Education chief gets into class projects; Mitchell Chester making school rounds.Byline: Lynne Klaft
LEOMINSTER - Mitchell D. Chester, state commissioner of education, continued to make the rounds of the state's school systems, stopping at Northwest Elementary and Leominster High School Leominster High School (also known as Leominster High or LHS) is a public high school located in Leominster, Massachusetts. It is the only secondary educational institution found in Leominster. It is situated on a sprawling 26-acre campus in the western area of Leominster. yesterday morning before traveling to Crocker Elementary and Fitchburg High in the afternoon.
Before meeting with students, teachers and parents for roundtable discussions at Leominster High, Mr. Chester visited an English class discussing the Holocaust, watched biology students dissect dissect /dis·sect/ (di-sekt´) (di-sekt´)
1. to cut apart, or separate.
2. to expose structures of a cadaver for anatomical study.
v. frogs in a laboratory, saw vocational education vocational education, training designed to advance individuals' general proficiency, especially in relation to their present or future occupations. The term does not normally include training for the professions. students working on house construction projects and observed a culinary arts class learning the correct way to break eggs and make breakfast.
Mr. Chester asked
Danielle McAuliffe's ninth-grade English class what they thought needed improving in their school.
Air conditioning air conditioning, mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful. , a new school building and books were suggested.
When student Lucas Tocci was asked what he meant by books, he replied: "Well, I can show you my algebra algebra, branch of mathematics concerned with operations on sets of numbers or other elements that are often represented by symbols. Algebra is a generalization of arithmetic and gains much of its power from dealing symbolically with elements and operations (such as book; it's not in very good shape."
Superintendent of Schools Nadine Binkley assured the students the school would be getting new books in the fall.
"I'm trying to get around to all the schools in the state and I am interested in what you can tell me," Mr. Chester said to nine Leominster High students who met with him.
"Tell me what you like about your school; any suggestions for me; comments about MCAS McCune-Albright syndrome (MCAS)
A genetic syndrome characterized in girls by the development of ovarian cysts and puberty before the age of 8, together with abnormalities of bone structure and skin pigmentation.
Mentioned in: Ovarian Cysts (testing) - is it hard or easy?" Mr. Chester asked.
The students told the commissioner they thought MCAS testing was nerve-racking and strenuous stren·u·ous
1. Requiring great effort, energy, or exertion: a strenuous task.
2. Vigorously active; energetic or zealous. , that they liked the small learning structure of freshman and sophomore years, mentioned scheduling of class conflicts, that the lunch program was offering healthier foods, they were concerned about limited elective elective
non-urgent; at an elected time, e.g. of surgery.
elective adjective Referring to that which is planned or undertaken by choice and without urgency, as in elective surgery, see there noun Graduate education noun options, and gender biases that existed in the vocational and engineering classes.
One girl in the automotive vocational classes said there were too few female students in her classes because "a lot of girls think they can't do it, because there are so many boys in the courses."
Mr. Chester agreed with her, saying he could never understand why men dominate the technology and engineering fields.
"What about peer pressure, do you get pressured to try drugs, sex, things you are not comfortable doing?" Mr. Chester said.
The students said they generally did not feel that kind of pressure and just "hung out" with students who were their friends, those groups changing over the years.
Parents and teachers spent time with the commissioner, asking him his position on re-evaluating MCAS testing as an educational tool, telling him schools have been unfairly labeled as "underperforming."
They also proposed fine arts curriculums be mandated in all schools, and noted difficulties in finding qualified teachers in physics and chemistry, making the latest in technology available to all students to prepare them for college, and upgrading the high school building.
"I have a strong sense that this is a district on the move, finding new ways to overcome any low points with the help of the whole community," Mr. Chester said.
"I sense a positive energy and commitment, and it was very helpful to hear from you all. I will be taking these lessons back to Boston, keeping them in mind when I make decisions."
Mr. Chester, a native of Connecticut, started his career as an elementary school elementary school: see school. classroom teacher, served as the senior assessment associate for the Connecticut Department of Education and later the executive director of accountability and assessment for the Philadelphia public schools.
Before being appointed last month, he served as second in command in the Ohio state education system as senior associate state superintendent for Ohio public schools.
Mr. Chester was sworn in by Gov. Deval L. Patrick May 19 as the state's 23rd commissioner of education, replacing David P. Driscoll, who retired in August.
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer. : ALEX WITKOWICZ
CUTLINE: Mitchell D. Chester, state commissioner of education, discusses frog dissection dissection /dis·sec·tion/ (di-sek´shun)
1. the act of dissecting.
2. a part or whole of an organism prepared by dissecting. with biology students Rob Kurzanski and Cara Dellachiaie at Leominster High School yesterday.