Over the weekend, Tobin K-8 principal Cheryl Watson-Harris was a guest on WCVB-TV's "CityLine" program. Host Karen-Holmes Ward invited her to participate in a discussion about the importance of community partnerships in a child's education.
Watson-Harris is a great example of a school leader who has brought non-profits, community groups and individuals into her school to help all students succeed. For years, she has spread the message that children from low-income families tend to lose an average of three months' literacy and two months' math skills during summer break. Put another way, it takes some children three months or more of schoolwork in the fall just to get back to where they were when they left their classrooms in June. Like many of our school leaders and teachers, Watson-Harris has worked tirelessly to help students enroll in productive summer programs.
The topic of the CityLine program was the "Opportunity Agenda," a groundbreaking partnership between some of Boston's leading philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Together, these partners have pledged more than $27 million to help Boston's children succeed. The donations will be used to help nonprofits expand and coordinate their work inside and outside our classrooms -- to make sure that all of our students have the support they need to excel. The Opportunity Agenda has aligned many of its goals with the BPS Acceleration Agenda, which calls for increasing student standards and performance across all levels within the next four years.