first_imgWhile Massachusetts K-12 students as a group consistently rank at or near the top in the nation for their academic performance, not every local school district has found the secret to success.Take Lawrence, an industrial, Latino-majority city 25 miles north of Boston with a school system that has about 13,000 students, 90 percent of whom are from low-income homes and 70 percent of whom speak English as a second language. The district had a long history of leadership instability and student underperformance. Only half of its students typically graduated from high school in four years, and its test scores ranked in the bottom five for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) state-run exams for both math and English language arts during the 2010-2011 school year.That spotty track record prompted state officials, for the first time, to take control of the school system in late 2011, paving the way for a top-to-bottom reorganization, new leadership, and sweeping reforms that began in early 2012 and are still continuing.Among the changes:Higher performance expectations were established for the district;More flexibility was added for each school to determine what strategies worked best and what support was needed;The management of three schools was turned over to charter groups that expanded instruction by 90 minutes per day;District-run schools added enrichment offerings after school for kids, while teachers met to discuss and prepare daily plans;Outside data experts were brought in to guide ongoing changes;A new teacher compensation structure and contract was reached. There was broad new hiring of principals and assistant principals, and dismissal of low-performing teachers.Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) have studied the first round of academic achievement data to come out of Lawrence since the turnaround effort started. During a discussion Tuesday evening, they offered a first look at how the process is going. Compared with the state’s 48 other low-income-majority school districts, Lawrence students closed the achievement gap by two-thirds in 2012-2013.“There’s no question that in the first year of the turnaround, Lawrence’s achievement in math really jumped up by a substantial amount, whether you compare it to the state as a whole or to other low-income districts,” said Joshua Goodman, assistant professor of public policy at HKS and an HGSE faculty member, who was part of the research team.While the English language arts scores did not improve on average, those students who attended “acceleration academies” ― new weeklong intensive sessions held during school vacation breaks and taught by top teachers ― showed improvement both there and in math. “These gains that we see in math in particular are pretty widespread … so that’s somewhat comforting to us in the sense that it means these results are not being driven by one or two or three schools doing remarkable things,” said Goodman.The group will examine data from the current school year when it becomes available in early fall.“We’re trying to do something different here in Lawrence, and I think it really comes down to a school-by-school and student-by-student strategy,” said Seth Racine, chief redesign officer at Lawrence Public Schools. “We’re not trying to impose one model or one intervention on everybody.”“To me, this is very encouraging news,” said Paul Reville, the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration at HGSE and the Massachusetts secretary of education from 2008 through 2012. Reville noted that given the country’s “terrible” track record trying to improve chronically underperforming schools, Lawrence is in the national spotlight as other districts and policymakers consider similar reforms.“Nowhere has a state done a good job in turning around the academic performance of a school district, and everyone has been very hopeful from the outset that we’re going to be the first state to break that logjam and to show that we can get promising educational results from an enlightened strategy” of school takeovers, he said.“We’ve got a lot more work to do if we’re going to make good on this promise of education reform, which is ‘we’re going to educate all students to a high level,’ and all means all.”last_img read more

first_img32 Abbott St, New Farm.CLASSIC grandeur and contemporary features offer the perfect blend of old meets new in this inner-city renovation.On a 405sq m block, the residence at 32 Abbott Street in New Farm is near the river and New Farm Park, and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a double-car garage.The home, which is for sale via auction at 10am on October 7, is open for inspection by appointment.A fence with hedging opens to a courtyard with steps up to a covered veranda with timber latticework.From the veranda is entry to the first floor of the house, featuring high ceilings, VJ walls, squared archways and polished timber floors. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoA contemporary kitchen with a nod to the past.A central hallway passes two bedrooms, both with built-in wardrobes and access through double doors to the veranda. The hallway then opens to a study/library with built-in shelving and an original fireplace. Adjoining this space is the house’s main bedroom, including a walk-in wardrobe and access to a bathroom with a separate bath and shower.To the rear of the level is a recently renovated kitchen with an island benchtop, industrial-sized sink, stainless steel appliances, breakfast bar and timber-finished cabinetry.Near the kitchen is an open-plan living and dining space, with bi-fold doors opening to a covered veranda with garden views. The home has been opened up to allow for open plan living.Back inside, floating stairs lead down to the residence’s ground floor, with the staircase adjacent to double-storey glass panels that have been installed to allow for maximum natural light. The lower level includes a rumpus room with a built-in entertainment unit, undercroft storage and two utility rooms with modern ensuites and walk-in wardrobes.Bi-fold doors open the rumpus room out to a covered deck and backyard surrounded by hedges and trees.Other features of the pre-war house include a laundry, airconditioning and a double garage. Agent Brandon Wortley of Ray White New Farm said the residence offered a genuine sense of comfort and warmth with a versatile layout to suit multiple buying demographics. Wooden floors have a charm all their own. The rear of the home has ample family living space.“An unassuming and quaint streetscape masks the true size of the home, with the rear extension offering ample family living and a delightful northeast facing veranda,” said Mr Wortley, who was marketing the home with Nicholas Given.“This is a classic family home that ticks all the boxes while providing an abundance of character.”last_img read more

first_imgRelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk EPL: Son fires four past Southampton Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double Kubrat Pulev has warned Anthony Joshua he is “ready to come to London” to “bust up” the world heavyweight champion. Negotiations to finalise Joshua’s next fight have hinged mainly on the location – the IBF, WBA and WBO champion’s preference is a UK homecoming after two fights abroad in 2019, and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has emerged as the “frontrunner” to host a fight in June. But Pulev has mocked Joshua, saying: “Calm down champ, I see that you are very worried to fight away from home and you are absolutely right to be, haha! “But rest assured, if necessary I’m ready to come to London and bust you up in front of your own fans! “Until then, tell Mr. Hearn not to get ahead of himself, we do not have a deal yet!” Promoter Eddie Hearn claimed on Thursday a deal to pit Joshua against his IBF mandatory challenger was “very close”. “We’ve had offers in from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “He’s made it very clear to me, I want to come home. I want to box in London next. I’ve been to Madison Square Garden, I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, bring me home. Forget the other offers, bring me home. “He wants to fight in London in June. We’re on the verge of making that happen now. Spurs is the front runner and that’s what he’s asked me to do. We’ll be delivering that for him.” Bulgaria’s Pulev has only ever lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 29 fights but has since beaten Hughie Fury and Derek Chisora. He was initially scheduled to face Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in 2017 but withdrew injured. Oleksandr Usyk is Joshua’s other mandatory challenger, but is behind Pulev in the queue, so is expected to fight Chisora before receiving his shot at the titles. “It looks like Usyk against Chisora is almost there. It’s going to take place a few weeks later than anticipated,” Hearn said. He added that “it looks like terms are agreed” for Dillian Whyte to fight Alexander Povetkin. “It’s a big summer of boxing coming for UK fight fans,” Hearn said. “Led by of course, the biggest star in the sport, finally returning home to London in June.”Tags: Anthony JoshuaEddie HearnKubrat PulevlondonTottenham Hotspurlast_img read more

first_imgDoctors believe a woman’s silicone breast implants saved her life after she survived a close-range gunshot wound to the chest.SAGE medical journal published a case study last week where doctors described how a silicone breast implant deflected a bullet away from a 30-year-old woman’s vital organs.The incident took place in Toronto Canada two years ago. The woman suffered a gunshot wound, broken ribs and broken implants. None of her major organs were touched because the implant was likely responsible for deflecting the bullet’s trajectory, which saved her life, doctors said.Medics found the bullet in the woman’s right lower anterior thoracic wall below the right breast.Doctor’s removed the implants and she was cleared by the trauma service.The firearm was never recovered and the shooter remains unknown, according to the report.last_img read more