About Middle School Redesign
Middle school students deserve experiences, tailored to their developmental stage, as they progress from elementary school towards high school. We are enhancing the middle school experience for all middle school students by offering more enrichment programming, designed to strengthen their academic and social-emotional skills and engage them more deeply in school. Middle school students have more access to extracurricular sports, arts, and music than ever before.
We have also introduced new middle school models. In fall 2016, we piloted and then expanded Summit Learning at Peck, a personalized learning program based off the Summit Schools model in California. In fall 2018, we also opened two new middle school options by co-locating with existing schools. Holyoke STEM Academy was a theme selected due to community interest and alignment to the high school linked learning academies, and Veritas Prep Holyoke is modeled after a top-performing school in Springfield. And, by Fall 2020, our dual language program is expanding to 6th grade and keep on growing!
Proposed Middle School Buildings
We greatly appreciate the citizens of Holyoke who thoughtfully considered the November 2019 ballot question about the proposed middle school buildings. While the results are disappointing, we will continue to work closely with the Building Committee, MSBA, and the public to explore opportunities to realize the educational vision of the Holyoke Public Schools.
Given the strong community desire for distinct elementary and middle schools, we are still moving towards an elementary and middle school model. We will have 5-8 elementary schools and 2-3 middle schools. We will go through a community discussion and process to gather input.
On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, the Holyoke contingent of Mayor Alex Morse, Receiver/ Superintendent Stephen Zrike, Representative Aaron Vega, School Building Committee Chairperson Devin Sheehan, and School Building Committee Member and City Councilor Mike Sullivan met with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to discuss next steps following the unsuccessful November 5th vote for a debt exclusion to fund the City of Holyoke’s share of the proposed two new middle school buildings. We strongly advocated that the MSBA allow Holyoke to explore other options for the middle school buildings project, which would significantly contribute to an improved middle school experience for our students. Read the press statement that contains more information about this meeting and the next steps in this process.
- NEW: Press Release: Joint Statement from Mayor Alex Morse & Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike Regarding MSBA Meeting
- NEW: Press Release: Official Update on Holyoke Middle Schools Project
- NEW: Holyoke voters reject middle schools project
- 10-30-19 Long FAQ Written for School Committee
- 10-29-19 Did You Know? – Questions and Facts – 1 pager (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- 10-25-19 Did You Know – Questions and Facts – 2 pager (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- 10-18-19 Press Release DESE Commissioner Riley Affirms $1 million Commitment from HPS for Middle School Buildings Project (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- 10-17-19 Letter from DESE Commissioner Riley Affirming $1 million Commitment from HPS for Middle School Buildings Project (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- 10-9-19 Letter to Commissioner Riley: The Holyoke Public Schools’ Financial Contribution to the City of Holyoke for Two New Middle Schools (PDF)
- 10-7-19 Dr Zrike’s Op-Ed: Two new middle schools just makes sense for Holyoke (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions 10-7-2019 (PDF) | En Español (PDF)
- PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Zrike and Mayor Morse on the Middle School Building Proposal from 10-7-19 (PDF) | PowerPoint presentation of discussion with the Holyoke Taxpayers Association (En Español PDF)
- Press Release 9-18-19 from Mayor Morse Holyoke Releases Updated Financial Projections for Middle Schools Project
- PowerPoint presentation from the May 25th meeting (PDF) En Español (PDF)
- Proposed Holyoke Middle Schools Powerpoint 2/2019
- Letter from Dr. Zrike about the future of school facilities.
Middle School Redesign
Proposed New Middle School Buildings Videos
Get an overview of the process, plans, financing, and city council meeting.
Peck School Existing Conditions
There has been a lot of talk about the current state of Holyoke middle school buildings. Watch this video for an insider’s look at the Peck school building.
Holyoke Middle School Building Project Goals Background and Process
Holyoke Middle School Building Project: Cost, Funding and Project Schedule
More videos on this topic are available in the video library for background information.