Friday, March 07, 2014

A home at the Frederick

Amy Daniels started her teaching career at the Lilla G. Frederick in 2003.  She was fresh out of college and moved here from Pennsylvania with a degree in health and physical education with a concentration in sports administration.

I recently met with Ms. Daniels to talk about the importance of athletic programs in public education. “Sports are an essential part of life for people of all ages. Ms. Daniels says, “Sports teach our young people the value of teamwork, cooperation, discipline, and commitment.”  In 2003 there weren’t any sports programs offered at the Frederick. However, in the past 10 years Frederick has built one of the most successful middle school athletic programs in Massachusetts; there are currently 12 sports programs at the school. “We have coaches who are consistent, clear, disciplined. We all work together as an athletic department to help our student athletes work hard academically, and to instill pride within each and every student athlete,” says Daniels.

“What role did athletics play in your life?” I asked.  She noted that sports allowed her to achieve dreams she never thought possible. She struggled academically and came from a troubled household, but playing sports gave her self-confidence and provided an outlet where she learned how to overcome her obstacles. “Playing sports gave me something to like about myself.  I was filled with hatred and negativity because of my family life. It also taught me the importance of time management, commitment, dedication and pride,” says Daniels.

She graduated high school on an athletic scholarship that provided her the financial means to go to college. “Sports provided me with the foundation I needed to represent myself and my community in two International Rugby Board World Cup events!”

Eleven years later she finds herself still at the Frederick. Being a physical education teacher in Boston Public Schools has been a great privilege and honor for her.  Ms. Daniel prides herself on the relationships she builds with her students in the classroom and on the court. “I have often found Boston Public Schools to possess some of the most profound students.” Her students see her as a successful international female athlete who has chosen to work in Dorchester. She is constantly asked why she decided to stay with BPS.  Her reply: “Well, someone has to teach you what you need to know to fill my shoes.”

 Amy Daniels never thought that when she walked into the Frederick building for her interview that it was going to change her life completely. “I quickly found a place for me underneath this roof that I proudly say is my home.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

The American Lung Association recognizes the Trotter

The American Lung Association recognized the Trotter Innovation School with the 2013 Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Champion Silver Award on Friday, January 11, 2014. The AFSI Champion Awards are given to schools that have taken positive strides to create a healthier learning environment using the strategies outlined in the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative.

Margaret Rocchio, a nurse at the Trotter, was one of the staff members honored. She was featured in our blog spot in 2012. Check it out:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hidden Gem: The King

Boston Public Schools “hidden gems” are schools that go unnoticed or are undiscovered; they may not have the highest test scores or be highly chosen by families, but when you visit the school/community you will notice that they are offering great opportunities for families and changes are happening at the schools. We hope the “The Hidden Gem Series” help families uncover their great talents and attributes.

This month we are featuring The King K-8 School:

Hidden Gem: The King K-8 School

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Japan's famous mascot visits BPS

While the governor of Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture attended suit-and-tie events here in Boston Wednesday, his wide-eyed and bubbly diplomatic emissary was busy spreading fun at two of the city's public schools.

The furry Kumamon, already a big hit in his homeland, brought giggles and dance to Taylor Elementary and Boston Latin Academy. His high-energy was infectious inside 4th and 5th grade Advanced Work Classes at Taylor. Kumamon led a do-as-I-do dance and invited the students to pose with him for the accompanying Japanese media, which included the Fuji Television Network, one of the largest networks in Japan.

The two schools have strong Japanese language programs, and students greeted Kumamon by saying "Ohayougozaimasu," which is Japanese for welcome.

"This just enhances their whole Japanese program," said Julie Caldarone, the BPS Senior Program Director for World Languages.

"This brings a piece of Japan into their classroom, opens their eyes to the rest of the world, that's what it's all about…that's what we want," Caldarone said.

By Brian Ballou

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Madison's Cupcake Queen

Lisa Daniels started her own online business, Queen Cupcake Creations, and she owes much of her success to her learning experience at Madison Park High School. Madison Park is Boston’s only technical/vocational high school. It’s also a fully accredited college preparatory high school offering a selection of academic courses.

Recently Lisa stopped by Madison Park to visit her former culinary art teacher, Mr. Lucas. While there, she talked to students and encouraged them to never give up on their dreams and to peruse the career that best suits them.

I asked her to elaborate on Madison’s influence on her career choice and she said, “Madison helped me reach my goals. I was able to do a co-op, which prepared me for my field. My vocational teachers, Mr. Lucas, Mr. B , and Mrs. Lambert taught me a lot and made learning fun for me! Their support encouraged me to further my career goals by attending college."

After graduating from Madison she attended a culinary college in Pennsylvania and soon after that started her own business. "Business has been great ! I've learned that customer service is very important and one should always be prepared with his/her best!"

To learn about courses offered visit

You can also check out Lisa Daniels site at

Friday, November 08, 2013

Play Me, I'm Yours!

Play Me, I'm Yours was in Boston from September 27th -October 14th. 75 pianos were scattered throughout the city to celebrate the Celebrity Series of Boston. This wonderful event brought communities, friends, and even strangers together. The pianos were painted by local artists and students from the Boston Public Schools (which are featured in the video). The piano locations featured in this video are: Boston Common (artist Arielle Bremby), Old State House (artist from Youth Design), Museum of Fine Arts (artist Hilary Zelson), Copley Square (artist from Huntington Theatre Co. Production Crew), Castle Island (artist from Murphy K-8 School), Esplanade (artist from More Than Words Youth), Faneuil Hall (artist Gina Heeren), and City Hall Plaza (artists Michael Crockett and Frank Casazza).


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Math made me want to learn English!

Former 8th grade student Tuyet Nguyen scored 280 (perfect score) on the 8th grade Math MCAS last year while a student at the Rogers Middle School. What makes this especially remarkable is that she was an ELD 1 student (non-English speaker) when she started last year at the Rogers.

Tuyet Nguyen came to the United States from Vietnam in May 2012. After her arrival she enrolled at the Rogers Middle School, which was a hard transition for her. Since she was unable to understand English, making new friends and understanding class instruction was hard for her.

Math, however became Tuyet’s favorite subject and class. Her Math teacher, Steve Mook, encouraged her to learn English and not give up.  “Mr. Mook was a great teacher. When I didn't understand something he tried to help me understand his lessons by connecting it to life. Math made me want to learn English!” says Tuyet.

Tuyet is currently a 9th grader at Excel High in South Boston. “Last year was both a difficult time and a rewarding time for me. I came to school with no English; I didn’t even understand my teachers. Soon my English got better and I was happier and excited to learn,” says Tuyet. She owes much of her success at Excel to her experience at the Rogers Middle School, particularly Mr. Mook’s class.

Thanks, Mr. Mook, for going above and beyond as a teacher!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hector: " I get to be a cowboy ! "

For three years Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts has been providing therapeutic horseback riding to students at the Josiah Quincy School.  Six elementary level students who are physically challenged are taken to the Bridge Center in Bridgewater, MA and get a chance to ride a horse with assistance. This is a 12-week program that serves up to 24 students.

"The Bridge Center is a fully accessible 20+ acre campus that offers year-round, summer camp, and equine assisted programs designed for children, teens and adults with special needs," says Lauren Havens, Program Director for Therapeutic Recreation at Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts.  The City of Boston provides the buses and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation supports the program at the Bridge Center.

“This is a great opportunity that helps students increase self-confidence and interest in learning,” adds Mr. Sacco, a teacher volunteer. “ This is a wonderful program and a fantastic opportunity for our amazing children! ”

Here are some quotes from students who participate in the program:

Hector:  "I love horseback ridding.  I get to be a cowboy."

Elvis: "Horseback riding is fun and it is the first time I have been on a farm."

Pedro: "Horseback riding is really good exercise.  I usually sleep all the way home."

Casady: "I go really fast on my horse."

Ajamu: " I talk to my horse, Roxy, every week.  I miss her when I can't come"

To learn more about this program visit: 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hidden Gem Series: Mendell School

BPS has great schools and we want you to learn more about them. This month we are kicking off our “Hidden Gem Series.” This series will highlight a school that is doing amazing work. We will give you an inside look at what’s happening in classrooms across the district. You will also hear from principals, teachers, and support staff at the school.

Our “hidden gem” for this month is the Mendell School located in Roxbury, MA.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

If you want to tell us about your school please forward to the Communications office or email and your school maybe featured next month!

Success Boston College Month

October is College Month and cities across the country are helping students prepare for college.  In honor of college month, Boston Public Schools and Success Boston has teamed up for Success Boston College Month.   Events and resources will be provided to students and parents to aid them through the college process.

“Our students in Boston are brilliant and talented, and it is our job to make sure they are well positioned for competitive post-secondary scholarships, college and career opportunities,“ says Marsha Inniss-Mitchell – Director of College Readiness Initiatives

Please take a look at the attached calendar for a list of opportunities and resources:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A 17 year dream at the Manning

Last week a ribbon cutting was held at the Joseph P. Manning School  in Jamaica Plain in celebration of the school’s new walking path.  Recently I caught up with Marvin Mitchell, the special education administrator who headed the project, to learn more about the path.

Mr. Mitchell has been working at the school for 17 years. When he arrived he noticed all the green space available at the Manning. “We have a green campus. You can see deer, turkey and other wildlife in the area,” says Mitchell.  “I always wanted to put this space to use.”

It wasn’t until 2008 that plans were made to create an outdoor space for teaching. Mr. Mitchell sent a proposal to the Boston Schoolyard Initiative requesting funding for the ‘The Manning Walk through the Woods,' which would include areas for writing, science, and music.  Ross Miller from the Schoolyard Initiative approved his plan and it was a go.  “This project was a 17 year dream of mine and a 5 year goal, ” says Mr. Mitchell lightheartedly.

Today the Manning Walk through the Woods is a natural outdoor classrooms along a pathway where students can learn in a soothing environment. “The Walk through the Wood is especially helpful for our students with behavioral challenges and emotional impairments who, with an adult, use this natural space to reduce their anxiety. It helps them make responsible decisions.” This project aligns with the school culture that is adamant about incorporating social-emotional curriculum in the classroom. “We believe that social-emotional classes are not just beneficial to students with impairments, but to all students.”

 The staff and students are happy with the finished product and thankful to all those who contributed. It has become a great refuge not only for the students, but also for the teachers and staff as well. “The Manning School has created an exploratory outdoor teaching and learning site that demonstrates and promotes environmental sustainability and we are all grateful," ends Mitchell.

This project was made possible not only with the help of Boston Schoolyard Initiative and school staff, but with the assistance of volunteers from Boston Cares and graduate students from Wentworth Institute who helped with the design.

You can view the video of the ribbon cutting here: