For Immediate Release - September 08, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK CELEBRATES NEW SCHOOL YEAR IN NATICK

Visit follows three weeks of significant education victories for students and teachers

Governor Deval Patrick today visited with the students of Memorial Elementary School in Natick, helping to kick off the new school year and highlighting recent education victories for Massachusetts students and teachers.

(Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office). View additional photos.

NATICK - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today visited with the students of Memorial Elementary School in Natick, helping to kick off the new school year and highlighting recent education victories for Massachusetts students and teachers.

"In Massachusetts, education is both the reason for our great success and the reason we will emerge from these challenging economic times even stronger," said Governor Patrick. "That is why we are making historic investments in public schools and implementing reforms that will lift all students up. I am proud to say that our efforts are working here in Natick and in schools across the Commonwealth."

"In Massachusetts, our students and our schools continue to prove that high standards and high expectations for all students, combined with the right resources creates a winning formula for success," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "I am pleased to join Governor Patrick in wishing the students in Natick and across the Commonwealth another successful school year."

Yesterday, Governor Patrick announced strong improvement on the statewide MCAS exams noting that the number of tenth graders who scored Proficient or Higher on the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams has nearly doubled since the first year the state's graduation requirement was enforced. In addition, MCAS results showed that for the first time ever, more than half of all seventh and eighth graders statewide scored Proficient or Higher in Math and the percentage of third graders reading and doing math proficiently increased by six points in ELA and five points in math.

Massachusetts also recently earned the top score in the national Race to the Top competition and secured $250 million in funding to help implement the next generation of education reform in Massachusetts. The funding will be utilized to build a statewide data system to better track student performance, inform instructional practices and provide a new measure of teacher and principal effectiveness as well as to build a more professional teacher development and support system.

Additionally, Governor Patrick allocated $204 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund to school districts across the Commonwealth, bringing state support for public schools to its highest level in history. A combination of state and federal dollars totaling $4.07 billion will ensure all school districts receive more state aid - at least $25 per student - than they did last year.

Governor Patrick visited with students and their teachers at the Memorial Elementary School to learn about their focus for the new school year and encourage them to try their hardest and reach new levels of academic performance.

In Natick, the Race to the Top funding will provide approximately $192,000 to support the full implementation of the strategies outlined in the proposal to improve teaching and learning and outcomes for students. Thanks to the Governor's allocation of Education Jobs Fund, Natick is set to receive over $400,000 to help fund additional teaching positions and help secure their budget for the upcoming academic year.

"The Commonwealth has a singular commitment to education, and we are seeing results. This is great news for the students of Massachusetts, who will be poised to succeed in the 21st century economy," said Senator Karen Spilka.

"We must keep Massachusetts at the forefront of educational excellence and innovation," said Representative David Linsky. "Funding for our state's public schools is essential to retain teachers and keep class sizes small. I am pleased to join the Governor to make this important announcement."

"I was happy to visit Memorial Elementary School today with Governor Deval Patrick to help encourage our students and teachers as the new school year begins. I am also pleased to hear that our students have shown strong improvement in MCAS and that even with a tough economic climate, we have continued to invest, at record levels, in our schools and our children's education," said Representative Alice Peisch.

"Education take place in the classroom so we have a responsibility as state leaders to make every decision based on what is going to work best for students," said Education Secretary Paul Reville who joined the Governor on the visit. "The Governor has demonstrated that leadership with his vision for an improved education system and his efforts to set the right goals and providing the necessary support to help all students succeed."

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