Thursday, June 28, 2007

BPS leaders retire after many years of service

The School Committee and Superintendent Contompasis recently honored school leaders and senior district staff who are retiring after many years of service to the Boston Public Schools. Each has been employee of the BPS for more than three decades, and together, they represent more than 180 years of service to the families and children of Boston. Pictured here is Maryellen Donahue, retiring Director of the Office of Research, Assessment and Evaluation. Click on "Comments" below to post wishes of thanks and congratulations to these dedicated educators.

Class of 2008 well on track to graduation

Members of the BPS Class of 2008 have not even begun their senior year yet, but more than three out of four students already have met the State's MCAS graduation requirement. Results released this week show that 78% of members of Boston's Class of 2008 have passed both the Math and English sections of the Grade 10 MCAS exams. They are considerably ahead of their predecessors from the Class of 2003 -- the first class who had to pass the tests in order to graduate -- with only 56% of that class having met the requirement by this point in their high school career.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Search Committee recommends next BPS Superintendent: Dr. Carol R. Johnson

The Superintendent Search Committee will unanimously present a sole finalist to Mayor Menino and the Boston School Committee in a press conference tomorrow afternoon. The panel plans to recommend the selection of Dr. Carol R. Johnson, currently Superintendent of the Memphis City Schools, as the next Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. Dr. Johnson has been credited in Memphis with turning around low-performing schools, narrowing achievement gaps, and successfully engaging families and the community in school reform. Prior to her tenure in Memphis, Dr. Johnson was Superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools. The School Committee intends to vote on the recommendation at its June 27 meeting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pick up a copy of the new "Boston Educator"

The year-end issue of the Boston Educator newspaper is now available in print and on-line. The third issue of this school year features stories about many exciting programs, initiatives, and successes in the Boston Public Schools. The publication is produced by Grant Communications in partnership with the BPS Communications Office and the Mayor's Office, and is sponsored by Comcast. Copies of the latest issue have been distributed to students and staff in every school, and are also available in Family Resource Centers, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and Comcast payment centers.

Teachers who inspire

Fourteen remarkable Boston Public Schools educators have been selected as the 2007 Boston Educators of the Year. Nominated by colleagues and families from their schools, these teachers and other school staff will be honored in a ceremony next week hosted by Mayor Menino, the School Committee, Superintendent Contompasis, and the Boston Teachers Union. Pictured here with his students is one of the honorees, David Lucas, a Baking Instructor at Madison Park Technical-Vocational High School.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Achieving "Excel-lence": College scholarships abound

Graduating seniors from Excel High School at the South Boston Education Complex have earned more than $2.3 million in scholarships to colleges and universities throughout New England and around the country. The 60 members of Excel's Class of 2007 have more than doubled the scholarship total earned by the class before them. To celebrate the students’ success, the staff at Excel created a College Wall (pictured here), displaying college acceptance and scholarship letters in the school’s main hallway to inspire other students, including those in the earlier grades, to work hard and pursue the path to college.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Students shine at Special Olympics

Hundreds of Boston Public Schools students enjoyed a sunny morning of fun athletic activities yesterday at White Stadium during the BPS Special Olympics. After a hiatus for several years due to funding issues, the Special Olympics returned to Boston to provide students from seven high schools and four elementary schools with an opportunity to exercise, compete, and celebrate. This year, Boston and Malden became the first communities in Massachusetts to include younger students in the games. While most Special Olympics athletes are at least 8 years old, Boston launched the new "Unified Young Athletes" program, in which students ages 3-8 from inclusion classrooms -- that is, students with and without disabilites -- participate together. The event was sponsored in part by Special Olympics of Massachusetts.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

CVS supports extended day middle schools

The three BPS middle schools that extended their school day this year got a boost yesterday from CVS, which presented a $100,000 donation to support the Extended Learning Time initiative at the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, Timilty Middle School in Roxbury and Umana/Barnes Middle School in East Boston. The longer school day at these schools includes more instructional time in core academic subjects, as well as more time for tutoring, arts, and recreation. Pictured here at a celebration at the Umana/Barnes, CVS/Pharmacy Area Vice President Dennis Tewell presents a check to 7th grade Umana/Barnes student and drama club member Paloma Hernandez. Looking on are (left to right) Timilty Principal Valeria Lowe-Barehmi, Edwards Principal Michael Sabin, and Umana/Barnes Principal Dr. Jose Salgado.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Young artists earn Aznive college scholarships

Three graduating seniors have won Grace N. Aznive Visual Arts Scholarships for their accomplishments in the visual arts. Each student will receive a $1,000 award toward the continuation of arts study at the college level. They are (pictured here, left to right): Adrian Guerra of Charlestown, Boston Arts Academy, attending the Art Institute of Boston next year; Szu-Chieuh Yun of the South End, Boston Arts Academy, attending Massachusetts College of Art next year; and Susan Shian of Charlestown, Boston Latin School, also attending Massachusetts College of Art next year.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Three Boston educators to become Conant Fellows

Three Boston Public Schools educators have been named James Bryant Conant Fellows at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the upcoming school year:
  • Amy Bisiewicz, Office of Instructional and Information Technology (OIIT);
  • Ryan Rud, The English High School; and
  • Jonathan Sproul, Monument High School.
The fellowship began in 1986, in celebration of Harvard University's 350th anniversary, and is named in honored of its former President. Every year, a select group of educators from the Boston and Cambridge Public Schools are awarded fellowships to earn full tuition scholarships during their one-year leave of absence from the district while pursuing advanced degrees.

Pictured here at the recent Conant Fellows reception (left to right): Edward Doherty, AFT Massachusetts; Mr. Rud; Ms. Bisiewicz; Mr. Sproul; and Superintendent Michael Contompasis.

The Class of 2007's best and brightest

The top graduates of each of Boston's 38 public high schools were honored last week at the 9th annual Valedictorians Luncheon at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Among the honorees, 18 valedictorians have been students in the Boston Public Schools since kindergarten. Bhraana Abraham of Dorchester, graduating at the top of her class at the Community Academy of Science and Health, spoke to the attendees about her experience as an immigrant from Haiti who arrived speaking no English, now at the top of her class and going on to the College of the Holy Cross next year. The valedictorians were also featured in a Boston Sunday Globe photo spread and in video clips on-line.

These students represent thousands of other members of the Class of 2007 who will don cap and gown this month to earn their high school diplomas. Many of their classmates have overcome great challenges to reach this milestone. The Boston Globe also published a feature article about the Class of 2007 at Boston International High School, many of whom were among the first to enter the school as freshmen when it opened four years ago.

Antionetta Kelly wins first Payzant Prize

Antionetta Kelly, a senior at Fenway High School, has won the inaugural Thomas W. Payzant Public Service in Education Prize, created in honor of the former BPS Superintendent. Antionetta, a resident of Roslindale, will receive a $2,000 scholarship toward her tuition at Smith College next year. The selection committee cited Antionetta's participation in her school's efforts two years ago to prevent the deportation of Obain Attouman, a teacher at Fenway High School. Antionetta and several classmates traveled to Washington, D.C., where they successfully lobbied on Capitol Hill to allow Mr. Attouman to remain in the United States. Picture here, Antionetta (center) receives the prize at the Valedictorians Luncheon from School Committee member Michele Brooks (left) and Dr. Payzant (right).