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East Boston’s Curtis Guild Elementary School Receives Human Rights Campaign Award

Guild Photo

Today, the Curtis Guild Elementary School in East Boston was presented with the Seal of Excellence by the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Welcoming Schools program. The Guild is the third school in the district -- and only the sixteenth in the nation -- to earn the honor, which recognizes schools that demonstrate outstanding dedication to creating and sustaining welcoming and inclusive learning environments. The award was presented to Principal Karen McCarthy at a school ceremony with Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Interim Superintendent Laura Perille.

“I am proud of the Boston Public Schools’ nation-leading work on fostering diversity and inclusion in our schools, and I commend the Guild School for this outstanding accomplishment,” says Mayor Walsh. “Cultivating a school culture where every student, family and staff member is valued and respected results in better learning and stronger communities.”

The HRC’s Welcoming Schools program is a national professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students. The Seal of Excellence recognizes the Guild’s broad efforts, including training for staff, changes in daily instructional and family engagement practices, and the addition of inclusive texts to the school library and classroom shelves.

“I am thrilled that three Boston public schools have now earned this incredible honor from the Human Rights Campaign,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “This is a testament to the willingness of our school communities to embrace and sustain culturally affirming school climates that support student achievement."

“This national award showcases the tremendous effort and dedication by school staff to provide students with a safe and inclusive learning environment,” said Interim Superintendent Perille. “I am so grateful to the Human Rights Campaign and the Boston Public Schools Office of Equity for partnering to provide Guild staff with professional development and educational resources to fully welcome, celebrate, and affirm the diversity of our students and their families. Most of all, I salute the school staff who championed this work, and the students and families who embraced the vision of becoming a truly welcoming school for all.”

The Guild started this work under the leadership of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Office of Equity in 2016, instituting a comprehensive approach to creating an affirming school climate. Over the past three years, all staff, administrators, and students have deeply engaged in activities that foster inclusion, celebrate family diversity, and help end bias-based bullying.

“Every member of our school community has been positively impacted by this project,” Karen McCarthy, principal of the Curtis Guild Elementary School says. “Receiving the Seal of Excellence is an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our students, families, and staff to actively welcome and support every individual.”

The Seal of Excellence was previously awarded to the John F. Kennedy School in Jamaica Plain and the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston.