We are proud and appreciative of the significant efforts undertaken during the 2015-16 school year to support our students on their pathway to college and/or career success. Although we still have extensive work to do to ensure an excellent education for every student, we have many accomplishments to celebrate.
High Quality Teaching and Learning
We’ve invested in recruiting and retaining top quality educators who inspire bold thinking, recognize student potential, and encourage all students to work towards their goals. The full school day increases time for teacher planning and development. New curriculum materials in math and ELA along with a laptop for each teacher will support engaging instruction.
Enrichment for Every Student
At HPS we have doubled enrichment opportunities each week to engage and inspire students. Our elementary schools have worked hard to implement a longer, fuller day for our students that includes more enrichment and academic time for children and additional planning and professional learning time for staff. The enrichment block across our schools is an opportunity for students to explore their interests and develop their social emotional skills. Some schools are providing opportunities such as video game design, cartooning, yearbook, yoga, sewing, Spanish, and band. Other schools, are partnering with local and national organizations to offer activities like swimming, theater, outdoor adventure and hip-hop dance. These offerings have been possible through innovative planning and scheduling by the staff at our schools.
Access to Technology
Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, scientists, researchers and programmers. Through new technology and online programs, we’re connecting students with the opportunities that await them beyond high school. Holyoke Codes has expanded their computer science and technology workshops for students in the Holyoke Public Schools. This year all eighth-grade students are included in the experience, engaging in robotics projects. Last year, the program consisted of a seven-week hands-on coding experience that was available to the nearly 400, seventh-grade students in the district.
Improved High School Experience for All
HPS’ redesigned high school experience focuses on providing real-world learning opportunities for every student. We have launched our freshmen academy at Holyoke High School, a more nurturing and student centered experience that provides the opportunity for students to explore a range of college and career pathways. Specifically, 9th graders have the option of attending Dean Technical High School to explore its shops for a semester.
In 10th-12th grade, students focus on their interests and develop plans for success beyond HPS. It is important that our students understand the range of learning paths that are available to them as high school students. We have expanded our dual enrollment offerings to more juniors and seniors – we have five times as many students enrolled in at least one college credit bearing course than we did at the same time last year. We plan on growing these opportunities for our students and are grateful to the institutions that have supported this work- HCC, UMASS, Westfield State and STCC. We’ve quadrupled the number of college courses HPS high school students can access on and off campus through partnerships with HCC, Westfield State and UMass.
We welcome and support overaged and under credited students back to school with new pathways to the diploma.
Expansion of Choice Programs
At HPS, we understand that each student has different strengths and interests. We’ve expanded choice programs, including dual language immersion, and P3, a personalized learning program for middle school students at Peck; to ensure that every student has a chance to explore their interests. Free Preschool programs are now in every neighborhood school and boast family friendly scheduling options.