Saturday, April 21, 2012

[UPDATED] Lynn School Committee Meetings: 4/24/12, 4/26/12

The next regular school committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7pm. SC meetings take place at 90 Commercial Street

Items on the agenda include:

-A presentation by Girls Inc. / The Food Project
-Student Government Day Agenda

A second school committee meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 6pm; this meeting will also take place at 90 Commercial Street. The purpose of this meeting will be a public hearing to address the decision reached on February 9 not to post the superintendent's position. Following the public hearing is the third special meeting of the school committee.

**[Update 4/24/12]: The agenda for the April 26th school committee meeting has been revised since it was initially posted. See the revised agenda:,%202012.pdf

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lynn Schools' Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment Numbers

The Lynn Public School district currently uses a lottery system for pre-kindergarten enrollment. As such, not every three and four year old child in the city has the opportunity to attend pre-kindergarten. Below are the schools which offer Pre-K and their enrollment numbers.

SchoolTotal Pre-K Enrollment
Lynn Tech34
Sewell Anderson9

*Data taken from:

This Day in History: April 20

-U.S. Congress passes an act establishing the Wisconsin territory, 1836

-The Civil Rights Act of 1871 becomes law 

-Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride, 1902

-Tito Puente, American musician, is born, 1923 (d. 2000)

-Billie Holiday records the first Civil Rights song "Strange Fruit," 1939

-Apollo 16 lands on the moon, 1972

-Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, CO, 1999

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Should Demographics Make a Difference in Expected Educational Outcomes?

In previous posts, it was noted that when compared to similar districts, Lynn is ranked first in terms of its educational outcomes (likely standardized tests scores). There has been a lot of talk about comparing "apples to apples" when measuring how Lynn fares in comparison with other districts. More specifically, Lynn should most realistically be compared to districts like Lowell or New Bedford as opposed to Marblehead or Swampscott due to the similarities in demographics. What about comparing schools serving common grades within the same district? Even though all of the students reside in Lynn, should we expect the same level of performance from each school despite sometimes significant differences in demographics? Here contextual factors were discussed in terms of considering how they could be as much or potentially more of a contributing factor to Lynn's academic achievement than the school system's leadership (i.e. the superintendent and principals).

Lynn schools do differ in terms of demographics such that some schools are faced with educating a much higher proportion of English Language Learners or special education students than others.

*ELL = English Language Learner
*LEP = Limited English Proficiency

*      =   No NCLB Status - English Language Arts/Reading
**     =   No NCLB Status - Math
***   =   No NCLB Status - All Subjects

ELLLEPLow IncomeSpecial EducationNCLB Status
Aborn***25.1%7.0%56.0%8.2%Level 1
Brickett**43.1%21.6%85.0%5.6%Level 2
Callahan43.1%15.9%76.7%20.9%Level 2
Cobbet73.3%41.6%90.8%10.4%Level 3
Connery77.1%43.6%93.7%5.4%Level 4
Drewicz65.7%29.6%89.4%16.2%Level 3
Ford65.1%37.1%90.0%7.0%Level 3
Harrington66.5%32.9%88.3%14.2%Level 4
Hood 46.6%19.5%85.3%15.7%Level 3
Ingalls66.0%34.6%93.1%12.4%Level 2
Lincoln-Thomson**32.3%15.7%69.0%7.3%Level 2
Lynn Woods7.0%2.5%38.2%18.5%Level 2
Sewell Anderson33.7%11.0%69.0%28.2%Level 2
Shoemaker*20.2%2.1%51.0%30.2%Level 1
Sisson*23.3%8.3%58.1%11.9%Level 1
Tracy**64.3%32.4%93.1%6.6%Level 1
Washington21.4%5.4%92.9%100.0%Level 1

ELLLEPLow IncomeSpecial EducationNCLB Status
Breed59.2%14.4%88.1%22.1%Level 3
KIPP: Lynn38.6%7.7%83.5%13.1%N/A
Marshall62.1%19.1%94.4%18.3%Level 3
Pickering34.5%4.2%64.6%20.3%Level 2

ELLLEPLow IncomeSpecial EducationNCLB Status
Lynn Classical53.1%12.2%80.9%11.6%Level 2
Lynn English51.1%11.0%78.7%12.0%Level 1
Lynn Tech61.4%17.7%89.7%24.9%Level 3
Fecteau-Leary 39.3%1.2%91.1%43.5%Level 1

Does this information make a difference in how these schools should be expected to perform both in isolation and in comparison with other schools in the district?

For MCAS results see:

For more on the NCLB Accountability Ratings, see here

*Data (2011-12) taken from:

Friday, April 13, 2012

MA Education Board Expresses Concern about Holyoke School's Progress

In a March 29 letter addressed to Holyoke Superintendent David Dupont, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) expressed concern regarding the progress of the Dean Vocational School which is currently a Level 4 school.  Level 4 schools are those among the bottom 20% of schools serving common grades statewide. In 2011, 39% of Dean students achieved proficiency on the English Language Arts portion of the MCAS while 37% were proficient in math. Less than a quarter of the students expected to graduate in four years or less did so in 2011. Since being named a Level 4 school, Dean has been managed by the Northampton based non-profit agency the Collaborative for Educational Services. Specific concerns cited by the DESE included a lack of effective leadership to establish a turnaround plan and classroom instruction that lacked high expectations. 

Dean does face a number of challenges to raising student achievement including a population which is 33.3% Limited English Proficiency and 72.9% First Language not English. Additionally, 41.2% of students have been classified as special education. The average number of absences in 2010-11 was 25.8 days while the attendance rate was just 83.2% (compared to 94.7% for the state). The Collaborative has stated that many of the criticisms have been or are being addressed and questioned how such criticisms about the school's progress could be made with less than a year under the agency's leadership. Mayor Alex Morse stated that he believed it was too soon to pass judgement on the non-profit's turnaround efforts.

Public Hearing Re: Lynn Superintendent's Position Set for April 26th at 6pm

At the April 12th Lynn School Committee meeting, a decision was made to hold the public hearing regarding the vote not to post the superintendent's position on April 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM. The public hearing will take place at 90 Commercial Street in the Tiger's Den (the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute Annex).

See the article in today's Daily Item regarding the public hearing:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lynn School Committee Meeting 4/12/12

The next Lynn School Committee meeting  is scheduled for Thursday April 12, 2012 at 7pm (*open mike begins at 6:45pm). SC meetings take place at 90 Commercial Street.

Items on the agenda for the next meeting include:

-Vote to continue non-participation in School Choice for school year 2012 - 2013
-Set date for public hearing re: not posting position of Superintendent of Schools
-Request from Salvy Migliaccio (Salvy the Florist, Inc.) to offer interactive "Spring Education Program" to first grade classrooms in Lynn at no cost

*To view the full agenda, see:,%202012.pdf

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's My Blogoversary!

I started this blog a little over a year ago (April 2, 2011) with this post. What was started simply as an avenue to dive back into writing more consistently has turned into a project that I have become truly passionate about.  Since last April, I have written 154 blog posts and had 6,917 views from places such as the U.S.,  Russia, Germany, and India. 

The most popular posts in the last year were:

Here's to many more informative posts in the coming year!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Graduation Rate vs. the Adjusted Graduation Rate

In the State of the Schools Address published on the Lynn Public Schools website, graduation rates are listed in terms of the four year adjusted rate; Lynn's four year adjusted graduation rate in 2011 was 71.9%. However, here we see the 'graduation rate' for Lynn listed as 68.6%. So which statistic is correct and what is the difference?

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states that the 4 year graduation rate is the number of students who graduate in four years or less divided by the number of students beginning 9th grade together minus transfers out/deaths, plus transfers in (# of students graduating in 4 years or less/[# of first time entering 9th graders]- transfers out/death + transfers in). The adjusted 4 year graduation rate is the number of students graduating in 4 years or less divided by the number of students starting 9th grade together minus transfers out (# of students graduating in 4 years or less/[# of first time entering 9th grader] - transfers out/death). Thus the difference is that the 4 year graduation rate includes students who may not have started in a particular school or district but transferred into that school or district at some point during high school. On the other hand, the adjusted rate takes into account students who left a school or district but not those who may have entered after the 9th grade. In the case of Lynn, if one were to include students who transferred into the district and subtract those who either left or passed away, the graduation rate is 68.6%; the graduation rate  for students entering 9th grade at the same time and remaining within the Lynn public school district during the entire high school period is 71.9%.

Below is the graduation and adjusted graduation rates for the urban districts in Massachusetts. The cohort (or number of students included in the calculation) is also indicated.

4 Yr Grad RateCohort4 Yr. Adjusted Grad RateAdjusted Cohort
Fall River 71.0%62476.6%495
New Bedford56.4%73059.7%566

*All Data Taken from: