Secondary Redesign Team Meeting Run Down

The secondary redesign team in Holyoke gathered on December 13th to hold a meeting discussing various ideas on how to make Holyoke High and Dean Tech more efficient and successful schools.

On Tuesday, December 13th, the secondary redesign committee met with members of the community to discuss and share their learnings from their travels to other schools around the country, such as schools in Chicago, South Carolina, and California. Many ideas were talked about; however, please keep in mind that ideas are in no way set changes.

Panelists included teachers, parents, guidance counselors and other community members. While at the meeting, the committee was asked questions by parent moderator, Mrs. Patty Lubold. Many of the schools visited by the panelists were selective (in that they have an application process); however, the schools all support populations similar to that of Holyoke High School, and are therefore being looked at as a reference. This does not mean that Holyoke High School and Dean Technical High School will become selective. Still, there was talk of making certain trades at the different high schools to be applied for and separated.

Many other suggestions were made from the panelists’ experiences at their schools.

Mrs. Gloria Urbina visited a school that was entirely bilingual, saying, “Children were not only taught to speak Spanish… they were taught science in Spanish.”

Mr. Bob Frye spoke of how the school he visited in South Carolina students followed an individual learning plan. This allowed students to take a pretest on a chapter and if they did well, they could move forward, and if not, they would spend more time with the teacher to better understand the subject.

Similarly, Ward Seven School Committee Member Nyles Courchesne, who has toured both high schools in Holyoke, mentioned how, due to Holyoke Community College’s dual enrollment opportunities, that the school pushed its students to take advantage of these opportunities and graduate high school with at least a year worth of college classes under their belt.

Many other community members spoke about their concerns such as how changes would affect the special education program, as well as other programs. At the end, those who did not speak during the meeting, had a chance to meet with the panelists one-on-one and ask Principal Sullivan and District Receiver Dr. Zrike questions about their hopes for the future of the schools.