A Comprehensive Approach to Closing Achievement and Attainment Gaps
The Patrick-Murray Administration is hard at work on multiple fronts to increase student achievement and close persistent, unacceptable gaps among different groups of students from birth through higher education. We are implementing new strategies to increase early literacy and kindergarten readiness, and provide more of our youngest citizens with access to critically important learning and developmental opportunities. We are creating multiple success pathways to postsecondary educational and career opportunities for our students, enhancing the quality of educational and other services to students at our public institutions of higher education, and increasing partnerships among the education and workforce development sectors. We aren’t doing this work alone – it is with the support and assistance of essential partners that we are building this new architecture for public education in Massachusetts.
The Gateway Cities Education Agenda builds upon these initiatives and is setting the stage for new conversations at the local, regional, and state levels about how to provide new and vibrant educational opportunities for students. The Agenda is based on several core principles: 1) increase reading proficiency by grade 3; 2) provide comprehensive support services to students and families; 3) provide targeted assistance to our English language learners; and 4) increase career readiness for high school students. Central to these principles is the concept of individualized support to students; the one-size-fits-all system is simply not adequate to meet the diverse needs of our students. Therefore, one of the primary goals of the Agenda is to provide targeted and differentiated educational opportunities to our students so each one has the supports he or she needs to succeed.
Gateway Cities Education Agenda Grant Programs
The FY 13 state budget includes $3.5 million in new funding to support the implementation of the Agenda, and specifically the creation of new enrichment programs for middle and high school English language learners and Career Academies for our high school students. $3 million will be awarded in competitive grant funding to operate English language enrichment programs during the spring and summer to provide middle and high school students additional time to learn English, increase their engagement and confidence, and promote longer-term improvements academically and socially. The remaining $500,000 will be awarded to support planning activities for establishing Career Academies in high schools across the state. These career academies will provide high school students with important information about career opportunities earlier in their academic careers, access to internship opportunities, and exciting work-based learning and training opportunities.
Opportunity for Our Gateway Cities
These two grant programs give educators, parents and family members, community members, and local partners the opportunity to enhance existing strategies and/or implement new and innovative strategies in their respective cities. They can use their expertise and experience change the content of services provided to middle and high school English language learners and high school students who need additional academic and career support. Lastly, these grant programs give local stakeholders the chance to enhance or build significant partnerships with institutions and organizations that are equally committed to improving student achievement and attainment.
If you have any questions or need additional information about the Gateway Cities Education Agenda and the two grant programs, please visit our website at www.ma.gov/edu/gatewaycities. You can also contact me (617.979.8351, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jill Norton (email@example.com, 617.979.8357).
Thank you for your interest in this Agenda!