Other Updates Announced in BuildBPS Facilities Planning Process
BOSTON— After months of community conversations with parents, teachers, community leaders and school staff, Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius today announced six additional schools will expand from serving grades Kindergarten through 5 to Kindergarten through 6 in September 2020 — one year earlier than previously scheduled — as part of an update to the BuildBPS educational and facilities master plan for the district.
The six elementary schools are all located in East Boston. This grade expansion will help alleviate the number of middle school-age students who are currently attending school outside of East Boston due to a limited number of grade 6 classroom seats in this area of the city. Twelve other BPS schools in various parts of the city are also scheduled to expand from K-5 to K-6 beginning in September 2020 as previously planned.
“Expanding the number of sixth-grade seats at schools across the City is a step in the right direction for how we can better serve our students,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “These important updates to BuildBPS demonstrate how Superintendent Cassellius and her team are truly listening to the community and taking their feedback into account.”
One of the major goals of BuildBPS is to minimize the number of times students have to transition to different schools. BPS is adopting a preferred grade configuration model of K-6 and 7-12 in many district schools. The district previously announced it is phasing out the six remaining middle schools that serve only grades 6-8 amid declining enrollment, academic performance, and program sustainability.
“Every decision we make must be rooted in community partnership and equity,” said Dr. Cassellius. “These decisions reflect the many conversations I’ve had over the last six months with families, school staff and community members. These changes will provide families with more predictability from Kindergarten to high school graduation and better position our schools to serve our students.”
The East Boston schools expanding from K-5 to K-6 in September 2020 are:
Samuel Adams Elementary
Manassah E. Bradley Elementary
Curtis Guild Elementary
Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary
Hugh R. O’Donnell Elementary
James Otis Elementary
Dr. Cassellius will discuss the East Boston grade expansions with the Boston School Committee at an upcoming meeting. Last spring, the School Committee approved the expansion of K-5 to K-6 at the following schools to take effect in September 2020:
William E. Channing Elementary in Hyde Park
Roger Clap Innovation School in Dorchester
George H. Conley Elementary in Roslindale
Paul A. Dever Elementary in Dorchester
Edward Everett Elementary in Dorchester
Nathan Hale Elementary in Roxbury
Harvard/Kent Elementary in Charlestown
Thomas J. Kenny Elementary in Dorchester
Joseph P. Manning Elementary in Jamaica Plain
Michael J. Perkins Elementary in South Boston
Joseph P. Tynan Elementary in South Boston
Two other schools, already approved for grade configuration changes for September 2020, but with unique circumstances, include:
Mattahunt Elementary in Mattapan, which next year will expand to serve students in grade 4. A fifth and sixth grade will be added, respectively, over the following two school years.
Oliver H. Perry K-8 School in South Boston, which next year will begin to convert from K-8 to K-6. In September 2020, the Perry will phase out its seventh-grade strand and, the following September, its eighth-grade strand.
“The Boston School Committee appreciates the continued efforts of BPS to solicit community feedback for the BuildBPS plan to ensure all voices have an opportunity to be heard,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “We all want to make decisions that are in the best long-term interests of our students and families. The Committee looks forward to reviewing these BuildBPS updates, and to engage in further public discussion on this important initiative.”
In addition to the announcements mentioned, BPS is continuing to move forward with the previous decision to address facilities needs at the Jackson/Mann Complex in Allston. Superintendent Cassellius announced BPS will begin holding staff and community meetings in January to begin the design process and to discuss temporary locations for the Jackson/Mann School and the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing after the 2020-2021 school year.
Superintendent Cassellius also is recommending providing one more year at the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester to allow additional time to design and review its plan to merge with Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) to form a grade 7-12 school at the McCormack site. This recommendation comes after speaking with teachers, staff, and stakeholders of the two schools, and will provide additional time to align a future school with the overall district-wide redesign of secondary schools. It will also help with planning for the facilities needs of the neighboring Dever Elementary School, which is part of the McCormack complex and expanding from K-5 to K-6.
Finally, the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown and the McCormack Middle in Dorchester will not enroll sixth-grade students next school year as the schools prepare for reconfigurations after the 2020-2021 school year. Because many students attending the Edwards Middle School reside in East Boston, the addition of sixth grade classrooms in East Boston will allow for those students to stay in their current schools.
Plans for additional schools to move to K-6 will be developed in partnership with the community.