It’s the day every student **waits for** all summer long. The first day of school.
Students may not be happy to hear that alarm go off for the first time, but thanks to some new technology and a loyal group of teachers, this school year aims to be one for the record books.
“You can always get better, and we are striving to improve,” Daniel Warwick, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, said.
It has been a theme in the school system, finding ways to improve the experience students have inside the classroom. This will be the second year that students will have laptops, allowing them to access assignments online. Springfield is also the first urban school district in the state to provide a laptop for every student.
“Kids love it,” Warwick said. “We’re very excited about it, great opportunity.”
As the school system adapts, it only benefits their long-term goals.
Over the last 5 years, the dropout rate has been cut in half, down from 10 to 5 percent. While at the same time the graduation rate is up by 12 percent.
Students aren’t the only ones benefiting either. After being the lowest paid in western Mass, Springfield teacher salaries are up nearly 40% in the last 2 years. In part, thanks to a brand new contract settled in the spring.
“Our kids need excellent teachers,” Warwick explained. “So we invested in those teachers, and we are so excited to have that contract settled, because they are the ones working hard in the classroom day in and day out, and they are responsible for the gains we’ve made.”
Mayor Domenic Sarno called the contract good for teachers, students, and the city. It ensures all city teacher salaries meet the average across western Mass.
The school system takes great pride in their teachers, and Warwick said between the contract and increased student achievement, there is much to look forward to.
“A lot of things to celebrate, we’re looking at what we need to get better at, and we are strategizing together to do that together.”
Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.