Best of American Graduate
Sci Tech’s Gary Bernice
In January 2007, Springfield’s Sci Tech High School had a band of about 20 members. Since UMass grad Gary Bernice joined the school the program has grown to over 500 students. The band has received recognition from all over Western Mass. Known as the “Pride of Springfield”; students also focus on developing leadership skills that go beyond the classroom. Connecting Point Contributor Carolee McGrath talks with Band leader Gary Bernice and several of its members to find out how the band has helped the students evolve as both musicians and people. Watch this segment.
Brookings School’s 100 Mile Club
The Brookings School in Springfield has a student population that is 98% below the poverty line. The school was hit by a tornado in 2011 and all the students were displaced into modular buildings. Today, the school’s been rebuilt and the 100 Mile Club was started to increase school attendance, and increase physical fitness. Kids at the school now begin their day on “the right foot”…..literally, tying up their sneakers and getting ready to take part in The 100 Mile Club. Connecting Point Contributor Carolee McGrath visited the school and shares their story as part of the American Graduate report. Watch this segment.
Holyoke High School’s As Schools Match Wits Team
This spring, the Massachusetts Department of Education placed Holyoke schools under state receivership and designated the school system a level 5, which is the state’s lowest rating. Given the stigma attached to that, the fact that Holyoke made it into the championship round of As Schools Match Wits for the first time in 54 years takes on special meaning, as Carolee McGrath found out when she talked to the members of Holyoke High’s ASMW team in her American Graduate report. Watch this segment.
Westfield’s CLEAR Program
In our continuing American Graduate series, we feature a program for children with autism. The city of Westfield launched a program called CLEAR, a few years ago in order to provide the best services possible in the district for children with autism spectrum disorder with a goal of keeping students with their peers. The program is also unique because of the partnership with Westfield State University. Watch this segment.
Franklin County Technical School
Connecting Point contributor Carolee McGrath profiles a technical school in Franklin County that’s helping kids find what they’re passionate about and turning that into a career after graduation. We profile the machine technology department that’s placing grads into high paying jobs. Many of these students have continued on to college pursuing engineering degrees — but they admit they might not have stayed in school if wasn’t for the hands education they received. Watch this segment.
Project Coach works to bridge the economic, educational and social divisions facing Springfield youth by empowering and employing inner-city teens to coach, teach, and mentor elementary school students in their neighborhoods. Connecting Point Contributor Carolee McGrath visits The Gerena School in Springfield’s North End to see how this program works. Watch this segment.