News Of Tewksbury Schools 'Downgrade' Premature and Inaccurate
O'Connor receives word that the Tewksbury Public Schools will not be downgraded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
With apologies to Mark Twain, news of the Tewksbury Public Schools' demise has been greatly exaggerated.
Contrary to published reports from earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE) will not be downgrading the school department from Level 2 to Level 3 status due to poor MCAS exam schools in recent years.
On the contrary, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor told the School Committee at its meeting on Wednesday, that he had just received preliminary notification from MDESE that the Tewksbury School District would remain at Level 2.
MDESE grades individual schools and school districts on a 1 to 5 basis with 1 being schools that need the least oversight and improvement to reach MCAS goals and 5 being the schools that need the greatest oversight and improvement.
"Two years ago, when I got here, I came into a Level 3 District, " said O'Connor. "Last year we were Level 2 and this year we are at Level 2."
O'Connor told the committee that back in June, he had received a memo from MDESE, giving him a 'heads-up' that the district "might" be downgraded to Level 3, depending on the district's 2012 MCAS results, which had not yet been factored in or event calculated. According to O'Connor, the preliminary notification was given to give the district time to allocate their Title 1 funds accordingly.
However, the 2012 MCAS results (released this week) were positive for Tewksbury and pushed the district solidly into Level 2 status, said O'Connor.
"I believe that these MCAS results tell us that as a district, we've made some significant gains," he said.
Earlier in the evening, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patty Lally went over the general MCAS results for Tewksbury and indicated that the district had outperformed the state average in most areas.