2018-19 SY District Accomplishments
The highest graduation rate on record.
72 percent, a 20-point increase from five years ago, with significant increases for students who are English Learners and students with disabilities. We are also excited to celebrate 10 students who are the first in Holyoke to receive the Seal of Biliteracy, a certificate earned by students who have attained proficiency in English and at least one additional language and also serves as an attractive credential for colleges and employers.
Increased student performance in Reading and Mathematics.
Although we do not have the MCAS results in yet, we see progress in our STAR assessments, which measure foundational reading and numeracy progress relative to standards. We experienced 5 and 3 percentage point increases in students (grades 2-8) scoring at the 50th percentile from the beginning of the year to the end of the year in math and reading, respectively. Since the target for the 50th percentile continues to increase as the year goes on, these increases represent solid gains. Our youngest learners (grades K-1) had a 33-point increase in early literacy performance, making evident our teachers are being more successful than ever before in building a firm educational foundation.
Increased family connections with school.
On the culture and climate survey, 80% of families reported that the school provides programming and opportunities to learn how to support children’s learning at home at least every few months. 59% of families indicate that they communicate with their child’s teacher about their child’s progress at least monthly. This is supported by all schools having at least two events focused on these topics, many parents welcoming teachers into their homes for visits, and partners and parents working together to have a fantastic Math carnival. Thank you so much for being active participants in our children’s education, and please continue to let us know the ways in which we can best connect with families.
High interest and highly in-demand pathways.
We are working to create “a pathway for every student.” Although a pathway doesn’t need to be a special program, it can be. Demand for the dual language program was so strong this year that we are expanding it by 40 percent next year by adding grade 5 at Metcalf and grade 2 at E.N. White, as well as adding two more preschool dual language classes. We have open seats for students in three middle school programs: Summit Learning at Peck, Veritas Prep Holyoke, and Holyoke STEM Academy. And, at the high school level, 221 students participated in dual enrollment and/or early college program, primarily through HCC and Westfield State. Our four theme-based academies at the high school have been well received, as students indicate a greater connection between their coursework and their passions; the academies will expand into 11th grade next Fall. We appreciate our parents and partners who have offered insight and been vocal advocates for expanding options for our young people.
Stronger relationship building between students and staff.
Students in grades 3-5 especially felt this connection, with more students feeling that their teachers encourage them to do their best (4-pt. increase to 87 percent) and really are interested in how they are doing (4-pt. increase to 72 percent) and a 14-pt. increase in teachers feeling the relationships between teachers and students are respectful. We know this feeling of belonging and connectedness is based on a thousand small efforts. Our students notice and appreciate when a teacher greets them at the classroom door each morning, asks them about their day, listen to a story about their family or attends their soccer game.
More positivity and optimism by teachers and staff.
Employees report feeling more optimistic their school will improve in the future (14-pt. increase by teachers to 63%, 8-pt. increase by non-teaching staff to 67%) and that their work environment is positive (12-pts. by teachers, 11-pts. by staff). This is connected to staff feeling that their school leader has a strong vision for the school, and staff seeing the impact they are having on individual students. While we know this can vary significantly across schools, we will work to learn from the schools where staff are more engaged in improvement efforts in order to better support staff and students in all schools.
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.