WORCESTER, Mass. - Superintendent Rachel Monárrez is outlining the future of Worcester Public Schools in the new five-year strategic plan.

What You Need To Know

  • Worcester Public Schools has a new 2023-2028 strategic plan which received final approval in December

  • Superintendent Rachel Monárrez discussed the plan at a community meeting on Tuesday night

  • The strategic plan has a focus on fostering future-ready skills, embracing technological advancements and cultivating a culture of lifelong learning, according to WPS

"I feel like the plan really captured what the community was saying and where we need to go in education as we look towards the future," Monárrez said.

Monárrez said the new strategic plan for Worcester Public Schools has been shaped by the listening and learning tour held last school year. She spent a lot of time gathering input on opportunities for improvement and things to focus on.

The plan's priorities include educational programs, family engagement and improving educational facilities among some other focuses. Monárrez laid it all out for parents at a meeting Tuesday night titled "Gathering for Excellence: A discussion on what it means for our students to be future ready".

The superintendent said a big part of making sure Worcester students are future-ready is integrating artificial intelligence into learning. As the use of AI continues to grow, Monárrez said schools are at a pivotal point in education where children need to be prepared for careers which don't exist right now.

"We have to prepare our children for these positions that are, in a sense and I know this is going to sound different, right, but smarter than the computers, because the computer, the AI takes the information that we as humans created and it synthesizes extremely much faster than we can," Monárrez said. "So, AI can do that for us. But what AI cannot do is the human connection and the emotional intelligence. Children need practice in that, right. They need to have those experiences as much as possible during their schooling. So, that's a huge shift for the children, but really it's for the adults."

Monárrez said as far as implementation goes, it's about shifting teaching and learning so artificial intelligence is used to help things like creating fresh lesson plans for students not having the program do the teaching for them.

Spectrum News 1 asked parents ahead of the meeting what they were looking forward to hearing about in the new strategic plan.

"I really want to hear about how the district is going to move forward," Rozann Fowler said, "with getting some of our older buildings a little bit more modernized."

"What she envisions for the the final product," Mark Dykes said. "So, the senior, what does a senior look like? How is a senior prepared for the economy or college or military? And for a younger, elementary student, like the socio-emotional piece is very important. What is their plan to address bullying, so they prepare, you know, these kids for the next level."

Parents also discussed what they thought of artificial intelligence in education, and those who spoke with Spectrum News 1 agreed it's better to prepare kids for a future where AI is more widely used.