|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, January 15, 2016|
|Contact:||Jacqueline Reis 781-338-3115|
Commissioner Recommends Level 5 Status for Southbridge Public Schools
Public Meeting to be held January 25 in Southbridge
MALDEN - Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester today recommended that the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education designate Southbridge Public Schools a Level 5, or chronically underperforming, district. The designation would put the district under state control.
"Despite significant effort over the past dozen years by educators and students in the district, as well as efforts by the Commonwealth to support educational improvement, Southbridge Public Schools continue to have low academic performance, low graduation rates and unstable leadership," Commissioner Chester said. "Southbridge students are as capable as students anywhere in the Commonwealth, but the district is falling well short of its responsibility to provide them with an effective education."
In making the recommendation, Commissioner Chester drew on information from a recent district review that found:
- Southbridge was among the lowest performing districts in the state in terms of the percentage of students who scored Proficient or Advanced on the 2015 MCAS assessments;
- 34 percent of students at Southbridge Middle/High School failed at least one course in 2015;
- 19 percent of students at Southbridge Middle/High School were suspended at least once in 2015;
- The needs of English language learners were not being met, and the district was out of compliance with regulations regarding English language learners; and
- The district has had seven superintendents and seven high school principals since 2011.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a forum from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, January 25, 2016 to hear from the Southbridge community as the Board considers whether to designate Southbridge a Level 5 district. The meeting will be held in the Cole Avenue Auditorium, 25 Cole Ave., Southbridge. The Board's primary goal is to hear from Southbridge parents, teachers, residents, and officials. Individuals who would like to speak should sign in when they arrive and will be given three minutes to speak within the time allotted. Southbridge community members will be given priority. Translation services will be provided for individuals who wish to address the Board in Spanish. People may also submit written comments in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or at the meeting. Individuals who submit written comments at the meeting are asked to provide 15 copies if possible.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education may discuss Southbridge at their January 26, 2016, meeting but their vote on whether to designate Southbridge Public Schools a Level 5 district will likely come at the Board's February 23 regular meeting.
Southbridge Recommendation Signed Memo
Flyer for Southbridge Public Meeting (English)
Flyer for Southbridge Public Meeting (Spanish)