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posted May 9, 2014, 12:10 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 9, 2014, 12:14 PM ]

Innovation School Fellowship grants to support three potential Innovation Schools located in Worcester, Malden and Hudson

WORCESTER – Friday, May 9, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined Secretary of Education Matthew Malone to announce $225,000 in Innovation School funding that will allow for the creation of newly-established Innovation School Fellowships located in three school districts: Worcester, Malden and Hudson. The grants were announced at Claremont Academy School in Worcester, a recipient of a $75,000 fellowship grant.

“The Innovation School model has proven to be a key strategy in our efforts to turnaround low-performing schools and to give high-achieving schools room to grow,” said Governor Patrick. “These grants are a strong example of our commitment to close persistent achievement gaps, promote innovative and bold strategies in public schools and give students greater access to high-quality education.”

Each of the districts will receive $75,000 in funding. Worcester plans to use the grant to plan for a potential early college Innovation School to be located in the city’s Main South Neighborhood. Malden is exploring the creation of an Innovation School Academy to be located within Malden High School aimed at serving the unique needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE). In Hudson, the district will use the grant to plan for the prospect of creating an Innovation School Academy for elementary school students with a STEM focus. With approval from the respective school committees, the schools could open as early as fall 2014.

“We have seen what the Innovation School model can do to boost student achievement,” said Secretary Malone. “Empowering local districts to thoughtfully plan for this type of work will allow teachers and school leaders to be a part of the process from the very beginning. These grants will have a powerful impact on these communities.”

A signature component of Governor Patrick’s Achievement Gap Act of 2010, Innovation Schools are in-district, public schools that use inventive strategies and creative approaches to education while keeping school funding within districts. Innovation Schools can utilize greater autonomy and flexibility with regard to curriculum, staffing, budget, schedule/calendar, professional development and district policies. There are currently 46 approved innovation schools across Massachusetts.

"Innovation schools provide parents and students with important additional choices in their pursuit of educational excellence," said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester. "I am pleased to see the leadership and educators at these schools stepping forward to embrace innovative reform models that are tailored to their students' specific needs."

Funding for the grants was made available as part of $1 million in competitive grants to school districts for the planning, implementation and enhancement of Innovation Schools included in the state's Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget. Since 2010, the Patrick Administration has awarded more than $2.3 million in Innovation School planning, implementation, enhancement and fellowship grants through funds from the Commonwealth’s state budget, the state's successful Race to the Top proposal and additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Governor’s FY15 budget proposes $4.6 million for these grants, an increase of $3.6 million from FY14.

“Innovation Schools are essential to fostering unique education methods across the Commonwealth and I am thrilled that three new innovation schools will be established in addition to the forty-six that currently exist in Massachusetts,” said Senator Harriette L. Chandler. “Congratulations to all the potential innovation schools, including Claremont Academy in Worcester, that have received this fellowship grant.”

“I want to thank Governor Patrick for his commitment to the innovation schools,” said Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “In Worcester we have been very successful and appreciate the funding to continue the progress we have been making.”

“I am pleased to see that more districts are capitalizing on the opportunity to explore the Innovation School model, which offers greater flexibility for local educators to implement creative and effective strategies to meet the educational needs of students and improve academic outcomes,” said Representative Alice Peisch.

"This is extraordinarily exciting news for the Hudson Public Schools," said Hudson Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Lyons. "We believe that the Innovation Schools initiative is very much needed, and we will employ all of our creative energies to take full advantage of this wonderful program to discover new solutions to meet the needs of all of our students."

"The city of Malden has always embraced its status as a Gateway City and we thrilled to have this opportunity to continue to meet the needs our diverse student community,” said Malden Superintendent of Schools David DeRuosi. “This grant will provide us with opportunity to develop pathways to support the growing population of students entering Malden with limited or interrupted formal education, which is a growing sub group in our community."

For more information about Innovation Schools, visit www.mass.gov/edu/innovationschools.