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Westfield, Mass. Named an HMH Intervention District of Excellence for its Commitment to Student-Centered Vision for the Future

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recognizes ongoing growth in student literacy demonstrated throughout Western Massachusetts district

May 03, 2017

Westfield Public SchoolsBOSTON – Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced that it has named Westfield Public School District (WPSD) an Intervention District of Excellence. HMH recognizes Westfield for its holistic, student-centered approach to improving literacy skills district-wide, and its efforts to engage the entire Westfield community by inspiring teachers and staff and preparing students for college, careers and beyond.

WPSD’s implementation of the intervention programs READ 180, System 44 and iRead, along with the district’s new five-year Literacy Action Plan that builds upon previous years’ successes, has resulted in demonstrated Lexile™ growth and increased achievement both in the classroom and on standardized tests. In the 2015-2016 school year, 75 percent of students, most of whom had never experienced a full year’s growth in reading achievement, met their Lexile™ growth goal for the academic year.

Additionally, the population of Westfield students who received scores within the two lowest categories (“warning” and “needs improvement”) on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) has significantly decreased, while those who scored “proficient” and “advanced” has increased.

“The growth that continues to take place in the Westfield schools is a direct result of the district’s laser focus on advancing literacy achievement and promoting continuous academic, emotional and social growth,” said Samuel Howe, Senior Vice President of Academic Planning and Analysis, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “This recognition not only celebrates the hardworking students of Westfield, but also the passionate teachers across the district who take pride in enabling young learners to achieve personal success and help them become self-sufficient global citizens.”

HMH honors WPSD as an Intervention District of Excellence for its executional gains around four key instructional areas:

  • High Expectations of Students: WPSD prioritizes its focus on student achievement. Creating purposeful opportunities for writing across the curriculum is a priority, as is building capacity and stamina for reading and comprehending complex texts.
  • Effective and Clear Communication: Feedback garnered from the district-wide distribution of the Westfield Entry Plan Survey, which focuses on district culture, learning practices, governance, leadership and communication, is helping to shape Westfield’s education goals for the 2017-2018 school year and beyond.
  • Focused Professional Development: The demonstrated growth in Westfield is a true testament to the power and leadership of educators across the district. Through coaching and participation in professional learning opportunities, teachers receive ongoing support so they are confident in the programs they teach.
  • High Level of Community Engagement: Collaboration with the greater Westfield community has grown into a partnership with the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, resulting in the creation of the Westfield Education to Business Alliance (WE2BA).

Dan Kane, a READ 180 teacher at Highland Elementary School in Westfield, is retiring after spending thirty-five years in the classroom.

“It has been a tremendous honor to watch these Intervention programs completely transform the confidence levels of students, giving them the ambition and drive to take control of their learning,” said Kane. “When students demonstrate and sustain this type of acceleration that we are seeing in Westfield, we can empower young learners to change the trajectory of their lives.”

“Literacy is the single most important skill necessary to be successful in school, the work place and society, and the entire Westfield community is committed to assisting our students in developing these vital skills,” said Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. “While the work is ongoing, we are honored to be named a District of Excellence as we continue to provide students, teachers and principals the support they need as we move forward in all things literacy.”

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About Westfield School District

Westfield is situated in the foothills of the Berkshires. The area was originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc tribe, and was called Woronoco (meaning “the winding land. The city has a total area of 47.3 square miles and a population of 41,608. The district is dedicated to the success of the families who have chosen the Westfield community. The District collaborates with families to provide a rigorous 21st century instructional program that promotes continuous academic, emotional, and social growth, enabling students to achieve a high level of success.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom. HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.

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Media Contact
Meghan Kelly Daly
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
617-351-5270
Meghan.Daly@hmhco.com
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