in public education. Our children perform in the top tier, not just in the country but in the world. I want to keep it that way. That means we have to continue to raise the bar. That’s why we passed the education reform bill, to close the achievement gap once and for all. And that’s why I support the Board’s decision to sign on to the national Common Core standards. These standards will be as strong as the ones we already have in place, and in some cases will be stronger. And they are consistent with our MCAS, which has been and will continue to be a key element of our progress. Common Core will enhance the Commonwealth’s already rigorous standards.

UPDATE:

  • Release from the MA Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Statement from Boston Public School Superintendent Carol Johnson
  • Statement from Lt. Governor Tim Murray
  • NECN coverage: Mass. board unanimously approves national education standards
  • AP story: Mass. board approves education curriculum change
  • ASCD blog post: Critical Mass. for Common Core
  • Boston Herald story:  Mass. ed board votes to adopt fed standards

UPDATE–July 22 coverage:

  • Boston Globe op/ed: The education carrot
  • Boston Globe “Rock the Schoolhouse” blog post: Let’s celebrate: We have national standards
  • Boston Globe story: State panel adopts US academic standards
  • Boston Herald story: Critics: Education test standards too Common
  • Education Week story: Mass. adopts Common Core amid fiery debate
  • Fox25 Boston coverage: What new education standards mean for MA
  • Fox News story: Massachusetts raises concern by swapping state curriculum for national standards
  • National Review story: The Common Core curriculum
  • NECN coverage: Mixed reaction to Common Core decision
  • Quincy Patriot Ledger story: New educational standards comes as surprise for parents
  • WBUR coverage: New ed. standards stress public speaking, probability
  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette story: State adopts new academic standards

Mass in Motion grants $85,000 to Boston & Brockton

Mass in MotionThe Mass in Motion campaign, sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), this week awarded $25,000 in wellness grants to Boston and $60,000 to Brockton to improve community health and reduce chronic disease.

DPH says the funding will support community efforts to initiate policy and environmental changes to support healthy eating and active living. Boston and Brockton plan to create or expand existing partnerships among local government, community leaders, faith-based organizations, councils on aging, health care providers, businesses, and others to lead this effort. These two Mass in Motion grants  in addition to the more than $1 million in grants distributed to 12 other communities last year.

“As we kick off the second year of the Mass in Motion campaign, I am thrilled that we are able to continue to help cities and towns make an investment in creating healthier communities,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We look forward to supporting Boston and Brockton as they bring Mass in Motion to life by successfully and creatively helping city residents make healthy choices and build a stronger Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts Governor Signs Anti-bullying Bill

Today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed far-reaching anti-bullying legislation. From the State House press release:

“As Governor and as a parent, I feel very strongly that no child should feel threatened or unsafe in our schools,” said Governor Patrick. “Today, with this new law, we are giving our teachers, parents and kids the tools and protections they need so that every student has a chance to reach their full potential. I am proud to sign this bill and thank the Legislature for delivering on this critical priority.”

The release spells out new anti-bullying measures for teachers, schools, and communities:

  • All school staff must fully and swiftly detail any instance of bullying or retaliation to the appropriate school official.
  • The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will establish statewide academic standards that include age-appropriate instruction in bullying prevention.
  • Every school, public and private, must publish detailed bullying prevention, intervention, and notification plans in student handbooks.
  • Districts must provide all school staff–from bus drivers to athletic coaches–targeted professional development to build the skills necessary to prevent, identify and respond appropriately to bullying incidents.
  • Rules and penalties apply to incidents that occur outside of school in the community and online (“cyber-bullying”)

You can follow the Governor’s office on Twitter for real-time updates like these: @MassGovernor