Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Numbers, Numbers, and More Numbers....

A reader had requested information regarding the demographics of the districts that make up the 'region' of MVRCS. We were able to come up with that information rather easily but what we did have trouble finding (that we know we've seen) are the number of students that each district is currently sending (including those outside of the MVRCS region of Malden, Everett, Medford, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Melrose). We will locate it and add it to this posting and will include the figures originally requested at the bottom of this post.
While compiling the data requested we stumbled upon the MCAS scores for each district and started analyzing them. As we began looking at the different scores, we were reminded of the message and tone of the 'recruitment' ad that MVRCS recently took out regarding Malden Public schools. The demographics and diversity of the student body between the two schools is vastly different as are the number of English Language Learners and Special Education (or diverse learners) students between the two schools. Additionally, the argument could be made that the longer school year (200 days v. 185 days) and the longer school day (which I believe the two equal an additional year of learning if a child were to complete their education at MVRCS) also help increase the MCAS scores of students at MVRCS. Given this, we thought that it was interesting (and a bit disturbing) that while the students of MVRCS have a longer school year and longer school day, they don't fare so well on the MCAS when compared to some of the other sending districts such as Melrose and Wakefield (and probably Stoneham although we didn't do that comparison). We were disappointed to see that while MVRCS 10th grade students did well on the 2010 MCAS, not all grades did so well when compared to Wakefield and Melrose. Why do we mention this when we have tried to stay focused on the BIG issues you ask? Because this too is a BIG issue and is as a direct result of the mismanagement and nepeotism that is occurring at MVRCS. The high teacher turnover, the vast differences in expectations and pay among the teachers and staff, low moral, and poor guidance on the part of the administration all contribute greatly to the inconsistent and less than ideal test scores. Do we believe that MCAS scores are the end all, be all in assessment for schools? No, but we do believe they provide an overview and snapshot image of the effectiveness of the school.
As an example, for the 3rd grade Reading, Wakefield (as a district) had 22% of their students at 'Advanced/Above Proficient' and 56% of their students testing at 'Proficient'. Melrose had 25% 'Advanced/Above Proficient' and 49% 'Proficient'. Alternatively, MVRCS 3rd grade Reading scores were 16% were 'Advanced/Above Proficient' and 55% 'Proficient'. That would mean that6 78% of Wakefield's 3rd graders were reading at grade level or higher, 74% of Melrose and 71% of MVRCS. Although not a huge difference in percentages, given the fact that the 3rd graders at MVRCS have already had 61 more school days (15 for each year and 4 for each Feb. school vacation), the longer school day, more time than the other districts spent on academics in a direct instruction methodology, one would hope that more MVRCS 3rd graders would be reading at or above grade level. What about math for this same group? Similar story, Wakefield had 37% Advanced and 46% Proficient (equaling 83% at or above grade level), Melrose had 28% Advanced and 46% Proficient (equaling 74% at or above grade level) and MVRCS had 24% Advanced and 39% Proficient (equaling 63% at or above grade level). Yes, the Administration and Board of MVRCS were very happy with the 2010 MCAS results but that was probably because 2008 and 2009 were much worse. Again we bring this back to an issue of inconsistency and lack of stability among the staff as 2007 MCAS were superior for many grades and subjects. Was 2007 the year that Jen Mullen returned as PDC of the upper grades? Is she as focused on her position and the school as the previous PDC was? We're not sure but we do know that with the exception of 10th grade and a few random grade/subject matters, Melrose and/or Wakefield students scored higher on their MCAS tests than the students of MVRCS.

This information can all be found at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website if you would like to look at it further or to simply verify what we have stated.

As for the original reason for our visit to the DESE, the demographics for the sending communities are as follows (information obtained from the DESE website at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu or from the MVRCS Annual Report).

African American 15.4
Asian 12.2
Hispanic 4.1
Native American 0.4
White 65.6
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.1
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 2.1

Race/Ethnicity # of students % of entire student body
African-American 213 15.8 %
Asian 168 12.5 %
Hispanic 47 3.4 %
Native American 12 0.1 %
White 867 63.6 %
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 3 0.1 %
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 37 2.7 %
Special Education 116 8.6%
Limited English Proficient 0 0
Low Income 263 19.5


African American 19.7
Asian 21.3
Hispanic 19.1 
Native American 0.6
White 35.6
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.1
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 3.6

African American 15.2
Asian 7.3
Hispanic 10.3
Native American 0.1
White 64.6
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.1
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 2.4

African American 16.6
Asian 5.1
Hispanic 29.3
Native American 0.6
White 47.4
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.1
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 0.9

African American 4.7
Asian 3.1
Hispanic 2.5
Native American 0.2
White 86.9
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.3
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 2.3

African American 1.7
Asian 3.1
Hispanic 3.4
Native American 0.1
White 89.4
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.6
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 1.7
African American 1.9
Asian 2.3
Hispanic 2.0
Native American 0.2
White 92.5
Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander 0.1
Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic 1.0


  1. I'm interested in seeing a comparison between 2010 and the years prior. You made mention of the scores being inconsistent and I'd like to see just how inconsistent they are (sorry I couldn't find them using the link provided). Was 2007 the year that Dr. Beigler left and Chris Finn took over as acting superintendent?

  2. Yes why don't you put the Malden, Medford and Everett Scores up there since that is where the majority come from? Hmm could it be once again that the real reason is to destroy the school for your union friends. Why don't you come right out and tell the truth the Teachers Union is paying you to run this to destroy this school which threatens your existence.

  3. http://www.boston.com/news/special/education/mcas/scores09/results/medford.htm


    The only city that makes sense demographically to compare Mystic Valley to is Medford. It looks like Mystic Valley did a lot better in 2009.

  4. To Anonymous @ Dec 22 7:19am
    Matching MVRCS & Medford isn't a fair comparison as Medford doesn't have the longer year and days, plus they have more special ed and ELL students than MVRCS.
    Also, are you saying that MVRCS is only capable of doing what they are doing because of the demographics of the school? Isn't it supposed to be as a result of the curriculum, methodology, and their superiority? Funny, MVRCS didn't state any of that in their recruitment ads.

  5. Sorry Dec 22 @ 7:19am, we are not associated with any union nor are we out to destroy the school. Nice try though. Besides, this school doesn't threaten the existence of the union, it just reinforces the need for it - for teachers to have an outside force to battle for them when the school pulls their less than ethical and/or legal shaninigens that they are known for. They only do it cause they know teachers are not likely to go out and hire attorneys to force them into following the laws.

  6. OMG.....let's not talk crazy here. We don't need more failing schools in this city so let's leave the teachers union out of this!

  7. Just for fun, we did a comparison between MVRCS and Medford and we have to say, all things considered, the numbers are pretty close. In fact, Medford did a bit better within a number of grades/subject matters. Pretty remarkable considering that Medford has anywhere between 300-398 students within each grade level, anywhere from 70-89 special ed students within each grade level, and anywhere from 17-43 foreign language students that are included in their test results. And, Medford doesn't have the benefit of a longer school day and year, or mainly academic school days. BUT, the demographics are similar!

  8. To Anonymous, Dec 21 @ 8:24PM
    The yearly comparisons for MVRCS can be found @ http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/mcas/mcascharts2.aspx?linkid=33&orgcode=04700000&fycode=2010&orgtypecode=5&

    If you look at the 10th grade (which typically has the lowest number of students), the numbers don't look that bad and show some improvements. The issues really start to show up in 7th grade. For example, 7th ELL 'Advanced' went from 12% in 2007, to 11% in 2008, up to 19% in 2009 but for 2010 dropped to 5%. For 7th grade math, the 'Needs Improvement' scores were 24% in 2007, went up to 32% in 2008 (remember in this category, you want low %'s), to 30% in 2009 and 31% for 2010. Another alarming grade would be 5th grade where the numbers declined (or increased for the 'Needs Improvement' and 'Warning' categories) across the board.

  9. I'd be willing to bet if you moved to Medford they'd make room for your kids.

  10. I'm sure the board will get all the MCAS scores up by building the new athletic facility. They have not been truthful to the charter by putting athletics first. What percentage of the students at the school even participate in one of the sports that will be housed at the new facility?

    Do you know what the SAT average scores are at the school?

  11. To December 22 @ 9:59PM
    The DESE only has up to the 2006-2007 school year published but it can be found at

    The results for that year were
    Reading 515
    Writing 518
    Math 496
    # Students 26

  12. Not very impressive considering the longer school day and year.

    Thank you

  13. I've heard that the school pulls some very unethical antics when it comes to the teachers - some very much illegal. It's too bad the teachers have to put up with or be subjected to their antics. Someday one of them will hire an attorney and hold them accountable.

  14. Question, and one that I want to know more about, but will refrain from commenting about until I hear more from others who have knowledge of this incident. I read in yesterdays Malden Observer ‘Arrest Report’, in their words, “statutory rape of a child – Mystic Valley Charter School”. Am I reading this correctly?

  15. It read:
    Saturday December 18 @11:45am statutory rape of a child, Mystic Valley Charter School, 770 Salem St.

    What was going on at the school on a Saturday the week before Christmas? None of this was posted on the Globe site or the Observer online site. Is this a coverup? They will claim "confidentiality" but I wonder how many other victims would come forward if they knew the violator was caught? This must not be tolerated or covered up! I wonder how much Andrew25 has to say about this? Now he will be quiet.

  16. Whoa, slow down 11:19a. This could be anything, don't be so quick to think that there is a violator at this school. Wait to hear what all of the info is before drawing your own conclusions. I too want to know what the details of this are, but the only thing I see is that the log entry is a Saturday. Go back to watching SVU until there is more info available.

  17. What I find interesting is that the Malden Observer removed the police report from their website this morning. It has been on there for three days and this morning it is gone. I've always said that City Hall controls the Malden Observer. Oh well. Too late. It was already in print in Friday's paper.

    If I were a school and knew that this story was going to be posted in the newspaper, I would want parents to know that it had nothing to do with their staff or students. But then again, we all know that Mr. Kinnection shares nothing.

  18. Why don't you go down to the police station and ask? Odd because Matt Byrne did an arrest article on Boston.com and didn't mention it. You sure you're not losing it there granny?

  19. No Grandpa, I am not. Pick up last Friday's Malden Observer (hard copy) and you will see it for yourself. I don't need to ask the police station, I saw it in print with my own eyes. Still have the paper.

    Nothing stays a secret in Malden Grandpa. It always comes out.