HOLYOKE, MA – During its second-to-last meeting, the Holyoke Public Schools local stakeholders group discussed a five-page list of recommendations to the receiver.
The local stakeholders group is a short-term advisory committee that will help guide turnaround efforts. After its final meeting on July 1, its recommendations will be sent to Stephen K. Zrike, the new city schools receiver who will begin in early July. The recommendations will be used to guide the state turnaround effort.
The first draft of recommendations from the 18-member local group focuses on 10 points: cultural responsiveness and competence, special education; English language learners; preschool and kindergarten; curriculum; human capital; secondary schools and workforce development; parent, family and community engagement; student support; and instructional support.
Members focused on advocating for certain points during Wednesday’s discussion.
Assistant School Superintendent Paul Hyry-Dermith and Holyoke Teachers Association President Gus Morales spoke of the need for a diverse school staff.
“We’re not talking about diversity in general,” Hyry-Dermith said. “We’re talking about close to 80 percent of our students being Puerto Rican.”
Of the 5,573 students enrolled in Holyoke Public Schools this year, about 4,400 are Latino. Approximately a quarter of the district staff, from custodians to central office staff, are Latino.