Public Hearing April 27th

Stop The Takeover of The Holyoke Public Schools

Public Hearing

Monday April 27th 2015
Holyoke War Memorial
310 Appleton Street
4pm to 7pm

On April 27th 2015 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will have its only public hearing to decide the future of the Holyoke Public Schools. At risk is whether the Holyoke Public Schools will remain in local control or be taken over by the state.

Your voice and attendance is critical!

Please help spread the word to everyone by sharing this event on your wall and by inviting other parents, students, teachers, city officials and community members!

HTA General Assembly Monday April 13 HHS 6pm

Members of the HTA,

The time is right for a general membership meeting of the Holyoke Teachers Association. It’s been incredible to see all of the organizing work that has taken place over the past few weeks, and it’s important for all members to come together and share what they have learned through this experience.

We have a committed team fighting the state takeover of our public schools. We are working collaboratively with the Holyoke School Committee and Superintendent Sergio Paez to keep public schools in public hands. Parents, students and local leaders have expressed their faith in our work, as evidenced by the incredible turnout at the Holyoke Senior Center on April 2nd. Getting the community together to support our schools is something that we can be proud of and can help us to ensure that Holyoke educators are at the table when decisions about our schools and our work are being made.

I took my election as president of the HTA as a message from all of you to push for schools that teach the whole child, schools that are not data driven, schools that address the larger issues weighing on students entering our classrooms. Well before Mitchell Chester’s maneuvering, I’ve considered it my mission to work with you and members of the community to transform Holyoke public schools so they best serve all students attending them.

I alone do not have the answer for creating those schools. The HTA Executive Board alone does not have the answer for creating those schools. But I do believe that the answers are among the entire membership of the HTA.

I will leave you with a thought from one of my very first President’s Message:

No matter what anyone says, OUR students are awesome. No matter what anyone says, OUR city is awesome. No matter what anyone says, OUR teachers are awesome. Hold your heads up high. Walk with confidence. You’re a Holyoke Teacher. Be proud.

Please attend the General Assembly Meeting at HHS auditorium on Monday, April 13th at 6pm.

In Solidarity,

Gus Morales
HTA President

President’s Message – Clearing The Air

Members of the Holyoke Teachers Association are deeply disturbed by how the threatened state takeover of our schools has deepened divisions, increased mistrust and destabilized our system. We are asking Superintendent Paez to join the union, the community, the parents and students in focusing our attention on the real threat to our community – a Level 5 designation and loss of public control of our public schools.

I would like to set the record straight on what the HTA has been doing over the past few weeks and what we plan to do now. Far from claiming that Holyoke already has the schools our children deserve, we are proclaiming loudly that Holyoke does NOT have the schools our children deserve.

We are asking teachers, students, parents and other community residents what their vision is for those schools. They have a lot of ideas, including better services for English language learners and special needs students and a rich curriculum with art, music and physical education in buildings that are as safe and well-equipped as those attended by children in wealthier Massachusetts cities and towns.

Far from defending the status quo, we are calling for nothing short of a major and dramatic change in society’s practices and values so that together we can drive policies that reduce poverty and guarantee all children a quality education – regardless of the color of their skin or their language of origin.

We have not heard anything from state policymakers that suggests these priorities are the state’s priorities. In fact I’m not sure how state policymakers would have any idea what the Holyoke community wants, since the first public hearing in Holyoke on this issue is likely to be on the eve of a final vote on the takeover – in other words, after the policymakers have already made up their minds.

To date, state intervention in Holyoke has been anything but helpful – both in the past when America’s Choice was brought in and as of now. Even the process the state has used in moving toward designating our schools “Level 5” has created huge rifts, hard feelings and bad blood. That’s what happens when a policy is rammed down the throat of a community without adequate input or a commitment to work with those who are most affected.

We stand for the children of Holyoke, and we stand with them. We invite the administration to stand with us. Together we can develop a strong vision for the schools Holyoke students deserve.  The entire community needs to come together to create a shared vision of the schools Holyoke children deserve.

In Solidarity,

Gus Morales

HTA President

Holyoke Unites For Our Schools – Upcoming Event

Please join Reclaim Our Schools/ Reclamar Nuestras Escuelas and the Holyoke Public School Unions for a forum with Alex Morse, Aaron Vega, Don Humason, Kevin Jourdain and Devin Sheehan.

Here we will be discussing state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s recent recommendation for a full receivership of the Holyoke public schools. We are inviting all those who can help shape the future of Holyoke public schools to be on hand at this important meeting.

It’s time to UNITE! We must demand that the state leave Holyoke Public Schools in Public Hands.

Thursday April 2
4:30 p.m.
Holyoke Senior Center
291 Pine St

Rescheduled – Reclaim Our Schools Meeting


January 15th 2015


Holyoke High

In light of the news that there is potential for a full takeover of the Holyoke schools we have a lot of organizing and mobilizing to do to make this forum a success. We need to have a huge representation from students, teachers, and parents to help demand a vision for our schools which are left in public hands.