Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Public Deserves An Answer

Ken O’Brien

On Sunday morning we posted a column titled “More Confusion”.

In that article we reported on credible claims that students who had failed the 10th Grade MCAS in 2013 had in fact been retested. If true, such claims directly contradict the announcement made at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting by the District’s Superintendent.

In addition we reported on rumors that the consultant’s contract with former schools’ Superintendent, Basan Nembirkow, had been terminated. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The First Step

More Confusion

Ken O’Brien

Despite Tuesday night’s announcement by Superintendent Gardner and yesterday’s article in The Worcester Telegram by Brian Lee, The O’Zone has received indications that MCAS retests were given.

The exchange in question went as follows:
Test Did Happen September 28, 2014 at 7:49 AM
To Thank you: I agree that I am excited Ms. Dargie will be back to help the kids tomorrow - they need her! Second, I was shocked when I saw the T&G yesterday so I hopped on here to see what's been happening since I took on a new job to get away from the politics - yikes! Third, glad I forwarded myself a few important emails... They are public record anyway but the proof is out there that the tests did happen... Maybe Amy will need them for the next unfortunate law suit that takes money away from the students. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Have To Ask…

Ken O’Brien

There’s clearly a lot of discomfort about Gregory Lewis’ escape. I have no desire to get involved in the debate as to whether or not he should have been released on bail.

However, on September 20th  the Southbridge Police Department issued an advisory that he had cut off his GPS bracelet and fled the area.

On September 25th it was reported that he had returned to his Southbridge residence. He assaulted a family member and restrained them so that they could not call the police. He escaped again taking with him a firearm and 200 rounds of ammunition. Since then he has been sighted in Vernon, CT and was pinged in Hartford. 

Article Raises More Questions About Southbridge MCAS

Ken O’Brien

Writing in today’s Worcester Telegram, Brian Lee reports that, “Last year, dozens of juniors at the [Southbridge] middle-high school were not afforded their mandated right to twice retake the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Systems.”

In a piece titled 38 Southbridge students missed chance to retake MCAS, Lee posed questions to Superintendent Patricia Gardner and former Southbridge Middle High School Principal Amy Allen-Magnan.

Gardner remarked on Tuesday night that “the oversight was due to ‘a principal working in our schools’ who had signed off that everything was done properly…’.nobody was watching, but in this case, people weren't honest’.” 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Southbridge Superintendent Reports On MCAS

Ken O’Brien

So now we have confirmation of what has been reported on this blog for a while. In 2013, 38 out of 105 students failed all or a portion of the MCAS. That’s over 1/3 of this year’s seniors.

Worse than that, these students went the whole of their junior year without being offered the opportunity to retake the test.

The fact is that this has never happened here before. I have to wonder if this has ever happened anywhere before. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It’s Time

Ken O’Brien

Two years ago there was a petition circulating begging the state to take over the Southbridge School District.

I was opposed to it then.

Circumstances have changed. 

Southbridge School Committee Meeting Agenda - September 23, 2014

LOCATION: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

DATE: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TIME: 7:00 PM

I. Pledge of Allegiance
II. Public Input
III. Meeting Called to Order

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Southbridge MCAS Results: Grade 10 in Math Since Grade 3

Ken O'Brien

Some have expressed the belief that a more useful presentation of the MCAS data would result from
comparing the progress of the same class over time.

While I believe that such an approach is problematic in numerous ways, I have nevertheless compiled such data for the most recent MCAS results for Grade 10 in Mathematics as it has progressed since Grade 3.

The results are provided in the chart below:

Southbridge MCAS Results: An Eight Year View

Ken O'Brien

After considering the 2011-2014 MCAS results as presented in the preceding post, I decided that they told an incomplete story.

A more comprehensive view of the pattern of "progress" in the Southbridge school district is given by incorporating an additional four years of MCAS data. The charts below provide this perspective.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MassDevelopment issues innovation centers RFP

Ken O’Brien

MassDevelopment has issued a request for proposals from small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises seeking to create "innovation centers". The program is designed to give companies access to expertise and equipment they lack in-house, according to the state's finance and development agency.

Known as the Manufacturing Futures Program, the effort will subsidize the cost of contracting with innovation centers selected under the RFP to solve technical problems that can hinder growth. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Where Do You Get Your News?

Ken O’Brien

Local news, that is.

Southbridge used to have a daily paper.

Now it is a weekly.

Southbridge used to have a radio station.

Now it is a religious outlet.

So the question is, “Where do you get your local news now?”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Southbridge School Committee Meeting - September 9, 2014

LOCATION: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

DATE: Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TIME: 7:00 PM

I. Pledge of Allegiance
II. Public Input
III. Meeting Called to Order
IV. Roll Call

Friday, September 5, 2014

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - September 8, 2014




SEPTEMBER 8, 2014-7:00 PM

l.   Pledge of Allegiance

2.  Roll Call

3.  Consider and accept Town Council Meeting Minutes of Monday, August 25, 2014.