• Category 1

    Selected in 2019

  • Grades: pre k - 6
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 185,877
    Student Enrollment: 409
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 17.2%
    White/Caucasian: 49.3%
    Hispanic: 21.2%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0%
    Asian: 5.9%
    Native American: 0.2%
    Other: 6.2%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:18.5
    % Reduced Lunch: 31.5%
    % ELL Learners: 20.9%
    Founded: 1992
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Mary Ellen Scanlon
  • CONTACT:
    315 St. Nicholas Avenue
    Worcester, MA 01606
    508-799-3575
    scanlonm@worcesterschools.net
Worcester Arts Magnet School
Worcester, MA
“All students belong to all of us."
What are your school’s top two goals for the next year?
1. We will improve performance in Science and Math across all subgroups by increasing the use of Science and Engineering practices such as using models, graphs, and analyzing and interpreting data through experimentation and discourse. We will also increase the use of manipulatives and digital resources.

2. We will improve proficiency in ELA across all subgroups by increasing the use of Shared Reading and Interactive Read Aloud experiences in primary classrooms and increasing the use of Book Clubs in intermediate classrooms.
Describe the most successful activity your school has initiated to strengthen ties to your community.
The Arts are a key driver that keeps our school engaged with the community. Parents are drawn to this magnet program and the arts help us to maintain strong connections with the community that we serve. Every year, there are multiple opportunities in which we open our doors and invite the community of WAMS families and the extended community to experience the joy of the arts through our student performances and exhibitions.
Describe your school culture and explain changes you’ve taken to improve it.
Collaboration toward the goal of enhancing academic achievement is the foundation of our school culture. This collaboration occurs between all members of the Worcester Arts Magnet community; students, teachers, staff, parents, and community stakeholders. All are committed to the success of our students. We work together and support one another, consistently monitor our effectiveness and our shared work, making adjustments as needed to ensure a good outcome for our students. These efforts are guided by our Instructional Leadership Team that meets bi-weekly and takes the initiative to propose changes for the good of the school. The key tasks of the ILT are to analyze student data and to identify professional development opportunities for staff and learning opportunities for families. Our work is continually evolving and we are dedicated to making sure that our teaching practices and school design are meeting the needs of every student.
Describe how data is used to improve student achievement and inform decision making.
Several forms of data are used to make informed decisions about student learning, including standardized test scores and various formative assessments. We believe that the most powerful source of data we use is the formative assessments and teacher observations that are analyzed and used to plan the next steps for student learning. Teachers meet weekly within their Professional Learning Communities to collaboratively look at and plan the next steps for curriculum and instruction.
Describe the program or initiative that has had the greatest positive effect on student achievement, including closing achievement or opportunity gaps, if applicable.
Worcester Arts Magnet School provides a unique learning opportunity in which the arts are an integral component of the daily curriculum. Our program is designed to unify the attainment of solid academic preparation with creative and performing arts so that children can profit from successful educational experience in a supportive environment. An instructional program focusing on self-expression, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills and adapted to the special needs, learning style and abilities of the individual learner are stressed. The arts serve both as a discipline, in their own right, as well as learning tools to enhance and complement solid basic skills. The arts are an integral part of our total school curriculum, providing access to information in a unique way, permitting non-verbal communication of knowledge of varying cultures and demonstrating that working with the hands supports and extends academic learning.
Describe your philosophy of school change or improvement.
Our philosophy of school change and improvement is best stated through our statement of core values:
All students belong to all of us. Our care and concern for students extend from each and every staff member to each and every student regardless of the classroom in which the child is placed. They are all OUR students. Collegiality and experimentation characterize our daily work as we take the initiative to propose changes for the good of the school. We are as committed to the success of other adults in our building as we are to our own success. We are here to support each other.
Identify the critical professional development activities you use to improve teaching and student learning.
In recent years, our collaborative work has focused on Self-regulated Strategy Development (SRSD), an approach to structuring writing instruction that offers students models and guided practice to develop and enhance their writing skills. This shared work has allowed our staff to collaborate in important ways that have yielded positive outcomes for our students. Our PLCs have taken the lead in using SRSD strategies and studying their impact on their classrooms. We had the opportunity to work with facilitators who were interested in learning from our staff and our students and this helped all of us to improve our practice in this area in ways that we could clearly identify. We continue to develop in using SRSD to teach our students to be better writers and every year we see gains that we know are attributable to our professional work in this area.
Describe specific programs in place to ensure that families are involved in the success of your school and students.
Families and family involvement are important partners in our shared work to provide an excellent education for our students. Administration, staff, and families continue to develop the successful arts-integrated program. Family involvement, community collaborations business partnerships, embedded staff development, an inclusion model and a curriculum that highlights the talents of all students are high priorities. Giving back to the community is also a priority at Worcester Arts Magnet School. The students accomplish this through community service projects, through dance and visual arts outreach and through music and drama performances.
What is the single most important factor in the success of your school that others could replicate?
The Arts Magnet is a primary draw for parents who are interested in helping their children become well-rounded people who are motivated to achieve in all academic disciplines, including the arts.
Explain how ESEA federal funds are used to support your improvement efforts.
ESEA funds our Instructional Coach, who provides embedded professional development for all instructional staff. Professional development opportunities such as best practices in literacy, application of technology in the classroom and supporting English Language Learners are also provided with ESEA funds. In addition, funds are used for Literacy Tutors who provide supplemental reading instruction for students who need that assistance.
Stats
  • Category 1

    Selected in 2019

  • Grades: pre k - 6
    School Setting: urban
    Town Population: 185,877
    Student Enrollment: 409
    Student Demographics:

    Black/African American: 17.2%
    White/Caucasian: 49.3%
    Hispanic: 21.2%
    Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0%
    Asian: 5.9%
    Native American: 0.2%
    Other: 6.2%

    Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:18.5
    % Reduced Lunch: 31.5%
    % ELL Learners: 20.9%
    Founded: 1992
  • PRINCIPAL:
    Mary Ellen Scanlon
  • CONTACT:
    315 St. Nicholas Avenue
    Worcester, MA 01606
    508-799-3575
    scanlonm@worcesterschools.net