The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


Building on What Works


For Gateway Cities, public education has become the foundation upon which all else stands. Schools make our neighborhoods strong because families choose homes based on the quality of the learning opportunities in the community. Public education is also critical for Gateway Cities because we have large and disproportionately young populations. Our youth will make up a very sizeable share of the future labor force in our regions. Their skills will be critical to attracting employers and strengthening local businesses and civic organizations.


These realities led us to develop the Gateway Cities Education Vision, which outlines exactly what's needed to ensure that our communities are able to offer children and families exceptional learning experiences. Joining the Building on What Works Coalition last week was a major step forward in our effort to advance these policies.


This new coalition will unite educators, business leaders, and elected officials around a proposal for a $75 million fund to invest in early education and expanded learning time. This fund would also provide resources to help our cities design the innovative community-wide learning systems we envision.


Gateway City educators have made significant progress in recent years establishing what works, but too often our gains have been achieved with unstable grant funding. A perfect example is the Summer Enrichment Academies we successfully built to better serve English Language Learners. Rigorous research established that these programs delivered results in their very first year. Last week, all funding for these academies was eliminated by 9c cuts.  


The Building on What Works Coalition's proposal is not another pilot program. Rather, it is an avenue to visibly demonstrate that when funding is provided to expand evidence-based practices we put those funds to use productively and with a high level of accountability. Given the tight budgets and difficult choices the state faces, this proposal is a responsible way to ensure that we continue to invest in communities that are working hard to ensure that all of our children receive the learning experiences that they will need to succeed.


Mayor Lisa Wong - City of Fitchburg

Mayor Kim Driscoll - City of Salem



Building on What Works Coalition Launch


At an event at the State House last week, the representatives of four of Massachusetts leading education advocacy groups were joined by co-chairs Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem and Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg to announce the launch of the Building on What Works Coalition


The new coalition includes educators, business leaders, and elected officials from across the state.

In addition to Mayor Wong & Mayor Driscoll, co-chairs of the Building on What Works Coalition include Chris Gabrieli, Co-Founder of Massachusetts 2020; Linda Noonan, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education; Chris Martes, President & CEO of Strategies for Children; and Tripp Jones, Founder and Board Member of MassINC.


The Coalition is proposing a $75 million fund in the state's fiscal year 2016 budget that would be dedicated to funding education programs in the highest need communities in Massachusetts.


Housing & Economic Development


Gov. Baker gives his first major economic development address at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast. The Governor outlined a regional approach but also made clear that his administration recognized cities needed economic development approaches tailored to their urban environments. This has been a consistent theme for Baker, as we noted in a blog post looking at his campaign's economic development plan. 


Growing business across the city by building a qualified workforce is the focus for the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and their new Board of Directors.


Will Indiana eat our lunch? Looks like the Hoosier state is getting serious about strengthening and promoting its regional cities.


Delegations from Brockton, Fitchburg, and Lawrence are selected to attend this year's Community Progress Leadership Institute.


Cleveland creates a special tax district to pay for transformative development.


Developers in New Bedford are collaborating with Mayor Jon Mitchell on plans for a mixed-use building to be built in a vacant lot downtown. The building would include apartments and office space. highlights Qunicy as the next potential landing spot for young professionals.




Administrators in Lawrence launch the Abbott Lawrence Academy, which will be located at Lawrence High and enroll about 100 students in what officials say will be an academically rigorous, college preparatory public school, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


A state takeover of the Holyoke public schools seems likely, CommonWealth reports.


A new book takes a hard look at the difficulty cities face building economically integrated public schools.


New Bedford High School alum Dr. Irwin Jacobs, founder of Fortune 500 company Qualcomm, awards the school a technology grant to help fund the school's efforts to provide new technology devices to students and teachers as well as test a classroom pilot program.


A regional partnership of higher education institutions, CONNECT, will explore the possibility of building a life sciences education and training center as part of the Myles Standish Industrial Park expansion in Taunton. The study is funded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.


The Salem News reports on the patchwork quilt of kindergarten offerings across the state.




The Plymouth County district attorney is seeking new offices in Brockton, leading to speculation the move would put the office outside of walking distance from the District and Superior courts downtown.


The Fall River City Council reconsiders purchasing new computers, which they rejected under former Mayor Will Flanagan, as the city's financial software expires in April and cannot be updated by the company that designed it.




Officials on both sides of the span agree that the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge that stretches across the Acushnet River and dates back to 1801 needs to be replaced, with proposals ranging from $50 million to $120 million.


The T promised repairs to a rail bridge between Salem and Beverly in 2008, but the work was never done, the Salem News reports.


With much of the attention on Boston during the recent snowstorms throughout the region, local newspapers highlight how other cities are handling the snow. Wicked Local reports on Fall River.



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