Holyoke Public Schools and America's Choice
A Partnership for Student Success

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is America's Choice?

America's Choice is a researched-based company that provides a coherent instructional system based on high expectations for all students.

2. Why is America's Choice in Holyoke?

America's Choice was chosen by the Massachusetts Department of Education and the Holyoke Public Schools to be their Turn-Around Partner in order to address our needs as an underperforming district.

3. What will America's Choice do in Holyoke?

America's Choice will partner with the Holyoke Public Schools with the goal of providing an attainable action plan, coaching, and support for the district and school levels to increase student achievement. The role of America's Choice is to provide a three-prong approach to address the needs of the Holyoke Public Schools. The three prongs are: District Level, School-Based, and Targeted interventions.

4. Can you explain the differences at these levels?

The District Level prong will provide NISL (National Institute of School Leadership) training for District Administration. Standards based planning will also be implemented in order to align the District's expectations with the State's. Lastly, a district-wide Literacy Campaign will be kicked off where it will be the goal for each student to read 25 books per year and principals will institute a Book of the Month. The School-Based initiatives will be focused on Grades 6-8 for the first year.

This will mean the America's Choice curriculum will be implemented at the following schools for School Year 2005-2006: Peck, Lynch, Donahue, Kelly, Sullivan, and White. The targeted interventions are Ramp-Up Math and Ramp-Up Literacy for students who fall at least two-levels behind grade level. Ramp-Up Math will occur at the 6th and 9th grade levels, and Ramp-Up Literacy will occur at the 9th grade level for School Year 2005-2006.

5. Peck and Donahue are defined as schools that will have an increased support system. Why?

Peck and Donahue schools have been declared underperforming and as a result will receive an additional 30 days of direct support from America's Choice coaches, who will work with teachers and students. A concentrated focus of modeling, facilitating, and coaching in areas of weakness defined by such assessment tools such as Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and MCAS will further help teachers to differentiate instruction with the support of America's Choice staff.

6. Will America's Choice replace our Teachers?

No, the teachers of the Holyoke Public Schools will participate in trainings, which will enable them to teach the America's Choice curriculum, specifically this year the Readers and Writers Workshop. There is only one America's Choice employee in the district whose role is to be a special assistant to the Superintendent for the implementation of the partnership. Also, there will be coaches who will provide training and support to the teachers of the Holyoke Public Schools.

7. Why do we need focused walk-thru?

The focused walk-thru will serve as an objective observation of student work and teacher instruction.

It is not meant to be evaluative, but to serve as a tool to help teachers and students to better instruct and learn.

57 Suffolk Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Phone: (413) 534-2000
Fax: (413) 534-3730