Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Elias Brookings School leaves its Level 4 status behind on eve of move

Date: 2/12/2015

SPRINGFIELD – On the eve of moving into the new Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School, the School Committee listened to a presentation by the principal and staff of the school about its successful efforts to leave its Level 4 status designated by state education officials.

Brookings is a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school, which was heavily damaged in the June 1, 2011 tornado. Since that time it has been operating in a group of temporary buildings in Ruth Elizabeth Park in the shadow of its original brick building constructed in 1926.

Across Hancock Street, workers are putting the finishing touches on a new school. It will become the home of the students and staff on Feb. 23.

At the Feb. 5 meeting, School Superintendent Daniel Warwick said the exiting Level 4 status is “the most significant accomplishment a school could attain.”

Referring to the temporary building that has housed the school, Warwick added, “Brick and mortar don’t make a school. It’s the kids that go there and the staff who work there.”

Mayor Domenic Sarno said Brookings’s success “proves you don’t need a Taj Mahal to exceed in academics.”

Brookings Principal Terry Powe said rather than presenting a PowerPoint slideshow about what the staff has accomplished, she wanted members to “speak from the heart.”

One after another member of the Brookings staff praised Powe and her leadership. Judy Medina, instructional leadership specialist, recalled starting there in 2006 and said at the time, “There was nothing normal about Brookings.”

The school began turning around two years later when Powe came aboard. Medina called her “the best possible mentor and model for our school.”

Math instructor Stephanie Roscoe told the School Committee that Powe “set the bar high for the teachers.”

Several of the staff members mentioned the philosophy of the school: “It takes teamwork to make the dream work.”

School Committee Vice Chair Christopher Collins said, “Show me a good principal and I’ll show you a good school.”

The School Committee also approved a new class at Central High School, “Screenwriting and Film making.” School Committee member Denise Hurst called the new class that will start this fall “a really exciting opportunity.

Central High School Principal Thaddeus Tokarz told Reminder Publications after the meeting the new class has been in the development and approval process since last summer. Central High School English instructor Brent Northup will be teaching the new course. He has written the film, “The Cowboy and the Tavern,” a drama starring veteran blues man Ed Vadas.

Tokarz said the new course has generated “great interest” among the students.

The School Committee also formally approved a request to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for funding for a number of improvements to Springfield school buildings, including new roofs, windows and doors as well as a replacement school for Brightwood School and Homer Street School.