Four City Connects Turnaround Schools Upgraded as Statewide Test Results Announced

Four City Connects schools in Massachusetts have been upgraded from “Turnaround” status with the results of the 2012-13 MCAS statewide tests, announced today by the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We extend our congratulations to the following schools:

  • Boston Public Schools:
    • JFK Elementary
    • Orchard Gardens K-8
  • Springfield Public Schools:
    • Gerena Elementary School
    • Zanetti K-8

City Connects is proud to be a part of the large Turnaround effort that had positive results in these schools!

For more information:

City Connects Named Priority Partner for Turnaround Schools through Massachusetts’ Race to the Top Grant

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has named City Connects a “Priority Partner” for turnaround schools in the area of social, emotional, and health needs. A project of the Commonwealth’s Race to the Top grant, the Priority Partners for Turnaournd initiative is aimed at qualifying proven organizations to support district and school turnaround efforts.

“Children living in high-poverty urban settings face countless challenges that impact learning and healthy development,” said Mary E. Walsh, PhD, executive director of City Connects and the Kearns Professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. “As a priority vendor, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with districts and turnaround schools across the state to address the out-of-school factors that can stand in the way of student achievement.”

DESE has identified vendors to be part of a Priority Partners for Turnaround network. The network will serve as a resource for districts and schools seeking partnerships with educational service providers to help turn around their lowest achieving schools by addressing the state’s priority conditions for school effectiveness, one of which is social, emotional, and health needs. City Connects will work directly with local districts, and in cooperation with DESE, to provide these services.

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

Massachusetts Considers Common Core Standards

Massachusetts’ Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester has recommended that Massachusetts schools adopt a unified set of national academic standards known as “Common Core Standards,” calling them as strong–if not stronger–than the state’s existing standards. In a memo he wrote to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the commissioner listed the strengths that distinguish the Common Core standards:

  • The focus on reading and writing across the curriculum
  • The attention to speaking, listening, and vocabulary
  • The treatment of text complexity and approaches to matching with student reading skills
  • The consideration of emerging, new literacies (digital and print sources) for research and production and distribution of ideas and messages
  • The treatment of varying student needs and achievement levels in the delivery of the mathematics curriculum
  • The accessibility of the mathematics standards to grades K-8 teachers
  • The vertical articulation of the mathematics standards as enhanced by the habits of mind that are critical to effective mathematics practice

The Board will vote tomorrow on the adoption of the standards, so stay tuned.

See which states have already adopted the Common Core standards here and follow the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education on Twitter @MassDESE.