Showing posts with label worcester. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worcester. Show all posts

Friday, September 3, 2021

"the governance of the school committee that determines the direction of the district"

As we approach the local election for Nov 2, I share this statement from Tracy Novick, School Committee member of Worcester, MA. The section shared here is a brief piece of her full comments (link provided). I think this provides great insights for potential School Committee candidates. Tracy makes this statement with 15 years of experience. Experience that is worth learning from. 

"I first think it’s important to note that this is our job. School Committees in Massachusetts under MGL Ch. 71, §37 are described as having four core responsibilities, one of which is “to select and terminate the superintendent.” This is not the job of interest groups, of business interests, of non-profit entities…it is the job of the Worcester School Committee, period. I intend, and I believe my colleagues intend, to do our job, as it is our job to do. 

It is the governance of the school committee that determines the direction of the district. I have heard it said that the superintendent is a reflection of the school committee. In selecting the superintendent, the school committee expresses a set of values and communicates the level of professionalism the committee expects of its employees. It ultimately also determines the quality of the education the district delivers to students. 

Second, the most important thing that any committee needs to do in conducting a superintendent search is tell the truth to their community. If they intend to appoint an internal candidate, they should say so. If they are going to do a full, inclusive national search, then they have the responsibility to not only say so, but to do so.

The Worcester School Committee will conduct a full, inclusive national search, period. "

Read the full statement here -> 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"it’s never been a better time to consider a job in craft beer"

"Timberyard Brewing Co. spent much of 2020 pivoting and belt-tightening.

The East Brookfield brewer furloughed all five of its part-time servers last March, then tried for the better part of the spring and summer to find the hours to piece its staff together again.

This year, though, Timberyard has already hired six new servers and a kitchen assistant. Production has increased by 200%, as the brewery signed a new distribution deal and hired on its first assistant brewer.

Area breweries were rebounding from the pandemic well before the state lifted all COVID-19 restrictions. Now most breweries are not only on sure enough footing to hire their employees back, but also need to add more staff to prepare for the large crowds expected this summer."
Continue reading the article online

Thursday, May 13, 2021

MA news: PawSox now WooSox; “It’s a weird feeling”

"The PawSox Moved, but Pawtucket Has Yet to Move On "
"The man entrusted with the key approached a dull-gray door flecked with rust. A turn of the wrist threw the lock to reveal a ballpark in suspension, its outfield far from true-hop ready, its billboards fading, its thousands of empty seats the hard-plastic playground of pigeons.

Maybe Pawtucket should charge the birds admission, said the employee, Chris Crawley, who is the maintenance manager for the Rhode Island city of 71,000. His joke was of the coping kind.

It was a sunny and mild Tuesday, perfect for the home opener of the spanking new Worcester Red Sox in a spanking new ballpark 40 miles to the north, in Massachusetts. That is all well and good and hooray for baseball, but — for a half-century and up until very recently — the Worcester Red Sox were known as the Pawtucket Red Sox."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
a night at McCoy in 2019
a night at McCoy in 2019

Monday, March 29, 2021

Worcester getting into their school start time discussion

The Worcester Public School District is getting into their school start time discussion. Yes, remember that? Franklin put it aside to deal with the Davis Thayer issue and then the pandemic hit. It is still sitting on the sidelines. 

The Davis Thayer issue remains only partially resolved, so it would seem that the Franklin school start time discussion is not likely to resume anytime soon. 

The decision to close Davis Thayer effective September 2021 was made by the School Committee at their Feb 9, 2021 meeting. Planning on the transition of Thayer students to the Keller facility for September are underway. The FY 2022 budget is being adjusted to account for what savings and/or expenses would occur to make the transition seamless for both school and Town sides of the budget. (The School budget handles the education side, the Town budget handles the facility operation side.)

The decision to make the Davis Thayer building 'surplus' for the School District has not yet be scheduled. The Town of Franklin can't do much officially without that notification from the School District. 

The next big item the School Committee (and community) will get into should be development of the 'master plan' for the school district. Recall that the facility utilization report revealed the District could operate with less schools than it currently has. The excess capacity could be addressed by closing additional schools and potentially restructuring to operate with three elementary schools, one middle school all feeding to Franklin High. How to get to this position, if it is desired, is what the 'master plan' should work on.

Running with excess capacity is a budget issue and will need to be addressed sooner or later.  In the meantime, you can read what Worcester is starting here

Washington Post had an article recently touching on how sleep times have been affected by the remote learning schedules of the pandemic:

Worcester getting into their school start time discussion
Worcester getting into their school start time discussion

Refer to the Meeting Notes page for all the reporting and audio files for the prior School Committee and subcommittee meetings  

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Polar Park will not be Fenway

"Before they built Polar Park, the Worcester Red Sox hosted 21 fan meetings and jotted down 877 ideas. One thing was crystal clear: Worcester didn’t want its new stadium to be Fenway Park.

“Worcester wanted something different. They didn’t want to be Fenway green,” says Dr. Charles Steinberg, Worcester Red Sox president. So most everything will be blue; from the understated industrial corrugated metal exterior to the blue seats and 22-foot blue Worcester Wall in right field with seats and a fan deck.

No Green Monster in left?

“There was a naturalness to the Green Monster that we didn’t want to force,” says chairman and principal owner Larry Lucchino. “And there was a hill in right field that we needed to build a wall in front of.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

There was still snow at Polar Park in early March as construction continued.Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff
There was still snow at Polar Park in early March as construction continued.Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Tracy Novick "on the reopening of school buildings "

Via Tracy Novick:

"I was asked to write up what I said at last night's Worcester School Committee meeting about our vote to reopen school buildings. I don't write my comments ahead of time--I speak from notes--and in this case, I was partly responding to the public comment that preceded our vote.
If you'd like to hear it, you can watch it on YouTube here."  (if the video doesn't start at 2:00.16, then skip ahead to that point to get to this particular topic. BTW - Tracy finishes about 2:13 (so only about 13 minutes but a great summary!)

The text of Tracy's remarks


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

"When people stopped wearing masks in 1919 there was a resurgence"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin: 

"Just as Linda Hixon and Shawn Driscoll were finishing their book, “The Grip: The 1918 Pandemic and a City Under Siege,” last winter, another pandemic hit.

They believe that after more than 100 years have passed, the United States should have learned more about how to protect itself from COVID-19.

“I’d have to say we’ve learned nothing from the 1918 pandemic,” Hixon said. “We should have and we can, but we didn’t.”

Driscoll said the 1918 flu pandemic should have taught everyone that local, state and federal governments need to work together to implement safety measures, and decide when to shut down and reopen businesses and schools. But somehow it didn’t.

“I don’t think we’re truly taking the lessons that need to be learned from 1918-19 and applying them to the 21st century,” he said."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Monday, August 17, 2020

“As we all know, the movement started in Worcester in 1850”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin: 

When the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1920, giving women the right to vote, it was after 70 years of hard work that started with a convention in Worcester.

There were other discussions held about women’s rights, including the heralded regional convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 organized by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but the first national Women’s Rights Convention held in Worcester in 1850 was a foundation to the cause of women’s rights. The convention was organized by prominent women’s rights activists, including Lucy Stone of West Brookfield and Abby Kelley Foster of Worcester. It proved such a success they followed it up the next year with a second national convention in Worcester.

The women’s movement grew out of efforts to abolish slavery for which both Stone, Foster and Foster’s husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, were all active. Stone gave her first address on women’s rights three years before the convention from the pulpit of the Evangelical Congregational Church in Gardner, where her brother, the Rev. William Stone, was minister.

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Tracy Novick explains MA school funding for Worcester

Tracy Novick works as a field director for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), and as a parent and resident of Worcester, MA, she was recently re-elected to the Worcester School Committee. She tries to explain the MA school funding formula/process in less than 10 minutes and comes close.

As you listen to this, substitute "Franklin" for "Worcester". We have one charter school, they have several. We have some Title 1 students, they have far more than we do. 

I'd share the school budget numbers to plug in to replace the Worcester numbers but those are influx this year given the circumstances of the pandemic.  You can find the 'current' and prior school budget info on the School Committee page:

Video link =

Tracy writes about the Worcester schools
For more about MASC  visit

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tracy Novick: "The pit in my stomach"

Tracy Novick is a member of the Worcester (MA) School Committee, and a field director for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). While she has a bunch of disclaimers as she opens her article, from her observations she asks some questions on how to re-open schools:

"Please make no mistake: having our kids out of school is absolutely catastrophic to their education, and, in many cases, to their physical and mental health. In some cases, this has been exponentially increased by the lack of timely response, or mismanagement, or other leadership lacks.

I'm not under any illusions on how destructive this time is to many.

I also spend a good bit of time in and around schools, and schools of different types. I know what it's like in a suburban high school at lunchtime, and what it's like at an urban elementary school at recess. I've been in the closets that pass for offices for speech therapists and myriad of other support staff, the auto bays and shops of a vocational school at work, the flood of students running for buses at the end of the day.
I've also been in a lot of bathrooms.
I don't of course know it all, but know what a lot of that looks like in schools in Massachusetts right now.

I don't know how we do it without kids touching each other and breathing on each other and their teachers. I mean that, genuinely. I have tried and tried to figure out how you'd do it."
A worthy read, to continue follow this link:

Tracy's MASC profile page  (her profile needs to be updated as she got re-elected to the Worcester School Committee in Nov 2019).

Tracy Novick: "The pit in my stomach"
Tracy Novick: "The pit in my stomach"

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

In the News: Eversource plan unnecessary; Polar Park construction resumes

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Citing a lack of evidence and need, an independent consultant hired by the Select Board has concluded that Eversource’s plan to replace a 3.7-mile natural gas line that runs through Hopkinton and Ashland is severely flawed.

Eversource is looking to decommission about 4 miles of underground piping that runs through Ashland and Hopkinton and place new 12-inch pipes alongside them.

In Ashland, the gas pipeline runs for 2.5 miles and intersects through more than 80 residential parcels, the Chestnut Tree Apartments and a number of environmentally sensitive areas, including portions of the wetlands and the conservation-restricted Great Bend Farm Trust. The company says the project is needed to address pressure drop problems and provide a more reliable and consistent flow of natural gas to customers in Greater Framingham.

In June 2018, Eversource filed an application with the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board, an agency that reviews large scale energy projects. In its application, the company also included preliminary information about an alternative under-street route should the Siting Board deny its request to place the new pipes on the existing easement."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. has given the OK for work to resume this week on some construction projects here, Polar Park being one of them. What happens next, what does the resumption of work mean for the immediate and longer range future?

That’s a different story.

In a prepared statement, Worcester Red Sox chairman Larry Lucchino said this:

“While we look forward to resuming the construction of Worcester’s new ballpark, we recognize that precautions, health, and safety remain paramount. We will support our local construction workers, and we will abide by the conditions set forth by our leaders to ensure an environment that complies with their public policy and expert medical recommendations."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

In the News: Stop& Shop opens early hours for seniors; Polar Park gets first steel beams

From the Milford Daily News, an article of interest for Franklin:
"Massachusetts-based grocery store Stop & Shop, with locations in Milford, Framingham and other area towns, announced it would begin offering special shopping times to accommodate and protect older customers.

“Effective on Thursday, March 19, Stop & Shop will create hours specifically geared to accommodate customers 60 and older,” the company said in a statement. “Stop & Shop stores will open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. ONLY for customers over the age of 60 who the CDC and local health officials say are most vulnerable.”

The company said it was making the decision to allow community members in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing.

Stop & Shop said it would not be requesting ID for entry, but added that they hope everyone would respect the purpose of the early opening, and “do the right thing for our older neighbors.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"The first pieces of steel went skyward in Polar Park Monday and changed Worcester Red Sox president Dr. Charles Steinberg’s image of what will be come April 2021.

Before this, Steinberg couldn’t see much beyond the weeds, cracked asphalt and rocks above Madison Street that preceded what is becoming a ballpark.

“The vision is Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith,” said Steinberg, while standing just above where the WooSox bullpen will be along the first base line. “They have 3D architectural talent that I don’t have. I imagine the cotton candy and the Cracker Jacks. I imagine where your seats will be and how many jalapeƱos are on your nachos.

“Larry and Janet Marie have that visual ability to see what could be, and they did it with Camden Yards. Larry had that vision, and Janet Marie was able to translate it to the architects. Larry had the vision of Petco Park in San Diego, and I did not. That’s not my area.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

In the News: college closure rules "a watershed moment"; Polar Park construction estimates rise

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"State higher education officials on Friday approved a new set of regulations that will govern how they screen colleges and universities for financial risks and potential closures.

Education Secretary James Peyser said the Board of Higher Education’s vote marked a “watershed moment.”

“On the one hand, it’s an incremental shift,” Peyser said. “On the other hand, it’s really a major change in the nature of our relationship as a board and as a state in terms of our responsibility for ensuring the health of our higher education system writ large, not just the public system.”

The sudden 2018 closure of Mount Ida College in Newton drew new attention to the challenges faced by small, private colleges grappling with enrollment declines and other demographic trends, and sparked calls to protect current and prospective students from being blindsided by a closure."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

In the News: college closure rules "a milestone"
In the News: college closure rules "a milestone"

"Construction costs for Polar Park have increased by $9.5 million over initial estimates, while costs to acquire the properties needed for the ballpark, relocate businesses and prepare the site for development have run roughly $20 million more than what was anticipated.

That has prompted city officials to negotiate changes to the agreements with the ballclub that will be playing at Polar Park starting in 2021 and for the private development that will be built as part of the overall $240 million redevelopment of the Kelley Square/Canal District area.

Those revisions, which are detailed in an 11-page report to the City Council for its meeting Tuesday night, primarily deal with actions to generate more revenue to cover those additional costs.

It also includes a bigger private development program that will be brought online and generate new tax revenues sooner."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

In the News: "We're all in big trouble"; Polar Park plans reveal a 'Worcester Wall'

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

‘We’re all in big trouble’: Climate panel sees a dire future

"Earth is in more hot water than ever before, and so are we, an expert United Nations climate panel warned in a grim new report Wednesday.

Sea levels are rising at an ever-faster rate as ice and snow shrink, and oceans are getting more acidic and losing oxygen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report issued as world leaders met at the United Nations.

It warned that if steps aren’t taken to reduce emissions and slow global warming, seas will rise 3 feet by the end of the century, with many fewer fish, less snow and ice, stronger and wetter hurricanes and other, nastier weather systems.

“The oceans and the icy parts of the world are in big trouble, and that means we’re all in big trouble, too,” said one of the report’s lead authors, Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. “The changes are accelerating.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Plans for Polar Park call for seating atop a ‘Worcester Wall’

"Much-anticipated plans for the Polar Park project and associated private developmen proposed for the Canal District and Kelley Square area have been filed with the Planning Board.

Five applications seeking definitive site plan approval for various aspects of the overall project have been filed by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority, which is overseeing the construction of the ballpark and a municipal parking garage, and Madison WG Holdings, LLC, which is doing the private development.

In some instances, the applications were jointly filed by the WRA and Madison WG Holdings.

All the applications are scheduled to go before the Planning Board on Oct. 9."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"Funny part is, we played in these parking lots when we were kids"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman, a Worcester native, was right at home. So was former Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd.

The star battery of the 1986 American League pennant-winning Red Sox on Monday christened home plate, or rather, where home plate will be when the new Polar Park opens in 2021.

And they led a gaggle of children in an inaugural charge around what will be the base paths in Worcester’s new field of dreams.

The Sox legends joined the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox and three current PawSox players as guests of honor in ceremonies at the site of the future home of the Boston Red Sox top minor-league club, at Gold and Washington streets just outside Kelley Square."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Catch the PawSox while they are still playing in McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket this year and next.

"Funny part is, we played in these parking lots when we were kids"
"Funny part is, we played in these parking lots when we were kids"

Friday, July 12, 2019

“We’re getting robbed of something culturally and financially”

From the Boston Globe, articles of interest for Franklin:

"An artist’s rendering showed a shiny new ballpark filled with Red Sox fans. State officials called it a historic moment. City officials hailed a “spirit of optimism.” Business leaders vowed to build restaurants and offices nearby.

There was even a polar bear mascot on hand.

It was a moment many imagined happening in Rhode Island over the past few years as the Pawtucket Red Sox considered moving from the old McCoy Stadium to Providence or, perhaps, a new Pawtucket ballpark."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

I grew up in Pawtucket, just down the street from McCoy Stadium. I played pick up baseball on the fields outside the park that are now parking lots. I will still go to games at McCoy before they leave for Worcester. It is an easy ride, free parking and a relatively reasonable night out. The starting lineup for the PawSox will usually have one or more players who had been called up to Boston, if not a regular who is down for rehab before getting back to Boston. I wasn't close enough to the wheeling and dealing to get a deal done but it will be a sad day when the team leaves.

sunset at McCoy in June, 2019
sunset at McCoy in June, 2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

21 Franklin High School Musicians Perform in Central Districts

Twenty one members of the Franklin High School music program auditioned and were accepted into the 2019 Massachusetts Central District Honor Ensembles. The performance will take place on January 19 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.

Participating in the Central District Band will be William Cerier -trumpet, Ari Delosreyes-White -french horn, Lauren Dennett -tenor sax, Nipun Goel -trumpet, Sean Hanly -tuba, Kathleen Houlihan -alto sax, Emma Kucich -flute, Augustine Marzoratti -clarinet, Prem Pendkar -alto sax.

Franklin High School students performing with the Central District Jazz Band will be Robert Castro - Drum Set and Ian Richardson -Bass.

Selected to perform with the Central District Orchestra is Elizabeth Ball-violin, Christopher Broyles -viola, Ryan Darcey -violin, Chai Harsha -viola, Warren Loukota -cello, Brinda Venkataraman -violin and Sarayu Vijayanagaram -violin.

Accepted into the Central District Chorus are Claire Bauer, Jenna VanHyning and John Pokorny.

Twenty one members of the Franklin High School music program
Twenty one members of the Franklin High School music program

Friday, March 16, 2018

"her story is an encouraging reminder of just how potent, and how possible, that dream can be"

Near East rice pilaf is a staple in our household and little did I know that it originated in Worcester. Sharing from the Boston Globe this MA connection:

"Growing up in Shrewsbury in the 1970s, our weeknight dinners were pretty straightforward affairs: chicken Kiev or London broil; Prince spaghetti or tuna casserole. And while we often switched up the side dishes from Birds Eye frozen corn to Birds Eye frozen peas, one thing remained consistent — we always had Near East rice pilaf, and it was always prepared in the same Revere Ware saucepan that my parents received as a wedding gift in 1966. 
I loved Near East as a kid. In fact, I still do. That salty, nutty mix of rice and toasted orzo along with its accompanying paper flavor pack of onion, garlic, and bouillon. So in love was my family with Near East that when we left Shrewsbury for Cincinnati in 1979, my mother packed a case of the rectangular white boxes, with their famous wheat stalk illustrations and simple earth-tones, into our station wagon, fearing we wouldn’t be able to find it in the Midwest. Luckily we did, and Near East remained a dinnertime staple well into my 20s, when I started eschewing frozen vegetables and pre-made rice mixes for fresh roasted green beans and arugula salads."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Today, Near East is a New England staple.
Today, Near East is a New England staple.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"These are objects that excite the imagination"

For something to do out of the rain, Worcester is not far away. There is a sword exhibit at the Higgins Armory Museum that sounds interesting!

Occupying a single third-floor gallery, the swords in the exhibit are displayed in separate display cases according to chronology and function. 
In addition to several swords, a placard in each cabinet briefly explains the metal-making techniques used to forge them plus additional information on their special features such as the development of complex hilts to protect the user's hand and evolution of the short-bladed cutlass for fighting on board crowded vessels. 
Some of the exhibit's sections include "Ancient Swords," "Medieval Swords," "After the Middle Ages," "Small Swords," "Naval Swords," "American Swords," "Swords of Ceremony and Fancy" and "Making and Using a Sword."

Read more:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Worcester Academy Inauguration project

Thanks to my daughter for the tip, here is an example of a local high school project using social media to report on and record their experiences of the upcoming inauguration.

Their blog can be found here.

This is a sample video posted to YouTube and their blog, recorded with a Flip camera

Way to go Worcester Academy!