Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Superintendent announces her academic agenda

At tonight's Boston School Committee meeting, Dr. Carol Johnson presented the beginning of her plan to reorganize and strengthen the district to ensure all students achieve at high levels. She outlined priorities for the first of two phases in "Proficiency, Opportunity and Efficiency: the Superintendent's Acceleration Agenda for the Boston Public Schools," with a focus on the academic agenda and restructuring of central offices to support schools. Phase II, scheduled to be presented in April, will focus on operations, family/community partnerships, and long-term fiscal and facilities challenges.

Friday, January 25, 2008

31 BPS students earn Posse Scholarships

Thirty-one students from 13 Boston public high schools have earned a full tuition scholarship from the Posse Foundation. Posse Scholars also receive pre-college preparation and support during their college careers at six top-ranked liberal arts colleges across the country: Bryn Mawr College (Pennsylvania), Bucknell University (Pennsylvania), Centre College (Kentucky), Denison University (Ohio), Hamilton College (New York) and Union College (New York). They will join diverse teams of graduates from five other major U.S. cities at these colleges to help promote academic excellence and cross-cultural communication on campus. Since 2000, 147 Boston Public Schools students have become Posse Scholars.

Boston named one of the "100 Best Communities for Young People"

The America's Promise Alliance has named Boston one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The annual competition highlights cities and towns nationwide that have made the well-being of children and youth a top priority -- including ensuring that young people receive the resources necessary to stay in school and succeed. The City of Boston was recognized for innovative projects to keep children motivated and in positive environments such as Camp Harbor View, which provides four weeks of transportation, meals and programming to 600 campers during the summer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Boston explores wind turbines on school grounds

Mayor Thomas M. Menino recently announced plans to advance wind power development in the City of Boston, including installation of wind turbines at Boston Public Schools sites and a small-scale wind turbine on the roof of Boston City Hall (artist's rendering shown here). The City and school district will embark on an extensive community process to select the best sites to advance these wind power projects, beginning with a preliminary list of six schools well situated for wind power generation. Officials hope the turbines also will serve as valuable learning tools, with teachers able to incorporate them into the curriculum to bring science lessons about energy and the environment to life.

Senator Kennedy visits the Edwards to highlight ELT success

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other officials recently visited the Clarence R. Edwards Middle School in Charlestown to celebrate the success of the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative, the first-in-the-nation state initiative to redesign schools with substantially more time for learning. Senator Kennedy called for a national expansion of the initiative through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.

The Edwards, one of four Boston schools participating in the program (along with the Timilty Middle School, Umana Middle School Academy and Boston Arts Academy), began implementation in September 2006. The redesigned school day allows more time for innovative academics and includes a wide range of enrichment activities. In addition to regular math classes, students at the Edwards now participate in Math Leagues, a competitive and socially engaging way to learn and practice math. As a result, math scores rose across all grades. The Edwards School increased the percentage of students scoring proficient on the math MCAS at more than twice the rate of the district and also of the state. The school also was highlighted in a recent Education Week story about the initiative.

Madison Park raises $2,800 for fire victims

When students and staff at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury learned about the late December fire in Dorchester that took the lives of two young members of the Zizi family and left the family homeless, they decided they had to do something to help. Two surviving members of the Zizi family attend Madison Park, and their fellow students and staff wanted to support the family in their time of need. Students organized a fundraiser and collected $2,800 in just one week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Remembering Dr. King

Students from fourteen Boston Public Schools paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. last week at the district's annual MLK celebration at John Hancock Hall. The theme of this year's celebration was One Voice: Igniting Change, Transforming Humanity, with students from kindergarten through high school displaying their talents in poetry, singing, instrumental music, dance and other performing arts to commemorate Dr. King's legacy. Pictured here are students from the Marshall Elementary School in Dorchester. See coverage on Fox-25 Boston.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

NY Times highlights Boston's college access work

Today's New York Times features a front-page story about making college a priority for urban high school students and highlights efforts in the Boston Public Schools. The reporter cites Excel High School in South Boston and Brighton High School as models for encouraging and supporting students in the college application process. Pictured here is John Travers, head of counseling at Brighton High, with students. The article also commends Boston's annual College Month activities.

Registration underway for 2008-09 school year

The school registration process for next year has begun, with families of students entering kindergarten and grades 6 and 9 in September encouraged to register before February 1. The registration period for all other students takes place from February 6 - March 14. Families may register at any of six registration sites, including special hours at City Hall this week. Be sure to visit the BPS website for important information about what documentation to bring, and save time by completing pre-registration online. Questions? Call the family hotline at 617-635-9046.

School Committee elects officers, sets meeting schedule

At its annual organizational meeting, the Boston School Committee re-elected Dr. Elizabeth Reilinger to her eleventh term as Chairperson and elected Rev. Dr. Gregory G. Groover, Sr. to his first term as Vice-Chairperson. The Committee also approved a calendar of 2008 public meetings, including a series of community hearings about the development of the district's budget for the 2008-2009 school year.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snowden students advise Governor on youth issues

Several students from the Snowden International School at Copley have been helping to plan community forums throughout the Commonwealth about youth issues, sponsored by Governor Deval Patrick's Office of Civic Engagement. Pictured here, left to right, are Snowden U. S. History Instructor/Advisor John Garner, students Flavio Marchan, Katherine De La Cruz, and Emmanuel Jiminian, and Ron Bell, Director of the Governor's Office of Civic Engagement.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mayor Menino appoints two School Committee members

Mayor Thomas M. Menino began the new year with the important task of appointing members to the Boston School Committee. On Monday, the Mayor will swear in new member Claudio Martinez (pictured here) and reappoint Marchelle Raynor to her third term. Mr. Martinez is Executive Director of the Hyde Square Task Force, and Ms. Raynor is Program Director for the Gertrude E. Townsend Head Start Learning Center. The Mayor selects School Committee members from candidates recommended by a 13-member Citizens Nominating Panel.

Boston schools raise more than $18,000 for Globe Santa

Students, staff and families in the Boston Public Schools helped bring holiday cheer to needy families this year by raising $18,042 for Globe Santa. The Boston Globe commended BPS children and adults for their annual support of the charity fund-raising drive: "The students, faculty, and staff of the Boston public schools have been one of Globe Santa's most dependable donors and have contributed the single largest gift in a season more than once in his 51-year history." Pictured here, Santa Claus accepts a check from BPS Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. Click on "comments" below to tell us how your school raised money to support families in need this holiday season.