PRESS RELEASE – Back to school at Holyoke Public Schools – What’s new for 2017-18?

PRESS RELEASE – Back to school at Holyoke Public Schools – What’s new for 2017-18?


August 23, 2017


Judy Taylor, Communications Director

(413) 493-1605,


PRESS RELEASEBack to school at Holyoke Public Schools – What’s new for 2017-18?


Holyoke, Massachusetts –The Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) is excited to begin the new school year.  August 29, 2017 marks the first day of school for students entering grades one through twelve, and Pre-K and Kindergarten students begin on September 5, 2017.


The district is holding two special events for Pre-K and Kindergarten students and their families:


“This will be a year of excellence in our schools as we strengthen our efforts to deliver on our critical and urgent mission to be the 1st educational choice for Holyoke families by designing multiple pathways where all students graduate prepared to excel in college, career and community leadership,” stated Holyoke Public Schools Receiver/Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr.  “The efforts to deliver on this promise of excellence have already begun, with educators teaching students, designing curriculum and engaging in professional learning this summer!”

  • 50+ educators led summer programs, serving 25% of HPS students,
  • 75+ educators designed high school academy models, refined the ethnic studies curriculum and created content and standard-aligned assessments to monitor student learning.
  • All educators engaged in professional learning – some strengthened their cultural proficiency through embarking on the annual HPS trip to Puerto Rico; others connected with HPS families during home visits, attended math institutes, and became immersed in the Personalize Pathways Program (P3) that is available to middle school students.
  • 30+ new teachers to the profession attended a two-week induction experience.


“We are entering the year with more options and supports for students who are struggling in our schools and accelerated learning opportunities for students whose learning needs to be pushed,” stated Zrike.  “We have infused more technology, increased the number of higher education and workforce partnerships and have introduced additional tools to measure and report student and school progress throughout the year.  We continue to work with our elected and city officials to invest in new schools and upgrade the learning environment for our students.”


The district is continuing to expand and grow successful choice programs – dual language offerings and the Personalized Pathway Program (P3) – that have demonstrated strong academic outcomes and high levels of student, parent, and staff satisfaction.


“We are on the cutting edge of secondary school redesign in the Holyoke Public Schools,” stated Zrike.  “With financial support from the Barr Foundation, we have convened teachers, parents, students and community members to transform the high school experience. We are designing an experience that is individualized, tailored to student interests, and prepares students for both college and career.” The Holyoke Public Schools is launching the Opportunity Academy for students who need an off campus approach as an alternative to the large high school setting, and a Newcomer Academy for students with limited English proficiency and are new to the country. The district will also be implementing the Teach to One innovative personalized Math program for select ninth-grade students.


Finally, the Holyoke Public Schools is partnering with the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative (HSNI) on their annual, free Back to School Event. The event will take place on Saturday, August 26th from 2-6 p.m. at McNally Field, (behind the Dr. Marcella R. Kelly School, Holyoke – on the corner of Winter and Samosett Streets).  The first 1,500 school-aged children attending the event are eligible to receive a free backpack with school supplies.


Back to school information, including important dates, events, school start times, cafeteria menus and bus schedules, are posted to the district website, directly accessible at:  Families with back-to-school questions, are encouraged to contact their child’s school or call the district’s back to school hotline at 413-512-5308 on August 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th from 5-7 p.m.


If you have any questions or are interested in visiting the Holyoke Public Schools, please contact Director of Communications Judy Taylor, at 413-493-1605,



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