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Students at Massachusetts school offered free haircuts, manicures before MCAS testing

Worcester students treated to free haircuts before MCAS testing
Worcester students treated to free haircuts before MCAS testing 00:20

WORCESTER - Fifth and sixth graders in Worcester were treated to a salon experience on Monday before a week of MCAS testing.

Barbers, hair braiders and nail technicians from Michelangelo's Barbershop and Nails offered the free service at Vernon Hill Elementary School, where state data shows 83.6% of students are from low-income populations.  

Confidence boost

The pampering had a purpose: Help kids feel their best before a week of testing.

"Feeling good leads to doing good," Vernon Hill principal Craig Dottin said in a statement. "When we feel good about ourselves that positive energy is placed in everything we do."

The school gym became a barbershop for the event, complete with magazines and music in a waiting area. 

Students were treated to haircuts before MCAS testing in Worcester.  Kyle Prudhomme/Worcester Public Schools

Michaelangelo's owner, Michael Angelo, is a former Worcester Public Schools student who said it was a joy to help the kids look and feel their best.

"It was good to allow them to tap into resources that we didn't have at that age and it felt good on our end to see the smiles of those kids and seeing their self-esteem and confidence after," he said.   

MCAS testing in Massachusetts

Academic leaders will keep a close eye on this year's MCAS results to see how schools have rebounded from COVID. The 2023 Egnlish/Language Arts and Math test results showed that while the achievement slide had halted, Massachusetts still has a "long way to go" to recover from pandemic learning loss. 

At the high school level, there is a 2024 ballot initiative to remove the MCAS test as a graduation requirement. 

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