This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Literacy Program to be National Model

The U.S. Department of Education yesterday named a literacy program launched in Beverly as "one of the most innovative programs in the country," and announced that it will use the program as a model for other school districts, according to today's Salem News.

Despite the News' very misleading headline that states "Beverly literacy program given $5M from state before later informing readers that "Beverly will not receive any of the $5 million," the recognition of the program is still noteworthy.

The results of the program, titled the Data Driven School Transformation Partnership, have been impressive since it was launched in Beverly five years ago. According to the News:
"Our internal data has shown that (reading) scores have improved," [Superintendent Marie] Galinski said in an interview. "Elementary school students are coming into middle school at a higher reading level than they were three years ago."

According to the data, 78 percent of fifth-grade students read at grade level or better three years ago. Now, 87 percent do. 

Beverly pays for the program using Title 1 funds, which are funds given to a school district based on the number of free or reduced lunch students it has. 

"I am sure that the success of the program in helping to turn around our two schools and reducing the achievement gap was a major factor in the decision by the Department of Education to select DSTP as a national model," Galinski said in a statement about the grant. 
Out of nearly 1,700  proposals that were submitted, the program, developed by the Bay State Reading Institute, was one of only 49 selected.