Tuesday, June 22, 2010

West Zone focus group this Saturday. RSVP requested.

BPS is holding a focus group for West Zone parents this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummings Hwy. These focus groups -- other zones will have meetings later this summer -- will allow parents to have a say in BPS's potential reorganization of assignment zones and school closures and consolidations.

Parents interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to Mary Ann Crayton from the Office of Family and Student Engagement at mcrayton@boston.k12.ma.us.

Unfortunately, I'll be on a plane during this meeting, but I'd welcome any guest bloggers posting their notes and thoughts from the meeting here. (If you're interested, just leave your email in the comments and I'll email you to coordinate.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Longer school days approved for turnaround schools

Students and teachers in the 12 turnaround schools will have their school day extended by an hour due to a recent decision by a joint resolution committee.

Half of that extra time will be devoted to classroom instruction. The other half hour will be for teacher development, prep time, and tutoring.

The West Zone turnaround schools include the Agassiz, Trotter, and John F. Kennedy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arts grants announced

Boston Public Schools are getting $800,000 in grants for arts programs for the next school year through the Arts Expansion Initiative, the Boston Globe reports.

The non-profit EdVestors coordinates the initiative's funds. Here is a full list of the grants. Among the West Zone schools to benefit:
  • The Hyde Square Task Force will teach Afro-Latin and contemporary dance in the Kennedy and Agassiz elementaries;
  • Those two schools will also get a program from Visual Understanding in Education;
  • The Community Music Center of Boston will offer choral, instrumental, and theater instruction in several schools, including the Hale elementary;
  • Irving middle school will get a visual arts program through the Eliot School of Fine Arts.

Friday, June 4, 2010

No money budgeted for Agassiz repairs; School closures & assignment process to be evaluated this summer

The Jamaica Plain Gazette recently reported that BPS does not have money budgeted for repairs to the Agassiz elementary school in the 2011-2016 capital plan. The gym leaks when it rains, among other concerns.

Meanwhile, BPS will begin to look at which schools to close this summer, with closures perhaps occurring in 2011. BPS officials say it's likely that six schools will close. The lack of funds allocated for repairs raises the question of whether Agassiz will be among the shuttered schools. BPS spokesman Matt Wilder told the Gazette that BPS will look at the following criteria for school closures: geographic location; use for outside programming; academic performance; enrollment; the building's age and health and additional services offered.

In addition to a school closure plan, BPS will be asking for community input this summer for redrawing assignment zones.