Monday, March 29, 2010

Families: Register online for Parent University and check out Summer Stuff

Registration for the May 1 session of the popular Parent University is now open. Parent University is a learning experience specifically designed to help Boston Public Schools parents increase their understanding of how children learn and develop; what their children should be learning; how to help their children get what they need to succeed; and how to bring other parents together to work for school improvement. Most importantly Parent University provides opportunities for parents to build their own skills and enjoy learning new things. Learn more and register online at

Additionally, BPS this week released the 2010 edition of Summer Stuff and Summer Stuff, Jr., listing hundreds of summer camps, classes, activities, internships and job opportunities for the coming summer. Summer Stuff 2010 for Grades 6 – 12 and Summer Stuff Jr. 2010 for Kindergarten – Grade 5 will be available in all Boston Public Schools and Family Resource Centers, as well as City Hall, public libraries, YMCA branches, ABCD Head Start Programs, and Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) community centers starting the week of March 29 – April 1. Additional free copies will be available at the BPS central office, 26 Court Street, Boston. Both editions can also be found online at

Friday, March 26, 2010

Excel High School delegates recognized at Model UN

Excel High School delegates won three of the four available awards for best position paper at the recent 2010 Boston Invitational Model UN Conference:
  • Etshiewot Mebratu and Khairi Marsh - Prisoner Treatment in the Human Rights Council;
  • Yunqi Lin and Kristen Keough - Gender Equality in the Social/Cultral Committee; and
  • Matt Doan - Conflict Diamonds in the Disarmament and International Security Committee.
Two Excel delegates also earned honorable mentions in public speaking and negotiation:
  • Frances Quinn and Jeffrey Senatus - Conflict Diamonds in the Disarmament and International Security Committee.
The event, organized by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) was held recently at Northeastern University.

Photo: (L to R) Excel High School students Etshiewot Mebratu, Jeffrey Senatus, Matthew Doan, Yunqi Lin, Khairi Marsh, Kristen Keough, and Frances Quinn (center).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Murphy students travel to "Destination ImagiNation"

The Murphy K-8 School sent three teams to the Destination ImagiNation (DI) competition in Beverly, MA last weekend, and one of the teams -- "Do or DI Improv" -- won first place in its elementary category and will advance to the state championships in Worcester on April 3. Destination ImagiNation is an exhilarating after-school activity in which students work in teams to solve mind-bending Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together, and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Students at the Murphy participate in DI through the school's "Prime Time Afterschool Program."

Photo: Miren Parkinson and Max Snyder display their team's banner. Fifty teams from 12 communities participated in last weekend's tournament.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BPS in the News: English High School mural story on WBUR radio

WBUR's David Boeri recently did a story on a special work of art in progress at The English High School. Heidi Schork, the leader of the mural crew for the City of Boston, is working with students to create a mural inside the school that represents the diversity of English's student body. Listen to the story and view the slide show on the WBUR website.

Photo: Woody Italien, from Haiti, is one of the students who became a painter. (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

Friday, March 12, 2010

BPS teacher takes a year to travel the world

Teacher Lillian Marshall taught at Charlestown High School for five years before taking a leave of absence this school year to travel around the world to volunteer, teach and write. After some time in Asia and Europe, for the past two months she has been in Ghana, West Africa, running a student writing project and international penpal exchange. Follow Ms. Marshall's adventures on her daily travel blog, "Around the World L", and make sure to check out the Student Life Stories Project, which contains nearly two dozen stories written by Ghanaian students about an important or influential event in their life, allowing readers around the world a sneak peek into the individual students' life experiences.

Photo: Ghanaian students view their published works online for the first time (courtesy of Lillian Marshall).

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Two BPS basketball teams advance to State Semi-Finals

Two Boston Public Schools boys basketball teams will compete in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Sate Semi-Finals today at the TD Garden. The New Mission Titans will play Cathedral High School at 2:45 p.m., and the Madison Park Cardinals will play Central Catholic at 7:45 p.m. Read more coverage about the tournament at Justin Rice's BPS Sports Blog.

Photo: On Friday night the Madison Park Technical-Vocational High School boys basketball team defeated Mansfield in the MIAA Division 1 Sectional Finals at the TD Garden with a final score of 72 to 60.

Higginson-Lewis welcomes "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author and stars

Students at the Higginson-Lewis K-8 School in Roxbury welcomed some very special guests on Friday. Jeff Kinney, author of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and actors Robert Capron and Zachary Gordon, stars of the upcoming Diary of a Wimpy Kid film, stopped by the school to celebrate literacy with an assembly and book signing. Also in attendance was Boston's first lady, Angela Menino. Mr. Kinney presented Mrs. Menino with a check for $1,000 to support the WriteBoston program, and Mrs. Menino, on behalf of the Mayor, declared Friday, March 5 to be "Wimpy Kid Day" in Boston.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BPS drop out rate lowest in two decades

Dropout data released today shows the Boston Public Schools currently has its lowest high school dropout rate since 1982. The data, released simultaneously with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education state-wide data, also shows for a third consecutive year, a continued downward trend in the BPS dropout rate. For the 2008/2009 school year the BPS dropout rate dropped to 6.4%, down from 7.2% in 2008. Read the press release for more information on what the district is doing to reduce the drop out rate and ensure that all students graduate from high school.

Students spend school vacation in Ghana

Eight Boston students spent February vacation in Ghana as part of the Another Course to College / Achimota School Exchange program. The Boston students spent the week learning about the culture, history, people and geography of Ghana, including touring World Heritage sites, participating in workshops on batik cloth, tie dye and kente weaving, exploring rain forests, staying with host families, and attending school with Ghanaian students. A group of students from Ghana will travel to Boston in late May as the second part of the exchange.