Governor Takes Notice Of Improvements At Holyoke High

Governor Charlie Baker and Security Jim Peyser visit Holyoke High.


On Friday, October 4th, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker visited Holyoke High School, accompanied by Education Secretary Jim Peyser.

Baker and Peyser were shown around the building  while discussing a new feature Holyoke High has to offer incoming students, the Freshman Academy. The Freshman Academy was put into action for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, hoping to make the transition from middle school to high school smoother and less intimidating. On the tour of the school, Baker and Peyser were able to actually observe two classrooms, Rooms 220 and 222, which are both parts of the Freshman Academy.

Following the campus tour and observations, the two men, along with many other officials including Holyoke High Principal Steven Sullivan, Mayor Alex Morse, Receiver Steven Zrike, and Senator Donald Humason, were brought into the Shelvin Studio to discuss what steps Holyoke High and Dean Tech have taken to turn the schools around.

After being taken into state receivership in response to being labeled “underperforming,” Holyoke High has implicated a redesign plan, attempting to enhance education for all students and create a clear pathway for a career and/or college education. This plan, starting with the Freshman Academy that was debriefed on the tour, was thoroughly discussed and had reported progress.

Second to the Freshman Academy, the next point mentioned was the Dual Enrollment program at both Holyoke High School and Dean Technical High School. Jack Courchesne ‘17, Jasmin Rodriguez ‘17, and Darian Gonzalez ‘17, were in attendance at the meeting, advocating for the success of this program and the amazing opportunities it has offered them.

Jack Courchesne, on the same topic, told The Herald, “UMass is giving me credit for taking a course, which will benefit me financially and [the course of enrollment] will help me with my writing for the future.”

charliebakerSince last year, there has been a tremendous increase in students enrolled at colleges such as Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst. Taking dual enrollment classes like these students have done is a giant step towards college readiness and career paths for students, which is exactly what the redesign plan is attempting to do.

In addition to the Freshman Academy and Dual Enrollment, the conversation led into how Dean Tech and Holyoke High are collaborating together to make the high school experience for a Holyoke student more beneficial. The two high schools, starting this year, have aligned together to create similar standards and guidelines or each of the schools.

Along with the new alignment, the high schools also opened opportunities for students to participate in education, sports, and extracurricular activities. An example of this is the Freshman Exploratory Program, which offers freshman the option of taking classes at Dean Tech to find out if a certain career path is for them. This has assisted many students in finding out what path they would like to pursue after high school, which is the ultimate goal of the Redesign Plan implicated this year.