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Education in Action

Over the course of the past year, I have made weekly visits to schools to see first-hand the great work teachers and administrators are doing to make certain that all students have high-quality learning opportunities so that they are poised for a successful future.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to take this road show to see two North Brookfield Public Schools and the Leicester Primary School.

My day in North Brookfield began with a meeting of community members, including State Representative Anne Gobi; Richard Regney, North Brookfield Schools Union President, James Metcalfe, Chair of the North Brookfield school committee, Principal James Graham, and Superintendent John Provost. In our conversation, I was struck by the outpouring of collaboration and teamwork that I saw occurring in this district.  The Patrick Administration’s goal has consistently been to provide all students in the Commonwealth with the best possible schools, teachers, curriculum and opportunities they need to be successful in school, college, careers and in life. I really felt that this group of individuals understands that mission and is actively working towards helping us achieve that goal in North Brookfield.

I was able to tour the Elementary School and Jr/Sr High with Principal Evans – incredibly, both schools housed on one campus and the total student population less than 600 students. One of the things I noticed during my visit is that this small school has an immensely big heart.

The innovative elementary school displayed non-traditional classrooms and great class space. Throughout the tour, I met some very engaging students. The second grade math class boasted “I Love Math” notebooks, while using utilizing technology for computational math. These kids are getting a great education at an early age that will help them prepare for high school, college and their future careers.

The North Brookfield high school, located one building over from the elementary school, was filled with students completing final exams before the holiday break. In addition to small classes throughout the building, there was also an expansive curriculum offering. Most notably, a Criminal Justice Dual Enrollment Course, taught by a Professor from Mount Wachusett Community College.  It was great to see the course physically offered in the high school, an amazing and convenient opportunity for high school students to take advantage of credit bearing, college level courses.

I ended my day on the road in Leicester. I was excited to tour my first k-2nd grade school – it was a unique opportunity to see some of the Commonwealth’s youngest residents.  The Primary School had great space, including a large indoor gymnasium that was used for interactive gym classes. The tour was led by Superintendent Paolucci, Principal Ford-Pelley and Assistant Principal Melissa Provost. The Primary School had full inclusion and great assistive technology for special education students.  It was great to see the Common Core methods being used in the Second grade classroom – the integration of social studies and science while reading a non-fiction story. The school was offering very strong preparation for some of the Commonwealth’s young students.

As I head into next week’s Christmas holiday I reflect on how lucky I am to be Secretary of Education here in the Commonwealth. Yesterday’s visit to North Brookfield and Leicester reminded me of the dedication of our state’s school administrators, teachers, parents and students. I want to thank everyone in North Brookfield and in Leicester for the hospitality.

I wish everyone a safe, warm and happy holiday season.

– Secretary Matthew Malone

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