The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Level 5 Schools: End-of-Year Reports and Level 5 Districts Update

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
June 15, 2018

Annual Evaluation Reports for Level 5 Schools

In the fall of 2013, four schools were designated as chronically underperforming (or Level 5) schools in response to their low performance and lack of improvement while in Level 4 status: Morgan Full Service Community School (Morgan) in Holyoke, John Avery Parker Elementary School (Parker) in New Bedford, and UP Academy Holland (UAH) and Paul A. Dever Elementary School (Dever) in Boston.

This month I am presenting to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) the 2017-2018 annual evaluation reports on the four Level 5 schools as well as an update on each school. As part of a thorough monitoring system for Level 5 schools, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) commissioned American Institutes for Research (AIR) to conduct an independent review of each school's progress toward implementing its turnaround plan and produce an individual annual evaluation report for each school. The four reports are enclosed with this memo.

Update on the John Avery Parker Elementary School, New Bedford

Dr. Fran Roy, consultant with School & Main Institute, will be at the June 26 meeting to update the Board on progress and ongoing work at the Parker School. In 2013 Commissioner Chester selected Dr. Pia Durkin, superintendent of the New Bedford Public Schools, to implement the Parker School's turnaround plan. Dr. Durkin updated the Board on the school's progress at the Board's January 2017 meeting. Dr. Durkin announced her resignation from New Bedford in January 2018, effective June 30, 2018, and Acting Commissioner Wulfson selected School & Main Institute (SMI) to be the next receiver of the school, effective July 1, 2018. Dr. Durkin and SMI have worked collaboratively to transition the school to new leadership, including the selection and appointment of a new principal for the school.

Update on the Morgan Full Service Community School, Holyoke

In the fall, Dr. Stephen Zrike, receiver of Holyoke Public Schools and the Morgan School, selected Friends of Veritas Preparatory Charter School, Inc., to open and operate a new middle school in Holyoke for the 2018-2019 school year. Starting this fall, 5th grade students from the Morgan School and the Kelly Full Service Community School will enroll in this new school. Over time, the school will grow to serve students from the Morgan and Kelly schools in grades 5–8. As a result, the Morgan School's enrollment will change from serving students in Pre-K–8 to students in Pre-K–4.

Alyson Lingsch, who has been principal of the Morgan School since 2014, has been promoted to a new district-level position, Supervisor of Schools. In that role Ms. Lingsch will oversee the improvement efforts in six schools, including the Morgan School. Dr. Zrike has selected Steven Mogel to be the new principal of the Morgan School, effective July 1, 2018. As the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Belize, Mr. Mogel understands that an excellent education is essential for all students. He brings more than a decade of experience in education, beginning as a middle school teaching assistant, supporting students with diverse learning needs.

Update on Lawrence Public Schools

On May 21, 2018, the Lawrence Alliance for Education (LAE) voted to appoint Cynthia Paris as the next Superintendent for the Lawrence Public Schools. On June 4, 2018, I notified John Connolly, chair of the LAE, of my consent to the LAE's selection of Ms. Paris to be the Lawrence Superintendent. Ms. Paris is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Newton and has prior experience as a principal and speech pathologist. The LAE will meet on June 13 to finalize Ms. Paris's contract. I look forward to updating the Board further at the June 26 meeting.



Level 5 School Annual Evaluation Reports, June 2018, provided by AIR, for:

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Paul A. Dever Elementary School
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UP Academy Holland
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John Avery Parker Elementary School
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Morgan Full Service Community School