BPS launches ‘Grow with Boston’ to welcome new students by expanding K-8 options; invites public input
BOSTON -- Boston Public Schools (BPS) is seeking community input on its new long-term facilities plan, called Grow with Boston (click for more information or download the full plan here), which will allow the District to welcome higher enrollment while protecting arts and science classrooms and expanding inclusive and dual-language opportunities across the city.
“Grow with Boston is a framework that will allow us to dramatically expand the number of K-8 schools and K-8 pathway experiences for families,” said BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough. “We are proud to welcome more students each year into our classrooms. This plan lets us add K-8 schools and programs, which are popular with families, and asks the community to help us develop the right programs for each school in the months to come.”
Grow with Boston allows BPS middle schools to grow their grade spans to become either K-8 or 4-8 schools. At the same time, most elementary schools would shift from K-5 to K-8 or K-3 programs. Because most middle schools have extra capacity, these changes would allow BPS to welcome the influx of new students and even expand early education pre-kindergarten opportunities.
This solution allows BPS to expand enrollment while protecting arts, science and specialty classrooms, which are a core part of the academic mission in schools.
The plan also aligns with the new Home-Based School Choice model, which goes into effect for the 2014-2015 school year and helps children attend quality schools closer to home. Parents, teachers and the general public will now have the opportunity help shape the Grow with Boston proposal through school site council, school parent council and community meetings between now and the spring, when BPS will bring the long-term plan to the School Committee for a vote.
“We envision this proposal as a guideline that the community will help us fill in,” McDonough said. “Parents, teachers and school leaders know their schools the best and are in a great position to help us move forward together. This is a chance to lay the foundation for a long-term facilities plan that supports academic excellence in every school.”
Grow with Boston also includes some short-term proposals for the 2014-15 school year that will allow BPS to welcome additional students next fall. Among them:
- Opening the Fuller (28 Glen Rd., Jamaica Plain) and P.A. Shaw (429 Norfolk St., Dorchester) school buildings to accommodate early education students in the 2014-15 school year. These buildings were originally built as elementary schools. Community Academy and Boston Adult Technical Academy would move into different high school spaces next year
- Relocating Boston Green Academy to the Taft building in Allston/Brighton to accommodate its planned expansion to grades 6-12. Another Course to College, currently in the Taft building, would move to another location to be determined in partnership with the ACC community.
- Co-locate Henderson upper elementary grades and Harbor School grades 6-8 at the Wilson Building in Dorchester to allow creation of a full Henderson K-12 inclusive pathway, which is an Innovation School proposal now under consideration
- Relocate Dorchester Academy from the Wilson to the Cleveland building (where the Harbor School is currently located) and expand to grades 6-12, which is an Innovation School proposal under consideration
- Temporarily relocate Dearborn to the Burke High School top floor for two years while the Dearborn building is totally renovated into a 6-12 STEM program
- Reopen the Alighieri building as an early childhood Montessori program in East Boston.
BPS will request School Committee approval of these items on Nov. 20 for the 2014-15 school year, and return in the spring with further details on the remainder of the plan following the community engagement process.
The public is invited to view the full Grow with Boston proposal at www.bostonpublicschools.org/facilitiesplan.
Anyone can offer feedback by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.