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Holyoke’s Morgan School Under Threat of State Control

Morgan school Holyoke pkgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –In 2010, Holyoke’s Morgan Full Service Community School was deemed a Level 4, meaning they were under performing according to state standards.

That year, Massachusetts passed the Achievement Gap Act, where tools were put in place at those schools to improve student achievement on the MCAS, and overall, within 3 years, with Level 4 schools received federal grant money to develop a turnaround plan.

Now the K-8 school is under consideration for being downgraded to a level 5. “It’s possible that the principal would be removed from the building, the union would also be removed. When that decision comes down, I’m not really sure what that means for me at some point,” stated Principal Aliza Pluta.

Morgan has made some progress, but not enough. “Over the past 3 years, our data has been inconsistent, and we have not made the progress that we need to, we are making growth, however, it’s not enough to gain the CPI points that we need to become a level 4,” she added.

One of the things Morgan is going to do to get students back on track is use a program called Fast Forward. For 30 minutes, students will work on an online program on their own, and teachers are going to compile that information so they can figure out what needs to be retaught.

Principal Pluta is also hiring reading interventionists for grades K-3, and adding 65 hours of extended professional development for teachers.

In the meantime, it’ll be a waiting game. “Now we need to have a series of conversations with the state. The commissioner needs to come to the city to talk to officials and administrators because that’s part of a legal requirement. After that he will probably be announcing it as a level 5,” said Dr. Sergio Paez, Superintendent of Holyoke Public Schools.

Morgan is the only school in Western Mass up for level 5 consideration.

Holyoke’s Dean Technical Vocational High School will remain in level 4.

Springfield’s Brookings, Brightwood and White Street Elementary Schools are just some of those also staying at level 4.


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