SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB)– Springfield schools are celebrating their best MCAS test scores in years. Students tested higher than the state average. Seven Springfield schools saw improvement in state MCAS accountability levels, including Zanetii, Homer, Gerena, Beal, Freedman, Glenwood, and Harris schools. Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick says teachers and staff are putting their strategic plan to good use.
“We’re just so proud of the work of the staff and the schools that are working so hard everyday,” Warwick said. “They are huge improvements because the entire state was flat again.”
Between 2012 and 2013, Springfield schools gained significant points in math, science, and english language arts, trampling state averages. Zanetii school led the way: their MACS accountability level soared from level four to level one. School Committee Vice-Chair Peter Murphy has three kids at Zanetti. He says the plan is rigorous: school days are one hour longer, students are tested all year long, and extra tutoring is provided, all with the help of parents.
“They also ask the parents to give at least two hours per semester per half year in volunteer work and a lot of parents are doing that so parents become stake holders in the turnaround of the school,” Murphy said.
Now Warwick says that same work needs to be done at Brunton, Milton Bradley, and Sci-Tech schools. Those three schools’ MCAS accountability levels each went down one level, so they will now get state grants for their needs.
“We’re going to do work like we did at Zanetti and Homer,” Warwick said. “We’re going to start with putting a team together to put together a redesign plan.”
Warwick says with poverty rates at almost 90% in some schools, challenges remain. However, with more pluses than minuses this year, he guarantees the city is headed in the right direction. Truancy, suspension, and student arrests numbers were all down between 2012 and 2013, as well.