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National Report Profiles Valley Tech as one of the ‘Cadillac Model’ School Systems

Aug 25, 2015 11:23AM, Published by Pamela Johnson, Categories: In Print, Business, MUNICIPAL, Seniors, Life+Leisure, Today, Community, Schools




UPTON – A new report from one of the nation's top education reform organizations highlights Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (Valley Tech) as a leading example of "what it takes to prepare students for the demands of college and 21st century careers."
 
The report entitled "Best of Both Worlds: How Massachusetts Vocational Schools Are Preparing Students for College and Careers" was released on July 9, 2015, by Achieve, an independent, nonprofit education reform organization leading the effort to make college and career readiness a priority across the country so that students graduating from high school are academically prepared for postsecondary success. The brief includes profiles of four Massachusetts school systems, including Valley Tech, which is credited as a key player in the transformation of the state's vocational technical schools from "places where struggling students could escape academic rigor" to systems that have successfully combined "full vocational curriculum with college-ready academic standards."
 
"The schools profiled in these briefs illustrate the meaningful role that states can play in ensuring that all students have access to rigorous academic learning content aligned to college and career real-world expectations," Alissa Peltzman, Vice President of State Policy and Implementation Support at Achieve, said in a recent press release. "Achieve applauds these schools' efforts to help all students graduate from high school ready for their next steps."
 
In announcing the report’s release, Achieve credited David Ferreira, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA), with citing Valley Tech and other highlighted schools as " 'the Cadillac model of the CTE world,' due to the way they integrate real-world learning, foster caring relationships, and focus on continuous improvement in service of student success."
 
Research on Valley Tech was conducted by Katie Bayerl, a writer, teacher, and editorial consultant specializing in helping schools and nonprofit organizations tell their stories. Bayerl’s research included tours of Valley Tech’s vocational technical shops and academic programs; analysis of school statistics, curriculum, and schedules; and extensive interviews with students, teachers, and administrators.
"The team at Achieve is thrilled with the final report," Bayerl said. "For my part, I am still inspired by my visit to Valley Tech." 
 
Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick thanked Achieve for shining a national spotlight on Valley Tech's success and encouraged the school's stakeholders to take a look at the report.
 
"I trust that our district residents will experience great pride when they learn what an organization as reputable and influential as Achieve thinks of their vocational technical school," Fitzpatrick said. "This is yet another indication that continued support at the state and local levels has empowered Valley Tech to develop best practices capable of serving our district's children and employers. We are honored to be considered a model system for schools nationwide." 
 
Fitzpatrick added that he was particularly pleased to see the report highlight many inspirational contributions from Valley Tech Assistant Superintendent-Director/Principal Anthony Steele, including a powerful statement on the importance of "continuous improvement."

“If you're not already thinking of the next thing, you're behind," Steele said.
 
"Best of Both Worlds: How Massachusetts Vocational Schools Are Preparing Students for College and Careers" can be found online at the following address:
 
http://www.achieve.org/publications/best-both-worlds
 
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, Blackstone Valley Tech creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of rigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills. The school’s website is www.valleytech.k12.ma.us.




In the September 2015 print edition


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