5 Things You Need To Know Today in Worcester – October 22, 2019

by | Oct 22, 2019 | News, Headlines

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition — Tuesday, Oct. 22 —  NEADS is graduating a new class of service dogs, Worcester’s arena football team is staying put at the DCU Center, WPI got a big grant to work on an online math program, a car dealership makes a great donation to the Worcester Animal Rescue League and Worcester Historical Museum is extending the LGBTQ+ exhibit for another month.

NEADS to Graduate New Class of Service Dogs 

Join NEADS service dog teams, their friends and families, as well as NEADS staff, volunteer puppy raisers, and supporters to come together to recognize these life-changing partnerships with a ceremony on Nov. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fitchburg. 

This fall’s graduating class represents a wide range of NEADS Service Dogs, including service dogs for veterans, individuals with physical disabilities, hearing, children with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as assistance dogs for professionals in classroom, courthouse and hospital settings.

Suggested donation is $5 per person upon entrance. 


Worcester Gets Arena Football for Another Year at the DCU Center 

Massachusetts Pirates’ owner Jawad Yatim has confirmed that the organization has opted into the third year of its agreement with the DCU Center and has accepted the team option for the season ahead.

Yatim said, “We’re looking forward to competing at the DCU Center this upcoming season. It’s a place we’ve called home since day one and we’re staying committed to the state of Massachusetts, the city of Worcester and of course Pirate Nation. We’re looking forward to a great season. Go Pirates!”

Over the last two regular seasons the Pirates have a .733 winning percentage at the DCU Center with an 11 and 4 record.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL) and play all home games at the DCU Center in Worcester. Pirates season tickets for the 2020 season are now available starting at $99. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates, go here:  www.masspiratesfootball.com.

WPI Gets $8 Million From U.S. Dept. of Ed to Expand Online Learning Tool for Math 

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is getting a whole bunch of dough over a five-year span to scale ASSISTments, a responsive online learning tool based in learning science.

WPI, in partnership with The ASSISTments Foundation, has been awarded an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program.

This U.S. Department of Education EIR Mid-Phase grant supports interventions that have already demonstrated their effectiveness. In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse published a federal research review of the ASSISTments Efficacy Trial and found the study to “meet standards without reservations.” In order to achieve this status,  the study of the intervention needed to have had “positive effects without reservation.” This evaluation supported the validity of the study, which provides evidence that ASSISTments is one of only a handful of proven interventions in the U.S. for mathematics.

This grant, led by Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean’s professor of computer science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI, is going to be applied to this responsive online learning tool based in learning science. This project focuses on high-needs middle school math students and their teachers in predominantly rural areas.

ASSISTments is currently used by 2,500 teachers across 46 states and in 14 countries; the team expects to expand ASSISTments to all 50 states by 2025.

“This funding will also allow us to expand new faculty opportunities across the Learning Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute,” said Heffernan, “thus increasing our ongoing efforts to build and study educational technology. We couldn’t be more thrilled.” 


Worcester Animal Rescue League to Get a Vehicle Stuffed With Donations at Subaru Pet Night 

And in keeping with the animal theme today on TWIW, this is the first ever pet owner night in celebration of Subaru Loves Pets and and #MakeADogsDay, and everyone’s invited to join with their leashed four-legged friends on Tuesday, Oct. 22, from 6-8 p.m., at Patrick Motors Subaru in Shrewsbury. 

The event celebrates our four-legged friends, and Subaru’s relatively-new program that is focused on the mission. The dealership is excited to be presenting the Worcester Animal Rescue League with a Subaru Forester stuffed with donations. In addition, the event includes prizes for best costume, giveaways, and local animal-friendly vendors. Subaru Loves Pets night is also be joined by local animal friendly businesses and organizations such as Scrub-A-Dub, Pet Rock Festival, Loyal Companion, K9 Pawformance Massage and The Queen’s Cups. Woof! 


Worcester Historical Museum Extends Its Popular LGBTQ+ Exhibit 

LGBTQ+ Worcester: FOR THE RECORD exhibit is being extended through Saturday, Nov. 16, the museum announced this week. 

Hundreds of people have visited this exceptional exhibit co-curated by Clark University professor Robert Tobin, College of the Holy Cross professor Stephanie Yuhl, Worcester Polytechnic Institute professorJoseph Cullon and Worcester Historical Museum executive director William Wallace and community engagement director David Connor.

After a year of Discovery Days and countless number of meetings, the exhibit launched on May 30, 2019. Since that time, there have been dozens of programs and that seven new programs have been added for the extension. 

All programs are at Worcester Historical Museum unless otherwise stated and are free with museum admission.

The LGBTQ+ exhibit brings together the scattered documentation of Worcester County’s LGBTQ+ experience made possible in partnership with College of the Holy Cross, Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Digital Worcester. 

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