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Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families.

DECEMBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast is the second part of the conversation between Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years and between them, Gary and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, they discuss how the current pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families, how progress and change continues to work its way across the country, and the most important types of leadership needed in our schools to ensure they provide the best possible education to our students.

Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Technology could be the great equalizer for underserved populations.

OCTOBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features a conversation between JFY Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years. Between them, Mr. Kaplan and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, we’ll hear as they talk about a variety of topics, including Mr. McCaskill’s reason for leaving the private sector and beginning a career in education, why urban schools struggle to hire diverse educators, and how technology could be the great equalizer for underserved populations.

Madison Park Tech Voc Grad Now the Educator Podcast, Lessons during Black History Month with Settenah Wright

Lessons taught during Black History Month

FEBRUARY 2020 PODCAST – Settenah Wright is a graduate of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, where she now teaches English as a Second Language. She grew up in Roxbury, MA, attending the Boston Public Schools and spent two years living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is where her ESL teaching career began. In this episode, Ms. Wright shares her classroom lessons during Black History Month, and the local connections Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X and Barack Obama have to the Roxbury neighborhood.

Madison Park Holds the Line on MCAS Math

Madison Park is on an upward trajectory.

by Gary Kaplan

The scores are in, and they’re down. It was expected that scores on the new 10th grade MCAS 2.0 would be lower than on the old “Legacy” MCAS. The new test was designed to be more difficult, with higher-level questions. In addition, it was online, not on paper like the old test, and it contained new question formats—technology-assisted questions and multi-text comparisons, for starters—that students had never seen before. Lower scores were fully expected.

Madison Park MCAS Gain Leads State

The largest Proficient/Advanced gain in the state

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

MCAS scores for 2017 were released last month. JFY’s partner schools logged many good results, but Madison Park Technical Vocational High School was far and away the year’s high point.

Madison Park has come in for heavy criticism for many years. Every news story about school problems cites it as one of the lowest performing schools in the state. There is justification for concern: scores have historically been low and the school was demoted to Level 4 in 2015. In our skill-hungry labor market, it makes sense to be concerned: how can we support a burgeoning tech-based economy if Boston’s only vocational school can’t produce skilled workers?

Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Student

It’s Time for Madison Park To Get Some Respect

by Gary Kaplan

The Boston Globe Magazine’s recent article on vocational education (School of Work, 10/2/16) came down like a ton of raw concrete on Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.  One commentator blamed Madison Park for “vocational education’s tarnished reputation in Massachusetts” while another recommended scrapping the school altogether and “start[ing] over again.”  There are legitimate reasons to be frustrated with Madison Park; but there are better options than the dumpster.