Marotta: Time for education system to evolve — just ask the teachers

“The system that I teach in is not designed for how my students grow up,” says one veteran Worcester Public Schools teacher. “They all have phones; they grew up in a digital age … [but] we still have to teach them in a form that they are not going to encounter when they enter the workforce. This is how they grew up taking in information, and it’s the opposite of what we do in our classroom.”

The Quad [Nov. 26-Dec. 2]: Four things to know from UMass Medical School, Becker and Clark

Have campus news you or your college or university organization would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to Be sure to send a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and point Sun members your way.

UMass Medical School taps VC to be vice chancellor

Jim Glasheen, Ph.D., a prominent venture capitalist in the biopharmaceutical, medical technology and patient-centered health fields, will join UMass Medical School on Dec. 4 as the executive vice chancellor for innovation & business development, according to an announcement from Chancellor Michael F. Collins and Dean Terence R. Flotte.

Glasheen will succeed Brendan O’Leary, Ph.D., a scientist and former venture capitalist who, for more than three years, has led a comprehensive approach to business development, innovation and advancing industry partnerships as the office’s founding executive vice chancellor.

The Quad [Nov. 5-11]: Four things to know from Becker, QCC, Anna Maria and New England College of Business

Have campus news you or your college or university organization would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to Be sure to send a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and point Sun members your way.

Becker announces unique esports partnership

Becker College and Gamer Sensei, the top esports coaching platform, has announced a partnership to create a first-of-its-kind program for students this semester. Becker students who are members of the college’s esports club will have access to professional coaches from around the globe who will help them train and play in tournaments for some of the top competitive games, both individually and as a team.

“Offering a college coaching program has been a dream of ours ever since we launched the platform,” said William Collis, co-founder of Gamer Sensei. “With one of the nation’s leading game design programs and a student body that was already plugged in to the competitive gaming scene, Becker was a natural partner for us and we are excited to see how it takes off.”

Inbox [Nov. 1]: News and notes from Cultural Coalition, UMass Medicine Science Park, North High, MassDevelopment and Central Mass. PPAL

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

City accepting submissions for winter exhibit

The Worcester Cultural Coalition is now accepting submissions for its next show, “Fire and Ice.”

Photographers and creators of 2-D and 3-D works that can be suspended are eligible.

The coalition maintains two galleries that host several shows a year: one located in the windows of Bay State Savings Bank facing Franklin Street and the other in the basement level of Worcester City Hall just off the building’s parking lot basement.

“Fire and Ice” will be presented in conjunction with the city’s Festival of Lights celebration.

20 Franklin Street

Inbox [Oct. 29-Nov. 4]: News and notes from Idea Lab, Technocopia, MassDiGI, YWCA, Congregation Beth Israel, Pagano Media and Center for Living & Working

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Worcester innovation spaces earn $225K in state grants

The Worcester Idea Lab, Technocopia and Mass. Digital Games Institute were among 20 recipients of Collaborative Workspace Program grants awarded by the state.

The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $1,257,592 to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in cities and towns. The second round of these awards will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation.

The Worcester Idea Lab, 20 Franklin St., was awarded $104,275. The grant will enhance the Idea Lab’s space and improve member access with additional classroom space that will increase activity.

Sina-cism: Worcester — the mayhem on main streets

For some time, Worcester city officials have been talking about making Worcester a more walkable city. That’s a nice dream, but it’s not one that is going to come true anytime soon.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

It’s not going to happen as long as the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles continues to insist on licensing new drivers who would be a threat to themselves and others if they were driving electric golf carts on lonely stretches of Interstate 90 in Montana.

Have you ever tried to cross Main Street at Chatham Street with the “Walk” light?

Your odds of a successful crossing are about the same as those enjoyed by Columbus when he tackled the Atlantic in 1492 — he knew he wanted to reach the other side of the water, but the conditions were often decidedly unfavorable.

Even prior to the rise of the machines — those handheld demons that occupy the attention of most motorists some of the time and some motorists all of the time — such an endeavor was hazardous. Today, it’s more or less a suicide attempt.

Nothing but net profit — St. John’s hoop star scores big-league video game endorsement

Wondering what the future could hold for gaming and paying student athletes? Find out with author BJ Hill in the Sun’s serial glimpse into the fantastic, fascinating (and mostly fictional) possibilities of a not-so distant tomorrow.

April 22, 2028 — Saint John’s High School junior Donnie Dwyer signed his intention papers to affiliate with Rideout Entertainment Ltd. at a Friday press conference in Shrewsbury. The agreement means that Rideout can use Donnie’s likeness in the upcoming release of “Class of 2029,” the newest installment of the popular video game series based on local high school basketball. In return, his parents received one of the largest-ever checks for a high school talent. Dwyer, who grew up on Woods Avenue before his family moved to Holden, is the latest student to be picked up by the Nashville-based video game company. Its flagship series, “Class of …,” allows subscribers to play as high school basketball teams hyper-local to their markets and divisions.

A subscriber in Auburn, for example, can play as a team in and against the Southern Worcester County League, while a subscriber in Henderson, Nebraska, could compete in that state’s Division 1, District 8. If more variety is desired, upgrading to the Platinum Version allows fans to play as any school’s team across the country.

Since Rideout’s first release, “Class of 2021,” about 3,400 student-athletes nationwide have been chosen for inclusion in their boys’ basketball series, and another 700 in their newer “Friday Night Lights” football series.

More What if … Worcester: Gardens and gargoyles: Dilapidated churches grow into urban farms

On Beacon Hill: The ‘Ready for Prime-time Players’

Recap and analysis of the week in local, state and federal government from State House News Service and Sun research.

BOSTON — The Red Sox may be done for the season, but there were plenty of pitches being thrown around Boston as the Amazon wooing efforts officially got underway.

Sadly, Massachusetts didn’t have its proposal for Amazon to build its second headquarters in the state delivered to Jeff Bezos’s porch via drone. Nor did it appear to include the story about Gov. Charlie Baker wanting to buy Echos as Christmas gifts for his children in 2015 after getting a device demo in Cambridge.

But it was still somewhat unique. Instead of sending an ace to the mound, the state has taken a closer-by-committee approach.

That hasn’t always worked well on the diamond, but maybe in business the outcome will be different.

The pitch went something like this: Massachusetts has the best schools, a deep talent pool and a high quality of living. So pick one of these 26 sites and let’s start the hiring process.

Boston’s bid, in partnership with Revere, centered on Suffolk Downs as an ideal, shovel-ready site with 161 acres of developable land ready and waiting for those 50,000 new jobs. But other cities, including Worcester, Billerica and Weymouth, had their own sales teams touting less conventional locales.

Winning the Amazon sweepstakes would be another business coup for Baker, and it appears most Bay Staters would welcome the company as long as any deal doesn’t turn into a corporate raid on the state Treasury. But not everyone is salivating over the idea of welcoming Amazon to their neighborhood, and some, including Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson, have voiced concern over how it might displace residents and put unaffordable housing even farther out of reach.

“No games. No politics. No drama. Just governing, leadership and getting things done,” J.D. Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, offered by way of a jacket-liner quote to support the state’s bid. The state liked that one, putting it on page 2 of its 182-page proposal [see story below].

Unfortunately, there were plenty of games, politics and drama unfolding on Beacon Hill last week, and not a lot of things getting done.

File / Sam Doran / State House News Service

New House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, left, and his Senate counterpart Karen Spilka are already sparring over the budget process.

Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and Sen. Karen Spilka haven’t had a whole lot of time to build a working relationship since Sanchez got the House Ways and Means chairmanship this summer. They’ve had even fewer items of substance to work on together.

But things have gotten off to a rocky start after both branches last week passed what looked like a routine budget bill intended to close out spending for fiscal 2017, which ended in July.

In a sharp break from the style of his predecessor in the job, Brian Dempsey, Sanchez took his gripes with his Senate counterparts public this week. The Legislature headed into the weekend without completing the budget bill, which also included the ballyhooed ban on bump stocks.

Sanchez blamed Spilka, the Senate Ways and Means chair and Ashland Democrat, for making the process even more difficult than it would otherwise be by using an unusual procedural move that makes it impossible to go into conference without one of the branches taking up the bill a second time.

He is also peeved over the Senate’s decision to exclude $4.7 million for a youth violence prevention program from their version of the bill, and essentially accused senators of being more interested in talking about criminal justice policy than making it.

“In my neighborhood, I have guns blazing,” the Jamaica Plain Democrat bemoaned.

Spilka’s response was characteristically muted as she downplayed the procedural differences and insisted that the Senate wanted to keep spending in the bill to fiscal 2017 obligations, rather than adding programmatic increases.

Now it’s anyone’s guess how this gets resolved, or who blinks first. And it’s a dynamic that bears watching in the months to come as, presumably, the Legislature intensifies its efforts to pass criminal justice and health care reform.

That process starts Thursday when the Senate is expected to debate a sweeping criminal justice reform bill.

— Matt Murphy


  • Legislature poised to tackle top issues
  • McGovern on Trump and health care, Warren on Puerto Rico
  • Veterans group backs Newton mayor for governor
  • Watch: Chandler, senators trumpet healthcare cost reduction bill
  • State releases 182-page omnibus Amazon HQ2 bid

Worcester Weekly: Mayoral debate, Fall Fest on the Common + more, Oct. 22-28

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Oct. 22 — Great Pumpkin Nights, 6-9 p.m., EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way  Want to feel old? (“No,” says everybody ever — but let’s play along.) The classic autumn TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” debuted 51 years ago this week, Oct. 27, 1966. Forget lollipops and Halloween candy, Linus is bringing Activia to the pumpkin patch these days.

A better way to feel young again would be the EcoTarium’s 14th annual Halloween-themed fundraiser. More than 3,000 professionally carved jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin displays light up the museum grounds (well, not all the way; bring a flashlight!). “Friendly” costumes encouraged. Trick-or-treating, entertainment and more fun.

Inbox [Oct. 22-28]: News and notes from WCTI, Latino Education Institute, Mass. Symphony, Veterans Inc., Comparetto committee and library

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

[Editor’s note: This roundup contains a political endorsement notice from a campaign group. The Worcester Sun sharing these publicly available statements in no way constitutes an endorsement on our part of the corresponding organization’s or individual’s choices or opinions.]

WCTI to host rocket pitch on Tuesday

Local hardware startups will pitch their unique problems and products to a panel of manufacturing and supply chain experts, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Worcester CleanTech Incubator, 44 Portland St.

Hosted by WCTI in partnership with Adam Rodrigues of the Greentown Labs Manufacturing Initiative, the event will include such startups as Kinetic Batteries, which is developing an innovative solution to make more efficient the battery manufacturing process, and ShakeWhey, which is developing a touch-screen vending machine designed to mix protein shakes.

Seating is limited.