15 Massachusetts Schools Honored for Improvement- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 14, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo 781-338-3105

15 Massachusetts Schools Honored for Improvement

MALDEN - Fifteen schools from across Massachusetts have been selected to serve as Compass Schools for the next academic year, an honor given to schools which have instituted school-wide improvement initiatives and where students have shown significant improvement on the MCAS exams.

The purpose of the Compass Schools program is to recognize and celebrate improvement, to disseminate information, and to encourage networking and sharing of good ideas and effective practices among schools.

Each school will receive $10,000 for participation in the program, to be used to pay for the preparation of materials for the conference in October, and to cover the cost of the hosting on-site information sharing events in the spring.

Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll congratulated the students, teachers, administrators and parents in these schools, and said that their planning and performance serves as a model for others.

"We are seeing improvement in schools around Massachusetts, but in many cases it has been steady, but slow. These 15 schools were able to show dramatic improvement in a short amount of time, and that is something to be celebrated," he said. "It is my hope that we can now share their stories, ideas and plans with other schools to help facilitate improvement in classrooms across the state."

The schools selected to serve as Compass Schools for the 2002-2003 school year include six high schools, two middle schools and seven elementary schools.

The six high schools are Brighton High School, Boston, Brockton High School, Brockton, East Bridgewater High School, East Bridgewater, Methuen High School, Methuen, Somerset High School, Somerset and Uxbridge High School, Uxbridge. The two middle schools are Fuller Middle School, Framingham and the Veterans Memorial Middle School, Melrose. The seven elementary schools are the Richard J. Murphy School, Boston, the Frank M. Sokolowski School, Chelsea, the Cobbet Elementary School, Lynn, the Clyde Brown Elementary School, Millis, the Bentley School, Salem, the Balliett Elementary School, Springfield and the Norrback Avenue School, Worcester.

This spring 175 schools were invited to apply to the program, based on improvement in student performance on the MCAS tests in English Language Arts and mathematics. In all, 84 schools submitted applications in which they described improvement initiatives implemented over the past four years that had the most positive impact on student achievement.

Eighteen finalists were selected, and from that pool, the 15 Compass Schools were chosen.

Panel review teams visited each of the finalist schools to select the Compass Schools. Schools were selected based on criteria including improvement of the school’s overall performance on the English and math MCAS exam since testing began in 1998, the quality of their application and the findings of the panel review on-site visits.

Schools were selected from a variety of performance categories and from different geographic regions of the state. Schools also needed to show that they had stable demographics and consistent participation rates on the MCAS tests to be considered.

As part of the selection process, on-site teams had to answer two main questions about each candidate: Is this school using effective improvement initiatives that could be replicated in other similarly profiled schools? Are the conditions in place for this school to serve as a model of effective practices and successful improvement initiatives?

The 15 schools will be honored at a State House ceremony in September. The Department of Education will prepare a publication profiling the schools and summarizing their efforts, and in October will hold a conference to highlight the 15 schools and their improvement strategies.

There were 14 Compass Schools selected in the first year of the program in 2001.

For more information on the Compass Schools program, visit the Department of Education Web site.

Last Updated: June 14, 2002

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