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Interim Superintendent Perille Shares Letter with Families, Staff on BuildBPS Facilities and Educational Proposals
On October 19, 2018, Boston Public Schools (BPS) Interim Superintendent Laura Perille shared a letter with students, families, teachers, and staff about the most recent proposal in BuildBPS, the 10-year educational and facilities master plan for the district.
This letter is translated into multiple languages. (Links above.)
Here is the letter:
Dear Boston Public Schools Community:
When I was named Interim Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, I was honored to take on the work of the BuildBPS initiative, a program that aims to create the learning environments our students need and deserve. With two-thirds of our school buildings having been constructed before World War II, this long-term investment program, which was initiated in 2015 by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, will renovate, rebuild, and reconfigure our district’s infrastructure to eliminate barriers to student success.
As a former BPS parent, I know the strength of our school system is derived from each of our individual school communities, which are composed of staff members and families devoted to the well-being of each and every student. It is because of that devotion that challenges will be overcome and the vision of educating students in 21st century learning environments will be realized.
This week I presented publicly specific BuildBPS proposals, which include new construction, major renovations and transformations of schools citywide. The proposals also call for critical facilities repairs and a plan for fewer school transitions for students. Our goal is to provide more equitable opportunities for BPS students to attend high-performing schools that best serve the needs of today’s learning environment.
Inevitably, there will be some difficult choices along the way, including my recommendation to close West Roxbury Academy (WRA) and Urban Science Academy (USA) at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, and the closure of McCormack Middle School at the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year. Students and families of these schools were informed of this recommendation earlier this week, along with an action plan of support. These decisions do not reflect the dedication to students exhibited by the educators and families of those buildings, but they are necessary to best position the district to serve the interests of all students, including the students in these three schools.
By making difficult decisions now, we will position the district to build or extensively renovate as many as 12 schools, with additional improvements in many others. We will significantly reduce the number of times students will need to change schools, establishing clearer pathways toward graduation, which we know is a primary indicator of student achievement and post-graduation success. We will create more equitable program placement and learning opportunities for our most vulnerable students, including students with disabilities and English learners. We will also expand pre-K classroom seats in neighborhoods in which improved access is necessary to create a more equitable district.
As we continue propose projects connected to BuildBPS, we will initiate an extensive community engagement process to ensure that our decision-making is thoughtful and inclusive of community voices. I welcome you to attend one of approximately 20 community meetings being held across the city now through December. You can view a list of the community meetings dates, times and locations on the BPS website. We anticipate additional community engagement opportunities in the months and years ahead.
Assuring equitable access to a high-quality education is a fundamental principle of the Boston Public Schools. We owe this to each and every family who entrusts us with their student’s education, and BuildBPS helps us fulfill this obligation. We thank you for your continuous support and welcome your feedback as we lead these conversations to move our school system forward to benefit all students in our district.
Interim Superintendent, Boston Public Schools