Creating Connections - March 4, 2016

A weekly message from Interim Superintendent Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues

March 4, 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 10

Superintendent's Message

This week I attended, for the first time, a JROTC Inspection ceremony. I did not know what to expect when North High School Principal, Lisa Dyer, invited me to attend the ceremony. I sat next to family members, totally mesmerized by the ceremony and by our students’ performance and the outstanding rendition of the National Anthem by Seniors Miqueas Rodriguez and Sabrina Martino.


Naval Commander Jimmie Miller, who spent the day at North High School overseeing the inspection process, repeatedly remarked about the outstanding performance of each group and commented on how impressed he was with the level of preparation of the 101 JROTC students.

An overwhelming sense of honor, pride, and citizenship permeated the gym and the JROTC students’ facial expressions were priceless as they confidently and tenaciously focused on the task at hand.

Prior to the ceremony, Principal Dyer and I visited a number of classrooms where I witnessed great classroom discussions, student attentiveness and engagement, all in a tranquil and orderly environment.

Congratulations to the North High School community and a special recognition to Senior Naval Instructor Ricky Bland and Chief Tony Pastrana for the remarkable preparation for the Inspection.

View Anchors Aweigh: Special edition - The Annual Military Inspection.

Celebrations and Updates

Google Expeditions

students on Google Expeditions

On Friday, students at Canterbury Street School experienced “virtual field trips” with Google Expeditions. These "expeditions" are guided tours of places school busses can’t go and are comprised of virtual reality panoramas lead by a teacher. Through this special program, students were able to get up close and personal with the pyramids in Egypt, climb Mount Everest, and tour the most famous monuments in the United States! Students were given Google Cardboard glasses to use on their trips. Julie Keefe, the WPS Curriculum, Professional Learning & Technology Liaison, nominated the school for the Pioneer Program.

WEDF 2016 Dr. Lee Gurel Award Recipients Announced

Jim Donnelly and Alicea Ireland The Board of Directors of the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. (WEDF) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Dr. Lee Gurel Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Advanced Placement English. One student and his/her teacher is selected annually to receive these awards, endowed by Dr. Lee Gurel in honor of Miss Wilmont, his English teacher at Woodland Street Preparatory School. This year’s recipient is South High Community School student Alicia Ireland and her teacher James Donnelly. Miss Ireland achieved the highest-ranking score on her Advanced Placement English examination.

WEDF Funds Parent and Community Engagement Grants

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. (WEDF) announced more than $8,500 in grants for parent and community engagement programs in the WPS. The awards will be presented on March 22th. View complete list of grant winners.

Read Across America

Read Across America

Students across the district celebrated Read Across America day with special events throughout each classroom.  The Cat in the Hat even visited Midland Street School where the entire staff sported "Thing 1 or Thing 2" shirts. Every classroom also hosted a guest reader. The younger students (K-2) completed several "Dr. Seuss" literacy activities during the day. All across Worcester, city officials and other professionals had a great time reading to students. Thanks to all who made the day such a memorable experience for our kids.

Burncoat Dance Team

Burncoat Dance Team

Congratulations to the Burncoat Dance Team who finished 1st at the MSSAA Dance Team Tournament this past weekend at Needham High School. The school won their second straight title and the team's third.  The JV squad finished 2nd. The team qualified for the all New England tournament, which takes place this weekend at Braintree High School. They will compete in the Jazz and Hip Hop divisions.

Did you know...

Did you know that:

  • We have over 380 involved with JROTC within the Worcester Public Schools?

Upcoming Week's Events

WPS Art Teacher Show

Thirty-two Worcester Public School Art Teachers will host their annual art show titled, “Surface:  64 Variations on a Theme” at the Sprinkler Factory on Saturday.  Teachers set up the show throughout the week and Telegram and Gazette reporter Richard Duckett interviewed the teachers for a preview story. According to Visual Arts Liaison, Timmary Leary, the show is a wonderful opportunity for art teachers to share their thoughtful consideration on a central theme. These artists and designers investigated the concept of surface through the lens of performance, painting, printmaking, design, mixed media and sculpture. The show reveals the dual nature of the life of an art teacher:  balancing the art of teaching with the practice of being an artist or designer.

Superintendent Search

Monday, March 7th – School committee will interview the candidates, in the City Council Chamber, in following order:

5pm - Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
6pm - Dr. Kerry E. Mulcahey
7pm - Mrs. Maureen F. Binienda
8pm - Dr. Karrie J. Allen

Wednesday, March 9th – Meet and greet reception for candidates from 5-7pm in the cafeteria of Doherty Memorial High School. This reception is open to the public.

View more information on the Superintendent Search.

WPS Science and Engineering Fair

The WPS Science and Engineering Fair will be held on Thursday, March 10th, at the EcoTarium. Grades 5 and 6 will exhibit in the Auditorium and grades 7-12 will exhibit in the Planetarium.  A public showing of the projects will take place from 5:30-6:30pm.  Awards will begin at 6:30pm. Pizza and bottled water will be sold ($1.50 each) from 5:30 to 6:15pm.  

Students’ Visual Arts Magnet Show

Students from the Burncoat Magnet Visual Arts Program continue to collaborate and create by pushing boundaries of imagination and ingenuity. By exploring multiple mediums, these young artists have interpreted many manifestations of the color blue. Students from the Visual Arts Magnet, Worcester Arts Magnet, Burncoat Middle  School and Burncoat High School will hold an opening reception of their show titled, Blue, on March 10th from 5:30pm-6:30pm on the first floor of City Hall. The show will remain open for public viewing from March 8 – March 29.

Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters will be at the DCU Center during the month of March. One of the players, Wun “The Shot” Versher will visit McGrath Elementary School on Tuesday, March 8th, at 12:45pm. His 40 minute presentation will focus on bullying prevention and he will also perform a few basketball plays!

CPPAC Meeting

The next CPPAC meeting is Wednesday, March 9th, 7-8:30pm, at Worcester Public Library’s main branch, Saxe Room. Our guest presenters for this meeting are:

  • Brian Allen, WPS CFO to Review the WPS Budget Fiscal Year 2017
  • State Senators Chandler and Moore and State Representative Donahue to discuss the Chapter 70 Funding & State Budget FY2017