Significant changes have been made at the Parlin School to address concerns about academic performance by students in most grade levels, Superintendent of Schools Frederick F. Foresteire informed the Everett School Committee Monday night.
A new principal was assigned to run the Parlin, a K through 8 school; openings were created in 16 teaching positions via transfers and refusals to rehire, and openings were then filled with new hires and incoming transfers from other schools, the superintendent announced.
With 61 teachers in all at the Parlin, those new hires and transfers constituted a 26 percent turnover in the school’s frontline workforce.
“As soon as we saw evidence of a problem, we were determined to correct it as quickly as possible,” Superintendent Foresteire said.
In tests administered at the Parlin under the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in April of this year, performance dropped or flat-lined in grades three through eight. Based on those results, the Massachusetts Department of Education would have downgraded the Parlin’s overall academic ranking from Level 2 to Level 3 were it not for the fact that all public schools in the state shifted in 2018 from MCAS to a new test form.
“The state has decided to hold districts harmless for one year in recognition of the challenges students, and especially younger students, encountered with the new testing, meaning the state won’t drop the Parlin one level,” Superintendent Foresteire explained. “However, if the same thing happens next year, the Parlin will be dropped.”
The Department of Education delivered the report containing preliminary 2018 MCAS data to the Everett School Department in early-August. Within two weeks, the superintendent and his administrative team had devised and begun implementing the shake-up at the Parlin.
“We needed to act boldly before the start of the school year, and we did,” Superintendent Foresteire said.
The Parlin’s academic standing has particular importance in Everett because of its large student population and its prominent role, educational and historical, in the community. Currently, more than 900 students are enrolled there, and the school operates 34 separate classrooms across nine grade levels.
Also, with its current ranking at Level 2, the Parlin helps to maintain the good overall standing of the Everett public schools.
Every school in the city now merits either a Level 1 or Level 2 ranking, which is considered by education professionals to be extraordinary for an urban school district like Everett’s.
As recently as 2011, former Parlin principal Erick Naumann (who’s now the Everett High Principal) and Parlin teachers were winning plaudits for having raised student test scores so high that the school was classified a Level 1 performer. It would thus be a dispiriting blow if the Parlin were to drop to Level 3 in 2019.
Mr. Foresteire promised Monday night to do everything possible to avert that decline. In turn, the School Committee voiced emphatic support for the turn-around effort.
“We have complete confidence in Mrs. Crowell and the comprehensive plan that has been put into place for 2018-19,” Committee member David Ela said on Monday afternoon prior to the meeting. “The entire Parlin community should be excited about what the future holds.”