Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School Awarded Massachusetts DESE Grant to Revolutionize World Language Education in Technical Schools

Danvers, MA – May 17, 2024—Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School (ENSATS) is pleased to announce its partnership with Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford and four other esteemed vocational schools to enhance World Language programs and better position students for success in the workplace.

The schools collectively secured a $48,500 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to facilitate this partnership among the language departments. Representatives from the six schools will collaborate to learn best practices through professional development, craft engaging curricula, and exchange ideas to enrich the learning experience for students.

In addition to Nashoba Tech, Essex North Shore is partnering with Keefe Regional Technical School in Framingham, Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica, and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. 

“We have a unique opportunity at vocational high schools to prepare students to be workplace-ready. However, no matter what they choose to do after graduation, whether college, a trade, or another career, they’ll need strong interpersonal and intercultural skills,” said Nicole Forgione, a teacher in the World Languages Department at Essex North Shore. “With DESE’s Grant 189, we can expand our World Language Program at Essex Tech and center our focus on what our specific students need to communicate in multiple languages in their future field.” 

The program’s goals include writing a World Languages curriculum tailored to the needs of the Essex North Shore community, establishing teacher-leaders to strengthen programs within their districts, facilitating professional collaboration, addressing the world language teacher pipeline, building a professional library, and collecting data to support proficiency testing. “Our communities are already very diverse and interconnected, and being multilingual is a great skill that can help our students excel in their fields, earn higher salaries, and thrive in an increasingly competitive professional environment after graduation,” added Forgione.

Dr. Heidi Riccio, Superintendent of Essex North Shore, emphasized the significance of the grant, stating, “This grant will allow Essex North Shore and its partner schools to drive meaningful collaboration to improve employment opportunities for students who excel in world languages. We are committed to preparing our students for success in a diverse and interconnected global economy, and this partnership is a significant step toward that goal.”

About Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School

Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School (ENSATS) opened as a four-year Massachusetts public career technical and agricultural high school in September 2014. ENSATS admits students from 17 member communities to the district’s 26 career technical and agricultural programs. Member communities include Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham. Students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also are eligible to earn admission to Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School’s seven animal science, agricultural, or natural resource programs.

ENSATS students are immersed in both their academic and career technical and agricultural (CTAE) programs throughout each year of their enrollment. Academic courses are available at the college preparatory, honors, and advanced placement levels. CTAE program placement is determined after participation in a Freshman Exploratory Program. Eligible students may also participate in the Cooperative Education Program, beginning midway through junior year. Academic and CTAE Program coursework is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, Massachusetts Career Vocational Technical Education Frameworks, and Massachusetts High School Program of Studies (MassCore).

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