For Immediate Release - September 23, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK ADDRESSES STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT NEW MISSION HIGH SCHOOL AS PART OF 2ND ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL WITH HISTORYMAKERS PROGRAM

Program encourages youth to commit to excellence and achievement, teaches students about their histories

New Mission High School

Governor Patrick visits New Mission High School for the second annual "Back to School with HistoryMakers" program to discuss his education experience and the obstacles he faced along the way.(Photo: Matthew Bennett/Governor's Office)

ROXBURY - Friday, September 23, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today spoke with students and teachers at New Mission High School (NMHS) as part of the 2nd annual Back to School with the HistoryMakers program. The Governor shared stories about his own educational experiences and discussed the ways in which his Administration is working to ensure that all students have access to a world-class education.

"I know from my own experiences how transformational education can be in a person's life," said Governor Patrick. "That's why we are investing in public schools at record levels, giving schools the flexibility they need to try new things, and putting supports in place that ensure students are prepared for academic and professional success."

The HistoryMakers program is a non-profit educational institution that is committed to preserving, developing and providing access to an archival collection of thousands of African American oral histories. The primary goal of creating the archive is to showcase the breadth and depth of these important parts of American history, to highlight the accomplishments of African Americans across a variety of disciplines and preserve the materials for future generations.

During HistoryMakers' Back to School day, Governor Patrick and nearly 500 other African American trailblazers will visit schools across the United States to welcome students back to school and to highlight the ongoing needs of public education systems. The goal of this day is to connect African American leaders to young people across the nation, encourage youth to commit to excellence and achievement and teach students about their histories. Other participants in Back to School day include former Ambassador Andrew Young, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, poets Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, author/filmmaker Antwone Fisher and Broadway choreographer George Faison.

NMHS was recently named as a "Commendation School" for narrowing proficiency gaps among high-need students over a two-year period, and is one of 18 schools in Massachusetts that met its Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for two consecutive years.

NMHS is implementing a number of strategies to increase student achievement including the use of a literacy and numeracy-rich curriculum; use of an intensive cross-curricular writing program, school-wide writing standards and reading support program; providing individualized and targeted assistance to each student by connecting him/her to an advisor; and providing additional academic support through the NMHS Learning Center and Homework Academy. The school has instilled a strong focus on professional development and learning for educators as well as an emphasis on accountability for all members of the community.

NMHS has also developed robust partnerships with local institutions of higher education, health and social service agencies and community-based organizations. College courses are offered to NMHS students through Roxbury Community College, MassArt, Emmanuel College, Wheelock College and the Benjamin Franklin Institute. The school also receives support from the Boston University Afterschool program, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Harvard University Risk Prevention Program, the Peer Health Exchange and Upward Bound.

Governor Patrick has named closing the achievement gap as one of his second-term priorities and today's visit is part of a series of events the Governor and Secretary Reville are participating in over the next two months to demonstrate the Administration's progress on this front.

To learn more about how the Administration is working to close achievement gaps in communities across the Commonwealth, visit http://www.mass.gov/edu/.

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