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New School Year Begins In Springfield

America After 3PM

Students head back to school Monday in the second largest public school system in New England.

Most public school systems in Massachusetts have seen enrollment go down in recent years, but in Springfield the number of public school students has held steady at about 26,000, according to Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick.  Ninety percent of the students are from families that live in poverty.

" It poses many challenges, and the message to the staff today is that despite all of the challenges last year we had gains in every academic area," Warwick said Friday at a convocation to welcome faculty and staff to a new school year.

The middle schools in Springfield have been reorganized this year to reduce  class sizes and are being supervised by a board appointed by state and local education officials chaired by an education consultant.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.