For Immediate Release - March 16, 2012

Secretary Reville Visits Salem School to Highlight Importance of Gateway Cities Education Agenda in Closing Achievement Gaps

New strategies will build on Administration’s efforts to ensure all students are prepared for success

SALEM – Friday, March 16, 2012 – Education Secretary Paul Reville today visited the Carlton Elementary School in Salem to discuss the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda.  This set of strategies aims to eliminate persistent achievement gaps that disproportionately affect children living in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and students who are English language learners.   Many of these children are heavily concentrated in the Commonwealth’s 24 Gateway Cities, including Salem. The Gateway Agenda will bring an intense focus to closing achievement gaps among students in these regions.  

In January, Governor Patrick announced $10 million in funding for the Gateway Cities Education Agenda in his FY 13 budget, furthering his Administration’s commitment to ensuring that all students – regardless of socioeconomic background – are prepared for success in the classroom and in life.  

“This set of strategies represents a bold effort to close persistent achievement gaps and focus our resources on our neediest children, while challenging all students to do significantly better,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville.  “Carlton Elementary is already hard at work on some bold innovations at the school and I commend the staff for their commitment to provide a quality education to all of their students.”

The Governor’s Gateway Agenda focuses on five goals: (1) getting every child to reading proficiency by the third grade; (2) providing every child with a healthy platform for education; (3) providing students, particularly English Language Learners, with the quality and quantity of education they need to succeed; (4) preparing all students for college and career success; and (5) seeding and incentivizing education.  

The first four goals will be represented by a pilot program the Administration will launch in several of the Commonwealth’s Gateway cities on a competitive grant basis. The fifth will be represented by a Commonwealth Innovation Fund designed to encourage innovation among educators across the state, and will be open to all cities and towns in Massachusetts.

“As a Gateway City, we welcome and appreciate Secretary Reville’s commitment to public education, innovation and life-long learning,” said Representative John Keenan.  “The Patrick-Murray Administration has been firm in its resolve to identify the challenges facing students today and the changes we must make to ensure the future.”

About Carlton Elementary School:

The Carlton Elementary School is a K-5 school serving approximately 235 students in Salem.  In October 2011 the school was approved by its local school committee to re-open as the Carlton School - Continuous Progress Innovation School in Fall 2012.  The school will be the twentieth Innovation School to open in Massachusetts since the passage of the Achievement Gap Act in 2010 which allowed for the creation of Innovation Schools.

The Continuous Progress Innovation School will emphasize an individual approach to teaching and learning designed specifically to better serve its student population.  Students will be placed in multi-age classrooms within team levels, as opposed to traditional grade levels, and will remain in the same classroom with the same teacher for up to two and one-half years, depending on the student’s progress. Students poised to transition to the next team level will be evaluated by teacher three times per school year at trimester intervals before a student is permitted to progress to the next team level.  The school will also add an optional forty minutes to the instructional day in the morning, making staff support available for students who arrive early for intervention groups in reading, writing and math. 

These innovations in school structure and others in curriculum will support the teaching and learning of each individual student and tailored instruction aims to improve student achievement outcomes for all students. 

For more information on the Carlton School’s Innovation Plan visit http://spscarlton.salemk12.org.

To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda visit www.ma.gov/edu/gatewaycities.