Dear Parent or Guardian:
This letter is being sent to all Winter Hill Community School parents and guardians as required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), to notify families of the School and District performance. Under No Child Left Behind, when schools' English Language Arts (ELA) and math testing results do not improve quickly enough, the schools and the District are assigned an "accountability status." The Somerville School District has now been identified for Corrective Action (Preliminary) for certain student subgroups. We are very pleased to report the Preliminary MCAS results show that the Winter Hill Community School had improvements in both ELA and Math this past year and reached its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) target in ELA. However, because of past performance, the Winter Hill Community School has been Identified for Restructuring (Year 1) for English Language Arts and Restructuring (Year 2) in Math. This designation sets forth certain requirements for improvement planning and support.
Somerville's school and District improvement planning is taking place in response to the NCLB designation and the need to increase MCAS proficiency at all grade levels. These program improvements include the following:
The involvement of families as full partners in the education of their children is a cornerstone of the Somerville Public Schools philosophy and of NCLB. When families support learning, children are more successful in school and school success helps children become successful adults. We encourage you to be involved in helping us improve our schools. Some of the ways you can become involved includes attending parent-teacher meetings and serving as a volunteer in the school or District. For more information on participating in the school improvement process, contact Principal Stephen Tucelli at 617-625-6600, ext. 6750. Parents also have the right to know about their child's teacher qualifications. Mr. Tucelli may be contacted for this information, as well.
- The School Committee is engaged in a comprehensive, strategic, planning process that assures close coordination of our school improvement efforts and efficient use of District resources to meet student learning goals.
- The implementation of a strategic, K - 12 Literacy Plan aimed at improving reading at all grade levels. This is being funded through the targeted use of district and federal grant funds, providing teachers with extensive training and coaching opportunities as well as new curriculum resources for teachers to use with their students.
- Across the District, we are providing additional after-school tutoring and homework help for students needing more support. Somerville's designation as a Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Provider last fall was led by our After School Curriculum Coordinator who directed a program that tutored over 200 students who previously had not benefitted from this type of enrichment opportunity.
- Teachers are making increasingly systematic use of student assessment data to make decisions about how to meet individual students' needs. We are providing faculty with dedicated time to meet and plan together to make improve instruction for all students. A new assessment system (MAP) was recently implemented, allowing teachers to track student progress over the course of the school year.
- Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs), comprised of principals and teachers at each elementary school, are in place at each school. Data analysis and interpretation of student achievement information are guided by the ILTs, who collaborate with the principal to set school professional development goals.
- At Somerville High School, all faculty members are engaged in the comprehensive review of the school's academic program as part of their reaccreditation process.
Because the Winter Hill Community School did not reach its adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals as determined by NCLB, federal law allows you several options. The first is that you may request a transfer of your child to another Somerville school, not identified for improvement, on a space available basis. The only school in the Somerville not identified for improvement is the Brown School, a K - 6 school, which is fully enrolled. As you may know, the transfer option has been available to parents for a number of years through the District's Controlled Choice program. If you wish to pursue a placement change, please contact the Parent Information Center (PIC) at 617-625-6600, x6962. The law also allows you to request a transfer to a school not identified for improvement outside of Somerville, also on a space available basis. My office has been in contact with several neighboring districts and can provide you with that information should you wish to pursue this.
The second option is the availability of "Supplemental Educational Services" or free tutoring for some eligible students. If your child is eligible for these free tutoring services, you will receive a letter in the next several weeks informing you of this option.
Detailed information about MCAS results for the Somerville Public Schools are published at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website at: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/general.aspx?topNavId=1&orgcode=02740000&orgtypecode=5&.
I strongly encourage every parent and guardian to review the extensive data provided at the site. The data make clear the challenges that lay ahead as we work together to improve student learning in Somerville. The Somerville Schools are committed to continuous improvement and to reaching the proficiency goals set forth by NCLB.
Tony Pierantozzi, Superintendent of Schools