Did Milford students gain something from the school system participating in the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative?
According to an analysis provided by school officials, students earned higher scores on Advanced Placement exams, and more students earned passing scores, which enables them to earn college credit.
According to Superintendent Robert Tremblay:
• The number of students earning the top scores on the AP exam – either a 4 or a 5 – increased from 74 to 94 on exams in math, science and English.
• The number of students earning a passing score on the AP exam – a 3 or better – increased from 41 to 83 in math.
• Milford High School had a 50 percent increase in low-income students taking AP exams in math, science and English.
• The number of minority race or ethnicity students taking AP exams doubled.
"Milford High School was on track, and increasing the rigor of its AP program," Tremblay said.
The math and science initiative, known by the acronym MMSI, partnered with Milford Schools for the 2011-12 school year. The program ended this summer, after Milford High School faculty voted to terminate the contract.
The Milford School Committee had invited leadership of the Milford Teachers Association to attend its Thursday night meeting, to discuss the vote to end the program, and the teachers' reasoning, but no teachers attended.
Several School Committee members said they were frustrated and disappointed at the lack of communication between the teachers and district.
"We gave them an opportunity to come here and sit and talk with us, and not one person showed up," said Committee member Michael Walsh.
Teachers have not publicly explained their rationale for ending the initiative. By agreement, they had the right to end it. The vote to do so was 68 to 14, according to a letter sent to the superintendent following the decision.
On Thursday, Tremblay said teachers in meetings before the vote had expressed concern about how aggressive MMSI was in recruiting students to AP classes, "that students were being pushed into AP classes to meet MMSI's enrollment demands, and not because it was the educationally sound thing to do."
School Committee members, referring to the program score statistics, refuted that, saying it clearly provided an educational benefit for enrolled students.
In total, Milford High School had more than 100 more passing scores on AP exams between 2011 and 2012, Tremblay said. Between 2010 and 2012, passing scores were up 197 percent.
Said School Committee member Scott Harrison: "I don't want to minimize that big of an increase. Very clearly, this program was helping."