City and school officials said today they’re launching an “intervention” to improve long-struggling Madison Park Technical Vocational High School — a move that could mean some teachers will be involuntarily transferred and some school leaders might be replaced.
John McDonough, the interim schools superintendent, and Boston Teachers Union President Richard Stutman told staff at the Roxbury school this afternoon “that there is a real potential that as a result of the intervention some staff members may be involuntarily reassigned from their positions. The intervention tools may also include replacing some leadership staff,” according to a school system statement.
“Our message to one hundred percent of the staff at Madison Park is that things are changing,” McDonough said in the statement. “There are many talented and dedicated people here who we hope will join us in this effort to move this school forward.”
The intervention is intended to ensure that the school’s Innovation Plan, approved by the Boston School Committee in June 2012, is implemented “with fidelity,” the statement said.
Since the plan was approved, the system has invested more than $1 million in technology, textbooks, and technical/vocational materials, the statement said.
But the school has not made nearly enough progress, the statement said, citing continuing problems with attendance and the fact that only 30 of the school’s 1,100 students participated last year in an internship or cooperative career or vocational opportunity.
“It’s time for action,” Mayor Martin Walsh said in the statement. “There have been promises made to these students but not enough progress. These students have tremendous potential and they need to see real changes. The existing Innovation Plan is our roadmap to success and I have called an exceptional team together to put it in place.”
Under the intervention, rules for which are outlined in the teachers’ union contract, the schools will appoint three members to a seven-person board, the union will appoint three and both sides will jointly decide on a seventh member. The team will study the reasons for underperformance and present a plan for improvement, the statement said.
The city’s only vocational school, Madison Park has been plagued for years with low standardized test scores and low graduation rates. It has continued to struggle, even after receiving extra resources and extending the school day for more instruction.
The stakes for turning around Madison Park are high, officials say. It is part of a fledgling program that allows students to enroll in nearby Roxbury Community College. The initiative will ultimately let students earn a high school diploma, associate’s degree, and technical certification.