Governor visits University Park Campus School; praises model

Dignitaries experience ‘magic’ of Clark and city school partnership

Gov. Deval Patrick and Clark President John Bassett listen as students talk about UPCS.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Clark President John Bassett listen as students talk about UPCS.

WORCESTER, MA—Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, along with a host of officials and media, visited the University Park Campus School on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The visit included a tour and press conference to address statewide school reform legislation and highlight the UPCS model of excellence. The Governor participated in classroom lessons, answering and asking questions along with students of the grade 7-12 school. During a class taught by Dan St. Louis, a Clark alumnus (B.A. ’00/Masters in Teaching ’01), Gov. Patrick asked the students to explain the school’s “magic.” UPCS senior Amanda Surrette offered, “We’re not super geniuses. It’s not who the kids are, necessarily, it’s the environment.”  Patrick agreed, adding “What we’re trying to do is create this kind of environment in every school in the Commonwealth.” St. Louis told a visitor, "This school is the reason I teach."  The grade 7-12 UPCS serves more than 225 students and has compiled an unparalleled record of academic achievement since opening its doors in 1997, in partnership with Clark University. For the last five years, UPCS has ranked first among urban schools serving low-income students on state-mandated English and math graduation exams and in the top quartile of all high schools in the state. Over 95 percent of graduates from its first four graduating classes have gone on to college. Nearly all are first-generation college attendees. Patrick congratulated Clark "for being a model for education. … There’s a magic reflected in the eyes and attitudes and performance of the students here, and in the teachers. I invite anyone trying to understand what we want for the Commonwealth to come to this school.” Other visitors included Secretary of Education Paul Reville, Clark President John Bassett, Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), Mayor Joseph O’Brien, Clark Vice President for Government and Community Affairs Jack Foley; Worcester Public Schools  Superintendent Melinda Boone; and UPCS Principal Ricci Hall (B.A. '97, M.A. '98), who started teaching at UPCS in its first year.   You can read the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s coverage, “Governor Goes to School” and view Charter TV-3’s segment “Patrick pushes education” online.