Thursday, April 26, 2012


Angela Gentile has been teaching at Boston Latin Academy for five years. She is currently teaching 9th grade college English and also coaching JV girls’ basketball and has been for the past four seasons. Recently, Ms. Gentile ran the Boston Marathon because she wanted to build community and school spirit at BLA. She also ran to raise money for the school. She partnered with Boston Rising, which is an antipoverty fund that partners with others, including educators, to reduce poverty in Grove Hall. Boston Rising matched the first $5,000 Ms. Gentile raised with another $5,000 for the school.

This is not her first marathon-she ran in 2006 in Vermont. “But running in Boston is something to aspire to!” says Ms. Gentile.

During a phone interview with Ms. Gentile, I asked her how she felt when she crossed the finish line. She said, ”At first I just wanted to reach Kenmore, but when I saw the students cheering for me, it motivated me to push harder and finish.” This was an incredible experience for her she felt a great sense of accomplishment.  I asked her if she felt she had built school spirit and community. “Definitely!” she said. “The students understand that they are part of a community and learned that a small step goes a long way. Just by the students being there and supporting me shows how one can contribute in a big way.”

Anders Kirleis, a freshman at BLA and a student of Ms. Gentile said that Ms. Gentile’s story has inspired her. “She trained hard to run this race,” said Anders. Ms.Gentile kept a chart in class that showed how many miles she ran a day.  “She has shown us how schools can partner with the local community and help make a change.” 

I asked if she would run the marathon again. “Maybe,” she said. ”It involves a lot of training, but then again, who knows, ask me in January.”

Congratulations to Ms Gentile on her run and her great accomplishment!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Earth Month

April is Earth Month and below are three "green" tips that help
create a more healthier and sustainable planet.

Quick Tip 1: Bike to Work

More than 31% of CO2 emissions in the US come from transportation. Consider commuting to school or work by bike or train one Friday a month as part of Boston’s Bike Friday ( program. The next one is May 18th!

Quick Tip 2: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

If just 2% of individuals used reusable mugs, we could save 2 billion trees (enough to cover half of Massachusetts) and save 1.5 million gallons of oil (enough to power 65,000 homes for a year).

Quick Tip 3: Paper or Plastic? Neither, please.

3 million gallons of oil is used EVERY DAY to produce plastic bags! And every year, more than 500 billion of them are discarded either in landfills or into our environment. Bring a reusable bag with you and help protect our wildlife and reduce our dependence on oil.

Don't forget to celebrate Earth day on April 22, 2012.
To learn more: EARTH DAY

* Tips provided by Phoebe Beierle

Monday, April 02, 2012

Celebrating programs for autistic students

In honor of Autism Day, April 2, 2012, I would like to take the time to let you know about a few programs that are in place to help autistic students at BPS.

The STRIVE program (Supported Training to Reach Independence through Vocational Experiences) provides vocational and transitional services to students with disabilities. There has been great success with this program. At the Jim Roche Community Skating Rink in West Roxbury, autistic students who are part of the STRIVE program intern early in the morning and help staff clean and set up the rink.

Gregg Burgess, a staff member of the Roche Rink says, “All the students come in with a different level of skill set, and it's great to see how versatile and independent they become over time.”

The manager of the Roche Rink, Dennis Caulfield, says that he is grateful for the program because not only is it valuable to the student, but to the rink. The kids have helped to lift the spirits of the staff, and they have become somewhat of a small family.

Benjamin McDonald, one of student interns says with a smile, ”I like it here.”

Another valuable program for autistic students is the iPad project. The Office of Instructional and Information Technology partnered with the Office of Special Education and Student Services on an iPad initiative for special education teachers and students with autism.

Andrew Bott, principal of Orchard Gardens K-8 school, says the program has been very beneficial. He talks about a student named Xavier who had some challenges prior to the iPad program. “It was very difficult to get him to sit at the table and attend to a tabletop task without physically keeping him in the chair. It is also sometimes a challenge to get him to attend to materials.” After the iPad/iTouch program, Xavier can now navigate through most applications with ease. “ Xavier will now sit and attend to the iPad/iTouch app independently for up to 10 minutes!” says Bott. Xavier has also learned a lot of languages from this type of technology - alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, object identification. This program has highly motivated students to learn and Andrew Bott is so happy for that.

To learn more about the above programs, contact the Communications Department: