Holyoke is staging a comeback by building on its existing educational foundation to boost its children’s future success. The city has an ambitious plan for transforming its public school system that relies, in part, on high-quality early education.
Last March, Holyoke’s Mayor Alex Morse knew that his city’s school might go into state receivership. But he also knew Holyoke’s strengths. Writing in MassLive, he explained:
“That we face these problems is no reflection on our teachers and administrators who have worked so hard to improve our schools. On the contrary, the state’s report highlighted many areas where our schools have excelled despite poor systemic conditions. Our award-winning early literacy program has made a difference. Our graduation rate has increased. Our teen pregnancy rate has dropped precipitously. Superintendent Dr. Sergio Paez, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Hyry, and our school committee have laid a strong foundation for future success. Local partnerships have given our kids access to tutoring, after-school programs, and extracurricular activities.”
At the end of April, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education did indeed announce that Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) was a Level 5, “chronically underperforming” district. This designation put the schools into receivership. (more…)