In April 2015, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to designate the Holyoke Public Schools chronically underperforming (Level 5), placing the district in state receivership. In July 2015, by appointment of Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Stephen Zrike became the Receiver of the Holyoke Public Schools. The receivership provides the opportunity for a significant, sustained district turnaround in Holyoke.
At the core of this plan is the firm belief that all Holyoke students deserve a world-class education. For too long, many Holyoke students have not received a high-quality education or were allowed to fail. With this plan, we will raise the bar, improve the instruction and services we offer, and provide students with the skills and tools they need to be successful in school now, and later in college and their careers.
Central to the turnaround plan are the educators who are charged with transforming the district from one of low performance to one in which student achievement is consistently strong. Job one is ensuring that we employ an effective teacher in every classroom and that effective administrators lead our schools. To accomplish this, the district will implement strategies to retain high-performing staff and to recruit new talent to Holyoke, to ensure that all students receive strong instruction, interventions, and supports in every classroom, every day.
Throughout the plan, we focus on the following critical action steps to implement Holyoke’s turnaround:
- Build on what is working and fix what is not working
- Empower staff to make decisions while holding them accountable for results
- Extend time to increase learning opportunities, for both students and staff
- Provide students with individualized college and/or career plans and multiple pathways to reach their full potential
- Invest partners’ knowledge and skills strategically
- Engage families as active partners, repairing relationships and building trust in the district