District Success: Chicopee, MA Chicopee School District
The City of Chicopee's location at the crossing of the Chicopee and Connecticut Rivers in Western, MA gave it a natural advantage over many other potential development sites in western New England. For over 150 years the rivers provided power and transportation opportunities not available in many other communities. As the industrial revolution waned, Interstate Routes 90 and 91 were built and have become the commercial corridor for all of New England. Both these interstates run through Chicopee and are easily accessible. The City of Chicopee is also home to Westover Air Reserve Base, the largest air reserve base in the United States. The Chicopee School District has over 7800 students in preK-12 educated in 1 Early childhood Center, 9 Elementary Schools, 2 Middle Schools, 2 High Schools and 1 Alternative School. 65% of the students are low-income.
It is the mission of the Chicopee Public Schools to maintain high standards and expectations for all students by involving teachers, parents, and community in the education of its students. Central to its mission to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and values they will need to lead meaningful lives is a commitment to the professional development of its teaching staff. Recent state wide regulations approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education require K12 School Districts to implement a comprehensive educator evaluation system, the common core for learning, rigorous state curriculum frameworks, and a comprehensive student assessment system. These regulations dictate what processes and criteria will be used by K12 School Districts to evaluate teachers and implement programs for personal improvements. Meeting state mandated implementation deadlines in addition to supporting a number of other strategic initiatives required the school district to seek expert outside assistance to ensure its compliance with its mission and state mandated regulations.
The Ribas Associates Solution
Consultants from Ribas Associates and Publications have been working closely with Chicopee's teachers and administrators to improve teaching and learning and ensure that all state mandated educator evaluation activities are being implemented in a highly effective manner. The engagement with Ribas Associates has resulted in the following that have resulted in higher student achievement:
- a group of 38 teacher trainers have been trained to teach and coach all teachers to:
- create comprehensive selfassessments, professional development plans
- use artifacts, student assessment data, and other evidence points to assess and improve their performance
- evaluators have learned to do in-depth lesson observations and provide effective verbal and written feedback that increases teacher and administrator effectiveness
- evaluators have learned to use artifacts, student assessment data, and 20 other evidence points to assess teacher and administrator effectiveness
- a group of educator trainers and implementation leaders have been trained at each building to facilitate the implementation of an online performance management system
- evaluators have learned to effectively evaluate to improvement (or removal if improvement isn't forth coming) underperforming educators including developing improvement and direct growth plans, objectively assessing and documenting progress, issuing progressive discipline when needed
- under the facilitation of a Ribas Associates interest based bargaining expert, the union and administration have agreed upon a comprehensive system of educator evaluation
Reference: Mr. Richard Rege, Superintendent 413-594-3410