Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cleveland Middle School gives thanks and more

The Grover Cleveland Middle School in Dorchester held a pre-Thanksgiving feast for students and staff last week. The meal included traditional Thanksgiving staples as well as many home-cooked dishes from families of all different backgrounds. Local businesses, including C.F. Donovan's Pub in Savin Hill and Atlantic Bagel in Hingham, also donated to the feast. When the students and staff were stuffed, they gathered the left-overs and delivered them to the Kit Clark Senior Center as a way of sharing in the spirit of giving thanks. Pictured here are student Jeremy Armstrong and teacher Alma Minoza.

Renovations to begin for new Burke High School

The $42 million renovation project that will result in a new and improved Jeremiah E. Burke High School is underway. Mayor Menino and city officials from the Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library and Boston Centers for Youth and Families will come together with members of the Grove Hall community next week to break ground on the future Burke School / Library / Community Center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, scheduled to open by September 2008. All are welcome at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, December 7, at 11:30 a.m. on the Geneva Avenue side of the building. Pictured here is a rendering of the completed project from the architectural firm of Schwartz/Silver Associates.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Iraq veteran returns to McKinley South End Academy

Staff and students at the McKinley South End Academy recently had an emotional homecoming for a guidance advisor who has been serving in Iraq for more than a year. Major Carlos V. Silva, U.S. Army Reserves, earned the Bronze Star Medal for providing counseling and other mental health services to thousands of American soldiers around issues of trauma, loss, and adjustment to military life. Major Silva was welcomed back to the McKinley with a large banner draped over the building. The Bronze Star Medal is fourth-highest award presented by the United States Armed Forces for bravery, heroism or meritorious service. Watch a special segment about Major Silva on WCVB Channel 5 News!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Monument High students promote safe Thanksgiving travel

Students at Monument High School in the South Boston Education Complex recently helped state and local police promote safe automotive travel over the Thanksgiving weekend. Teams of students competed in a "Quick-Click-Buckle-Up" Challenge, vying to be the fastest at buckling up in all four seating positions of a car. The event highlighted several public safety efforts to keep holiday travelers safer, including a two-week "Click It or Ticket" mobilization campaign. "In a fun way, these students helped us to make a common sense point of how simple it is to protect yourself by putting on a safety belt," said State Police Colonel Mark Delaney. Monument High School offers a standards-based, thematic curriculum that combines core subject areas with innovative criminal justice and public safety courses to prepare students for success in college and in the public safety sector. Pictured here, Monument senior Telisha Gilliard speaks at the event alongside law enforcement officials.

McKay students learn to "keep climbing" to reach their goals

Students at the Donald McKay K-8 School in East Boston recently got a lesson in courage and perseverance from Wendy Booker, a woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) who is on a mission to climb the world’s Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each continent. Ms. Booker visited a fourth grade classroom at the McKay, the first in a series of three visits she will make to the school as she prepares to climb Argentina’s Mt. Aconcagua this winter. Pictured here is Ms. Booker with Jim Cleere's 4th grade class.

Orchard Gardens students' illustrations featured in new book

With help from students at the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School, Richard Trombetta, a board member of Generations Incorporated, has published a new book to benefit the organization's intergenerational literacy programming. Siamese Sam and the Things He Will Eat, based on the adventures of Mr. Trombetta's cat Sam, is illustrated by 3rd and 5th grade students at Orchard Gardens. The book is available for purchase on-line. 100% of the proceeds will support Generations Incorporated, a 13 year-old non-profi t organization that unites youth and older adults in mentoring and learning situations to provide community support and to improve the literacy rate in Boston Public Schools.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Keith Lockhart tries a different Beethoven...

If Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart were to be Principal for a Day, what better place than the Ludwig van Beethoven Elementary School in West Roxbury? Keith recently spent the morning with principal Eileen Nash, learning about her job, visiting classrooms, and even helping students with their violin lessons.

Edwards Middle School highlighted on WBUR

The Edwards Middle School in Charlestown was featured in a news radio story on 90.9 WBUR about school districts in Massachusetts extending the school day to provide additional learning and enrichment time. (Listening to the story requires free download of RealPlayer software.) The Edwards is one of three Boston public middle schools -- along with the Umana/Barnes Middle School in East Boston and the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury -- that received state funding to extend the school day for all students beginning this year. The Umana/Barnes and Timilty extended day programs will be featured on the December 10 episode of Byron Barnett's "Urban Update" at 11:30 a.m. on WHDH-TV, Channel 7.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Citizen Schools treats community members to breakfast

Citizen Schools, an innovative after-school program for middle school students, hosted a breakfast for community members recently to learn more about the organization. With campuses at 10 BPS middle schools, the program engages students in creative activities that help them reach high standards and master new academic and life skills. Pictured here, Babita Sammy, a 7th grade student at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School, described how the Citizen Schools Apprenticeships program is helping to prepare her to go to Harvard University and later become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Community Academy students go on rural retreat

To help his Community Academy students get mentally and emotionally ready for the challenge of the MCAS exams next spring, English and history teacher Will Connell thought they needed a break from the bustle of city living. He and two other teachers recently accompanied five members of the sophomore class on an overnight trip to Greenmont Farms in Underhill Center, Vermont, as Mr. Connell described, "to free their minds surrounding the test, and to begin the process of creating individual paths to proficiency." While in the country, the students stayed in a converted barn, cooked on an open campfire, and went hiking and rock climbing. Mr. Connell said the experience was powerful for the students: "I think our students will be going into this test with a better understanding of themselves and a better understanding of what it means to be on unfamiliar ground."

Dearborn Middle School shines at Niketown 5K for Kids

The Dearborn Middle School was a clear winner at the recent Niketown 5K for Kids race at Franklin Park, raising more money and fielding more participants than any other school. Nearly 100 students, family members and staff from the school participated in either the 5K (3.1 miles) race or the NikeGo 1 Mile run, earning the Dearborn $1,485. The school plans to use the money support its physical education program and to create a fitness boot camp for 8th graders and staff. Two Dearborn students—7th grader Daisy Guzman and 8th grader Michael Campbell—were the first female and male runners to finish the one-mile run, which began just after the 5K. The Dearborn students had spent weeks preparing for the race by going on timed runs in their physical education class. Four other BPS schools were also among the top ten fundraisers: Fenway High School; Roosevelt Elementary School; Mission Hill K-8 School; and Orchard Gardens K-8 School.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Boy Scouts honor Bak Fun Wong

Quincy Upper School Headmaster Bak Fun Wong was honored by the Boston Minuteman Council of the Boy Scouts of America at their annual Champion for Character awards reception. Dr. Wong received the 2006 Crystal Apple award in recognition of his commitment to the Boy Scouts' "Learning for Life" program, focused on social and life skills, character and career development, and positive personal values. Quincy Upper School is one of 13 Boston Public Schools to offer the curriculum to its students.

Boston compared to other cities on NAEP Science exam

Boston is one of ten urban public school districts that agreed to be part of a new measurement of city schools' performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the "Nation's Report Card." The Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) breaks out the NAEP results in English, math and science from these 10 urban centers to provide city districts with performance comparisons among comparable student populations. Yesterday, officials released the grade 4 and 8 results on the 2005 science exam, which showed mixed results, with BPS students outperforming their peers in some cities but not others. Results in mathematics released last year showed Boston making greater improvements than all other participating cities in the percentages of students scoring proficient.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pats player visits Irving Middle School

Washington Irving Middle School 7th grade student Shaun Toney was a popular guy yesterday as he walked the halls with a special guest. New England Patriots Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman Richard Seymour visited the Roslindale school as part of the "Take a Player to School" sweepstakes sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund and the National Football League. Pictured here, Mr. Seymour admires Shaun's skills with the media.

Boston schools celebrate International Education Week

This week is International Education Week, a joint initiative between the US Department of State and the US Department of Education to celebrate and promote educational exchange between the US and other countries of the world. Many Boston schools provide opportunities for global learning and exchange throughout the year.

Jim McIntyre completes Urban Superintendents Academy

James P. McIntyre, Jr., BPS Chief Operating Officer, is one of 17 recent graduates from the Urban Superintendents Academy sponsored by the Broad Foundation. The year-long program helps train the next generation of candidates to lead city public school districts. Prior to serving in his current position, Jim had been the district's Budget Director and Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Congratulations, Jim!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Toddlers play and learn in new group

Children between the ages of one and three can now get an early glimpse of school life, thanks to new "Play and Learn Groups" at the Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. Hosted by the West Zone Early Learning Center, the program is a partnership among the BPS, Countdown to Kindergarten, the Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts, ReadBoston and Children's Hospital Boston, designed to begin the education of students and the engagement of their families at a younger age. Families with children ages 1-3 who live in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury can participate in the free programs, which are offered four days a week in the mornings and evenings. The district plans to expand this pilot program into other neighborhoods in the coming years.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Brits and the Arts

Students and faculty at the Boston Arts Academy recently welcomed educators from British high schools who were in Boston to attend the 3rd Summit and iNet Conference for Leadership in Education. At the conference, Co-Headmaster Linda Nathan, Music faculty member Allyssa Jones, and four music students led a workshop on "Transforming Schools through the Arts." That evening, students visiting from British high schools attended BAA theatre students' performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Pictured here, BAA students Zakiyyah Sutton and Jamie Singh lead a British educator on a tour of the school.

Kilmer School to begin K-8 expansion next year

The Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in West Roxbury will soon be expanded to span kindergarten through grade 8 (K-8). The School Committee approved a proposal to begin the Kilmer K-8 starting with a new grade 6 in September 2007, with grade 7 and 8 added in each subsequent year. The proposal creates a two-building campus for the Kilmer, with K1 through grade 3 housed at the school's current facility at 35 Baker Street, and grades 4 through 8 at the former Lyndon Elementary School on Russett Road (now vacant). The Kilmer will become the district's 20th K-8 program, up from only three K-8 programs in 1995. The Hurley School in the South End also will begin K-8 expansion next year with the addition of grade 6. Three other schools -- the Perry in South Boston, the Jackson/Mann in Allston-Brighton, and the Eliot in the North End -- began expansion this September and will each add a grade 7 next year. The school selection process for September 2007 is now underway, with registration beginning in January.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two BPS employees earn Shattuck Awards for public service

Two BPS staff were among the eight City of Boston employees honored by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau with 2006 Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Awards: Ann Caputo Kirby, middle and high school coordinator at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, and Henry "Buddy" Paull, facilities manager at the Boston Arts Academy and Fenway High School. The School Committee and Superintendent presented citations to the pair to thank them for their outstanding service.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nearly 100 community leaders serve as "Principal For A Day"

They all have difficult jobs, but today they got a glimpse of a different leadership role: being a BPS principal or headmaster. Nearly 100 CEOs and other business and civic leaders spent the morning shadowing city school leaders in the 4th annual Principal For A Day program sponsored by BPS and the Boston Plan for Excellence, with support from Bank of America. Pictured here, Paul La Camera, General Manager of WBUR, observes a science experiment at the Umana/Barnes Middle School in East Boston.

Hale Elementary celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The Nathan Hale Elementary School community in Roxbury recently celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) with a school assembly and international food festival. City Councilor Felix Arroyo joined parents, students, staff, and school partners in a parade of world flags, followed by a speaking program in English and Spanish, featuring student tributes to prominent Hispanic figures.

Help fight hunger through "Boston Can Share"

BPS and all City departments are participating in the 20th annual Boston Can Share food drive. Between November 6 and December 1, all schools and central offices will collect donated food to help the Greater Boston Food Bank feed Boston families and individuals during the holidays. Last year, our students and employees contributed over 37,000 food items, a 26% increase over the year before. Please give generously again so that no one will go hungry this holiday season.