Thursday, September 27, 2007

Superintendent maps out her first 100 days

Superintendent Carol Johnson presented the Boston School Committee with a preliminary entry plan for her first 100 days in office, spanning the end of August through the middle of January. The plan outlines her action steps for learning more about the district and prioritizing the work ahead, including plans to engage families and the community. In her first month on the job, Dr. Johnson already has visited 34 schools (almost one-quarter of the district's 144), and she emphasized the importance of school visits as part of her "listening and learning" tour. Pictured here, Dr. Johnson visits the Haynes Early Education Center to participate in JumpStart's "Read for the Record" campaign.

South Boston Class of '52 returns to high school

Members of the Class of 1952 from South Boston High School recently returned to the neighborhood for a nostalgic 55th reunion, featuring a guided tour of their alma mater. The alumni were welcomed back to the building by students and staff from Excel High School, one of three small high schools that now make up the South Boston Education Complex. Students, including members of the school's ROTC program, escorted the visitors through classrooms, the gymnasium, and the newly dedicated "Doc" Reid Library.

School Committee, Superintendent examine new dropout data

Superintendent Carol Johnson and former Superintendent Michael Contompasis presented a "Graduation for All" update to the School Committee last night, highlighting efforts to reduce the dropout rate and ensure that all BPS students earn a high school diploma. The report provided preliminary findings from an extensive study commissioned by the district in partnership with The Parthenon Group, the Gates Foundation and Jobs for the Future, about students who have dropped out, as well as risk factors to help predict and prevent other dropouts. Dr. Johnson and the School Committee announced that the district will conduct a community engagement campaign over the next several months to present the data to the community and host conversations about strategies to address this citywide challenge.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nine BPS principals named Schott Fellows

Nine Boston Public Schools principals have been selected as Principal Fellows by the Schott Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes and supports principals as they strengthen early care and education for children in Boston. All nine lead schools that are expanding early childhood education offerings, and they will share their successes and learn from one another through the fellowship. The fellows began meeting this summer with a professional development institute coordinated by the National Association for Elementary School Principals and will continue to meet throughout the year.

Pictured here (click to enlarge), front row, left to right, Patricia Butler (BPS Dept. of Early Childhood), Vera Johnson (Mendell ES), Alenor Abdal-Kallaq (Mather ES), Nora Toney (Ellison Parks EES), Ben Russell (East Zone ELC); second row, Valerie Gumes (Haynes EEC), Sherry Brooks-Roberts (Lyndon K-8), Suzanne Federspiel (Kenny ES), Catherine Constant (Holmes ES); back row, Dr. Valora Washington (Executive Director, Schott Fellowship), Marice Diakite (P.J. Kennedy ES).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Timilty teacher appointed to national Advisory Council

Darren Wells, a Science teacher at the Timilty Middle School, has been appointed to the National Academies' Teacher Advisory Council, comprised of 12-15 elementary, middle and high school teachers from around the country. The academies serve as advisors to the National Research Council on science, engineering and medicine. In 2005, Mr. Wells won the Ambassadors in Education Award from the MetLife Foundation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chef raises the bar for BPS school lunches

Boston recently unveiled an ambitious new Healthy Meals Initiative to make school lunch more nutritious and delicious, with help from a professional chef. Kirk Conrad left a distinguished career in the private sector to cook full-time in the Umana and Frederick middle schools cafeterias. Mr. Conrad is also working closely with Food & Nutrition Services staff and cafeteria managers throughout the district to develop creative and healthy ways to prepare and present meals. Mayor Menino recently joined officials from BPS and the Boston Public Health Commission to announce the initiative at the Umana Middle School Academy. (Photo credit: Patricia McDonnell, Boston Globe)

Massachusetts receives major grant to expand AP offerings

Governor Deval Patrick recently joined other State and City officials to announce a $13.2 million grant to the Commonwealth over the next six years to provide more Massachusetts public school students with access to rigorous, college-preparatory coursework. Following a highly competitive application process, the Commonwealth and Boston non-profit Mass Insight Education and Research Institute secured one of the first-ever grants from the National Math and Science Initiative's (NMSI) Advanced Placement® training and incentive program.

In brief...

* Two BPS school leaders have been named recipients of the 2007 Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Awards from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. Congratulations to Domenic Amara, principal of the Warren Prescott K-8 School, and Gerald Howland, former headmaster of Another Course to College. They will be honored along with six other City of Boston employees in a ceremony next month.

* With a grant from Very Special Arts (VSA) Massachusetts, third grade students at the Trotter Elementary School have created "sound poems." The children wrote poems in their Readers & Writers Workshops and then worked with VSA jazz musician Tony DuBlois, who is blind and autistic, to record the poems in their own voice. The poems will soon be on display at City Hall and are now posted on the web.

* Kim Rice, CIO of the Boston Public Schools, is interviewed in a special edition of Digital Directions, published by Education Week, about Boston's work in instructional technology.

* Bill Horwath, Staffing Director for the BPS Office of Human Resources, has been accepted into the Broad Residency for Urban Education. Bill joins seven other Broad Residents currently working in BPS. The program places talented early career executives from the private or civic sectors into two-year, full-time, paid positions at the top levels of urban school systems across the country.

Globe columnists highlights Boston school gems

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham recently wrote about the "surprising and too-well-kept secret that a growing number of the city's schools are inspiring cultish devotion among parents who just a few years ago might have shunned them." The column quotes parents who have chosen lesser-known Boston Public Schools over private and parochial schools for their strong academic and extra-curricular programs. It also hihglights Y/BPS, an innovative partnership among the Mayor's Office, school district, and Greater Boston YMCA, to encourage more families to consider BPS for their children's education.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First day of school in Boston

Today is the first day of the 2007-2008 school year in the Boston Public Schools. Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Superintendent Carol R. Johnson, School Committee Chair Elizabeth Reilinger, and former Superintendent Michael Contompasis visited three schools this morning to present students with new pencils and to greet families and staff. The slide show above features photos from the English High School in Jamaica Plain, Hernandez K-8 School in Roxbury, and the Eliot K-8 School in the North End.