By guest blogger Alyssa Morones
Massachusetts’ Worcester Technical High School, where school leader Sheila M. Harrity was named national high school principal of the year for 2014, can add its name to the select list of schools that President Barack Obama has chosen for delivering commencement speeches. Obama will address the Worcester Tech class of 2014 at their June graduation ceremony.
Worcester Tech, with 1,400 students in the city of Worcester, Mass., is home to 24 career and technical programs and has partnered with businesses, industries, and universities to create hands-on learning opportunities for its students meant to develop their skills for employment. In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama stressed the importance of redesigning high schools and partnering them with colleges and employers “that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead to a job and career.”
Harrity, who was selected as the 2014 National Association of Secondary School Principals’ MetLife/NASSP high school principal of the year, has been at the helm of Worcester Tech since 2006. During her tenure, Harrity created small learning communities in the school that focused on project-based learning. She also doubled the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses. Sixty-three percent of students at the high school qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
This latest announcement is just one in a long line of recent accolades for the high school. Worcester Tech was named a 2014 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Harrity delivered the keynote address at the symposium. And U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also recently visited Worcester Tech, after the NASSP submitted a profile to the White House recommending it as a model school.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.