For Immediate Release - November 17, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK VISITS FALL BROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN LEOMINSTER TO DISCUSS ADMINISTRATION’S STRATEGY TO CLOSE ACHIEVEMENT GAPS

Fall Brook named Commendation School for improvements in student proficiency

LEOMINSTER - Thursday, November 17, 2011 – Governor Deval Patrick today visited Fall Brook Elementary School to congratulate students and staff for being selected as a Commendation School. During his visit, Governor Patrick recognized the school’s success in improving student achievement and discussed the Administration’s commitment to closing achievement gaps.

“The students and teachers at Fall Brook Elementary School worked hard to see this improvement and they deserve our praise,” said Governor Patrick. “Fall Brook is providing an excellent education for its students by applying best practices in innovative teaching and learning.”

Fall Brook Elementary is one of 127 Commendation Schools statewide recognized for their efforts and results in improving student achievement this year. The schools were all selected by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for progress in closing proficiency rates and helping all students achieve at higher levels.

Students at Fall Brook Elementary demonstrated increased levels of students reaching proficient and higher status on the state’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams in Grade 5 in English Language Arts (ELA) and Grade 3 ELA and Math.

Fall Brook Elementary educates students in grades K - 5 and aims to prepare all students with the skills, experiences and knowledge they need to advance to the next level of their education. Fall Brook Elementary focuses on high quality, standards-based and differentiated instruction in all subject areas, understanding that each child needs a different set of supports and attention to succeed. Student progress in ELA and Math is regularly monitored using quarterly data to inform subject instruction.

"I am very thankful that the Governor was in Leominster recognizing the hard work of our students at Fall Brook," said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan. "I am eager to learn more about the Governor's strategy to help close achievement gaps across the Commonwealth. The Leominster Public Schools have worked so hard and I'm very proud of the recognition they have received today."

“I’d like to congratulate the students and faculty at Fall Brook Elementary School on making such great strides toward excellence,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “Closing the achievement gap is one of the biggest hurdles we face in improving our education system, and Fall Brook Elementary School shows we’re up to the challenge.”

“I commend the students, teachers, staff and administrators at Fall Brook Elementary School for being selected as a Commendation School," said Representative Alice H. Peisch, House chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "The success at Fall Brook Elementary School offers further proof that the investment the legislature and Patrick administration is making in our schools is improving public education across Massachusetts."

“This is a proud moment for the City of Leominster and its school department,” said Representative Dennis A. Rosa. “This commendation is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the staff and students at Fall Brook Elementary, and they are to be congratulated.”

“The Leominster School Department is committed to meeting high standards that allow for a quality education through innovative and creative teaching methods," said Mayor Dean Mazzarella. "In today’s world, students must be ready to compete in a global economy. I’m very proud of the staff and students at Fall Brook for working so hard at reaching their goals and want to thank Governor Patrick for taking the time to recognize their efforts."

Massachusetts leads the nation in student achievement and education reform efforts. Recognizing that there is more to be accomplished ahead, Governor Patrick has named closing the achievement gap as a top priority for his second term. Last week, Governor Patrick announced a new set of strategies aimed at closing the most persistent achievement gaps among Massachusetts students. This initiative will focus primarily on students in the Gateway cities, where many of the state’s immigrants, low-income students, English Language Learners and others stuck in the achievement gaps are found. The challenges faced by students, their families and their educators in the Gateway Cities are pressing, and the Governor’s plan provides an intense focus achievement gaps where they are most persistent, to help overcome those challenges.

The Governor’s second term education strategy is focused 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; and (4) preparing all students for college and career success. Governor Patrick’s plan also calls for the creation of a (5) statewide Commonwealth Education Innovation Fund, a public-private fund-raising partnership that will strengthen our capacity to meet 21st Century education challenges. This fund will not be limited to the Gateway Cities.

Each of these goals will be represented by a pilot program the Administration will launch in the Commonwealth’s Gateway cities. These programs will be included in the Governor’s 2013 budget proposal.

To learn more about the Governor’s second term education strategy click here.

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