The Worcester Education Collaborative
is an independent organization working to ensure that students in the Worcester Public Schools are given the opportunity to succeed at the highest possible level and to acquire the skills and knowledge to master the challenges
of the 21st century.
WEC is committed to supporting, facilitating, and developing a wide variety of partnerships among families, schools, organizations, and businesses that will both enhance the quality of public education in Worcester and the quality of our common life. As a non-profit education fund, WEC's independent voice speaks for the children and for the community to create a system of effective schools in which every child is prepared for success in college, career, and life.
As an independent advocacy and action organization founded in 2010, The Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) works to ensure that students in the Worcester’s public schools are given the opportunity to succeed at the highest possible level and to acquire the skills and knowledge to master the challenges of the 21st century.
We are committed to developing and supporting a wide variety of partnerships among families, schools, organizations, and businesses that will both enhance the quality of public education in Worcester and the quality of our common life.
WEC is the brain child of John Bassett, then-president of Clark University. President Basset believed that in order to effect meaningful and sustained improvement in the Worcester public schools, the city required an organization to focus exclusively on the needs of our students and our schools.
Our mission is to engage our community in fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that excellence in education is available to all public school students and that they are prepared for success in college, career, and life.
We advance our mission as:
A partner to the public schools
An advocate for and champion of schools, teachers, and students
A disseminator of critical information about our schools and of best and promising
practices in education for all children
A critical friend of our schools and our community in the work to educate children
A cultivator of grassroots (parents and others) leaders to support education
we demand excellence in education for our children
Our portfolio includes three broad areas:
Educational achievement and attainment
Community awareness, education, and capacity building
Advocacy for and work toward education improvement in the Worcester public schools
educational achievement and increasing educational attainment
With the support of the AbbVie Foundation, WEC has implemented the Reading Together program in the kindergarten, first, second, and third grade classes at five of Worcester’s lower performing, elementary schools with the aim of getting books in the hands of children, building reading skills, and creating a culture of reading in grades K-3. Over 1,200 children participate in this program each year and the program expands its reach by engaging parents and siblings in what has become a family literacy project.
We have expanded our literacy work through the generosity of the DCU for Kids Foundation to provide schools with classroom libraries and introduce new books and support material for structured classroom and at-home read-aloud.
With the support of the Daniels Foundation and the Health Foundation, WEC developed a training for WPS faculty and staff on the impact of trauma, social factors on learning, and implementing trauma sensitive practices.
community awareness, education, and capacity building
Hosts the Principal for Day program which offers business and civic leaders the opportunity to spend time with one of our principals to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing educational leaders. The morning school visits are followed by a speaker address a specific challenge or trend in education.
Host solely, or with partner organizations Community Briefings on important topics in education. The 2018-19 briefings covered school discipline with The Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, trauma and learning with Citizens for Juvenile Justice, and school funding with the Education Association of Worcester.
Develops and hosts the public education module of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s Leadership Worcester program
Organized the first ever Worcester Conference on the Education of Boys, Strength, Character, and Heart—Our Voices on the Journey to Manhood. Nearly 200 youth workers, educators, juvenile justice professionals, boys and parents attended the event.
Co-convenes with GWCF, the Education Roundtable and Campaign for Grade Level Reading with a focus on summer learning loss
Co-convenes the WorcesterReads group with a focus on encouraging 20 minutes of reading each day for children and getting books into the hands of children.
advocacy for and work toward education improvement
Active member of the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership and co-contributor of the “Number One For Some” report on educational inequities in Massachusetts.
As a result of a project completed with Worcester State University in 2013, the “Not Present, Not Accounted For” report, focusing on the overuse of punitive, exclusionary discipline in the Worcester Public Schools, WEC became a leader in the area of trauma and learning and the Executive Director now serves as adjunct faculty at Lesley University with a focus in this work.
WEC is a lead partner with the Worcester Public Schools in the WorcesterHEARS (Healthy Environments and Resilience in Schools) project, an initiative funded by the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, which works to use a universal design, environmental approach to meet the social, emotional, and learning needs of children.
Serves as the lead partner in the development and implementation of the Worcester Principals Institute, a program to provide intensive professional development to principals through the third year of practice.
The Executive Director serves as a Gateway Cities Fellow and community liaison with MassInc on the Gateway Cities education initiative.
Publish periodic pieces in the Worcester Telegram on issues related in education in our city.
WEC is a small but nimble organization and a collaborative both by design and necessity. Our local thought and practice partners include the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, the Health Foundation, Edward Street Child Services, Office of the City Manager, WPI, Clark University, Worcester State University and UMass Medical School. Our sound relationships with our local colleges also allow us to tap the enthusiasm of undergraduates through our intern program.
Through strategic collaborations with other organizations, the Worcester Public Schools, and the city, WEC has made significant strides in focusing our community on key issues in education. We have seen changes in the high school graduation requirements, dramatic reduction in study halls, a change in the policy of tardiness as grounds for school suspension, a renewed focus on the work to improve attendance, increased focus on social and emotional learning, school-based leadership, and literacy. Our reputation for not only spurring discussion but for spurring action and lending meaningful expertise assures us a seat at the table and allows us to keep a city-wide focus on our children and schools.
In addition, a significant part of WEC’s portfolio focuses on catalyzing collective impact in support of the Worcester Public Schools and the district’s students. We firmly believe that, as noted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011, “Large scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination…Collective impact initiatives are long term commitments by a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving specific social problems.”
WEC serves as a catalyst by bringing people, organizations, and resources together in new ways to better educate our children. WEC serves as a united friend to both the district and the community with respect to the work of teaching and learning.