Worcester EAW demands raises at school board meeting

WORCESTER — The echoes of members of the Worcester Educational Association marching and singing intensified as they ascended the stairs of Town Hall minutes before the start of the school committee meeting on Thursday evening.

With nearly 40 members holding signs, some, including paraeducators and a teacher, took turns speaking to the committee, advocating for a salary increase.

“All of our contracts are under negotiation and we believe the district needs to provide more counter proposals,” union president Melissa Verdier said. “In particular, the paras are looking for a living wage.”

She said the group currently has no strike plans.

Members of the school committee did not comment on the state of the negotiations, which was not on the agenda.

MCAS results explored

Following feedback from union members, Deputy Superintendent Marie Morse and Director of School and Student Performance Marco Andrade detailed some of the findings of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System Accountability Report.

The report compared results from the past three years of testing – 2019, 2021 and 2022 – at the district and state level and also presented results for English language learners, students with disabilities and students of race and ethnicity. different socio-economic status.

The report showed that the percentage of Worcester students in all grades meeting or exceeding expectations in English and language arts in 2022 was lower than in the rest of the state.

According to the report, 5% of English language learners met or exceeded expectations in English and language arts in 2022, similar to the previous year, but still below the pre-pandemic level of 2019 (11%). Grade 10 English learners also saw a slight increase in 2022 to 4%, from 1% in 2019 and 2% in 2021.

It also found that the “rebound” expected by school officials after students return for a full year of in-person instruction was “not realized” for English and language arts, as 27 % of all students in grades three through eight and 39% of all students in grade 10 in the district met or exceeded expectations.

For students in grades three through eight, this marked a drop of one percentage point from 2021 and a drop of 10 percentage points from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 10th year, the decline was three percentage points between 2021 and 2019.

Math scores rebound

For students in grades three through eight in the district, there was a “rebound” in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in math to 23%, up from 15% in 2021 but still below 31% in 2019.

The proportion of 10th graders meeting or exceeding math expectations remained relatively stable at 27% in 2022, one percentage point lower than the previous year. In 2019, 36% of Grade 10 students met or exceeded expectations.

For all students, math scores were below the state average, but similar to other urban school districts such as Boston, Lowell, and Springfield.

For English language learners and students with disabilities in grades three through eight, the proportion of students meeting or exceeding math expectations increased slightly from 2021 while remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

The share of English language learners meeting or exceeding expectations increased from 3% in 2021 to 6% in 2022, compared to 10% in 2019. For students with disabilities, it was 4% in 2022, compared to 2% in 2021 but down from 2021. 6% in 2019.

Tenth grade English learners saw no change between 2021 and 2022 (1%), but lower numbers than in 2019 (4%).

Morse outlined steps the district plans to take to address the issues, including emphasizing writing for all grade levels in the district, adopting a new elementary English and language arts curriculum, language and providing feedback and coaching to teachers and staff.

School Liaison Officers

Superintendent Rachel H. Monárrez said the School Safety Task Force is seeking to clarify what School Liaison Officers “can and cannot do” in terms of the state’s model memorandum of understanding for school resource officers.

“The task force, when we met last week, agreed that we really needed to get more clarity, as a collective, on … what this means for Worcester Public Schools with the model of ‘school liaison officer,’ she said.

She said she also met with a civil rights attorney to review the district’s draft memorandum and ensure it meets state and community expectations, and also asked Leon Smith, director Executive of the Center for Juvenile Justice, to come and discuss the memorandum with the Committee.

Monárrez previously said she aimed to bring a final version of the document to Thursday’s meeting, but now aims to have it by the committee’s second meeting in November.

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