Out Of This World Class


Two words (are supposed to) guide almost every decision made at the Pentucket Regional School District…

World Class.

Dr. Mulqueen, the PRSD Superintendent, is behind the World Class initiative. He started it when he was hired, nearly four years ago, at a time when “Pentucket’s image, reputation, whatever you want to call it, got a little rusty.”

Mulqueen decided that to set PRSD on a track towards improvement, he would need to create a “far reaching, pretty ambitious agenda.” Mulqueen held focus groups with students, teachers, parents, and community members; out of these discussions emerged the terminology “World Class”.

Mulqueen attempted to answer the question: “How can the school district become a shining star for students and families, for educators, and for the community?”

The notion of a World Class school is exciting for all members of the PRSD community, not only students and teachers, but also homeowners and businessowners; the values of their properties would increase with a World Class public education system.

However, the question is: Does everyone define “World Class” in the same way?

Mr. Seymour, PRHS Principal said, “I think it’s caused a little bit of confusion for some people because everyone sort of brings [his own] interpretation of what World Class means.”

The unique interpretations of World Class can be both helpful and hurtful towards reaching PRSD’s goals. While it is important to take everyone’s perspectives into mind, it is also vital to make sure our goals are an accurate representation of what the community wants.

Seymour believes at the heart of the World Class initiative, the district “[wants] to find the personal meaning and passion in each kid and say, ‘Well, we can work with you to try to help you to get to that place.’”

Seymour looked back on his PRSD experience and said “when I look over the nearly 20 years, 18 years that I’ve been here, you know, I just feel like what we’re offering and what we’re doing right now is better than I’ve ever seen. Especially with the prospect of a building project in the future, that’s really exciting too.”

PRHS Latin teacher Mrs. Torosian defined World Class as “giving [students] a vision towards something beyond what a traditional education would bring” and providing students with “skills and opportunities and experiences that just widen [their] horizons so that [they] have a different perspective on [their] future.”

Torosian felt that PRSD is on track to offering a Lawrence High School-esque education, with individual schools for different fields similar to the arrangement of the large university.

However, Torosian believes that PRSD still lacks one specific area. Torosian said “our technology limits us. We can’t always depend upon it, that’s been a big drawback I think as far as providing World Class opportunities and experiences for students to encounter.” PRSD has invested in lots of technological devices; however, the building’s 1950s infrastructure does not support cutting-edge 21st century technology.

The World Class initiative has improved the technology situation at PRSD schools, but a long-term plan needs to account for the demands of a 21st century education. PRHS is in the process of constructing a new facility, but in the meantime, how will PRSD offer a World Class education to the students who will graduate before the new building is completed?

Mulqueen also commented that he believes the biggest breakthrough in reaching a World Class status is in the realization that “learning to do something for the sake of doing it, that’s kind of oldschool.” Mulqueen further commented that “What we’ve come to understand is that that kind of [mechanical, memorized] learning evaporates in a very short amount of time.”

PRSD administration has put out an extensive “Capacity-Building Program” which sets specific goals for getting PRSD on a track for a World Class status. This document was never referenced when discussing the subject with administrators, showing that the goals that have been set are not well publicized. The goals we will create need to be accessible and understandable to the average Joe.

Furthermore, these goals will require constant change to accommodate constantly changing World Class standards.

Generally, the path towards World Class still remains untrodden; it is up to the members of the community to become personally invested in their futures.

Where do you play a part in all this?

Figure out what your definition of what World Class means and what can you do, in your power, to affect the change that will make your definition of World Class become a reality at PRSD.