And the winner is…

Congratulations to the Five District Partnership, the first of four 2015 Gateway Cities Innovation Award winners that we’ll be announcing over the coming weeks! For the first time, we’re preparing case studies that provide an in depth look at the four innovative initiatives that we’re recognizing with Gateway City Innovation Awards in November. Each of these profiles describes the basic mechanics of the initiative. They also distill universal lessons for leaders working to rally their communities around innovative change efforts.COver

As described in the short video below and more fully in Leading Together: The Five District Partnership Case Study, the 5DP is a collaborative venture developed by the Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere and Winthrop school districts to respond to the challenge of student mobility. Every year, thousands of students move among the schools in these neighboring cities. This creates major disruptions in their learning, as documented in previous MassINC research. The superintendents from these five communities fashioned a joint response to the mobility problem. In the process, they built an innovative model for bringing together teacher leaders and empowering them to conquer shared challenges.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more award winners and their stories. On November 17th, you can join us in Worcester at the Third Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Awards to celebrate these leaders and hear more about their work.

 

We hope to see you there!

Ben Forman

                        Watch Five District Partnership Winners Below:

Housing & Economic Development

The Boston Globe reports that the benefits of the state’s six-year economic expansion is finally reaching Gateway Cities, while a new report from MassBenchmarks finds that most of the recent economic prosperity in Massachusetts has still been concentrated in the greater Boston region. Our more recent analysis, which we presented last summer in CommonWealth, lands much closer to MassBenchmarks.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash announces the Baker Administration’s new Urban Agenda Grant program. The grants are designed to foster collaboration and cross-sector partnerships.

Gov. Charlie Baker talks Western Massachusetts economic development and transportation with the Springfield Republican/MassLive.

MGM Resorts says it is committed to spending $800 million on a Springfield casino, even though it has eliminated a signature 25-story tower from the project.

A developer plans to build a boutique hotel in City Square in Worcester.

Several cultural organizations in the Greater Worcester area receive part of a $15 million grant from the McDonough Foundation.

Education

State officials unveil their turnaround plan for the Holyoke school system by lengthening the school day, creating individualized plans for high schoolers, focusing more on English-language learners and disabled students and overhauling the district’s assessment system.

Play Ball! Peabody looks at allowing students schooled at home to participate in public school sports programs. Brockton reinstates sports programs at the city’s middle schools after budget cuts forced a halt to them last year.

Monisola Gbadebo is the Assistant to the Executive Director at Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke

Monisola Gbadebo is the Assistant to the Executive Director at Enchanted Circle Theater in Holyoke

Springfield’s school board considers extending the contracts of Superintendent Daniel Warwick and Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez to 2020.

New Lowell Superintendent Salah Khalfaoui appoints a five-member panel to review the department’s handling of a racial incident that resulted in the suspension of six students.

Brookings reflects on disappointing results from pre-k expansion in Tennessee. 

Governance/Elections

State Rep. Michael Brady easily won the Democratic primary in sparse voting and will take on Rep. Geoff Diehl in a special election in November to fill the seat that was held by the late Senator Thomas Kennedy of Brockton.

The bid to recall Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera from office bogs down in procedural fights, as the Board of Registrars goes to court to fight an earlier injunction won by Rivera.

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has a 20-1 cash advantage over his opponent, former mayor William Phelan, who has a little more than $5,000 available in his campaign account.

Fall River‘s incumbent Mayor Sam Sutter is out-raising and out-spending his opponent, Jasiel Correia II.

Transportation

The MBTA announces nonstop commuter rail trips between Boston and Worcester.

Some city councilors in Haverhill start to explore the possibility of allowing ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in the city as a way to increase competition and lower rates.

A private operator is looking to reestablish a seasonal New Bedford-to-Nantucket ferry trip after a nearly half-century hiatus.

Criminal Justice 

Brockton‘s overall crime rate dropped last year, according to FBI data, but the city had the state’s highest per capita murder rate.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni railed against a District Court judge allowing an accused two-time shooter out of jail on low bail, the latest official to be frustrated with accused violent defendants being released back onto the Springfield and Holyoke streets.

Lowell officials made changes to local firearm regulation, setting off a local and national debate. 

A Lowell Sun editorial calls for an overhaul of the state’s medical marijuana law to require doctors to prescribe the drug only for approved illnesses. 

Healthcare

UMass Medical School in Worcester shares a $20 million grant from the CDC to expand Ebola prevention efforts in Liberia.

A nonprofit group looking to develop a medical marijuana cultivation site in Westfield applies to open up dispensaries in Pittsfield and Lee.

Communities and People

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik writes about Naked Cities, the Death and Life of Urban America.

Our sponsors