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Superintendent Cassellius Announces Robust Community Engagement Tour

On Wednesday, August 28, Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius presented to the Boston School Committee details of a four-month community engagement tour, which involves public discussions in neighborhoods and parent groups across the city — along with visits to all 125 schools in BPS — to help update the district’s student-focused priorities.

"Superintendent Cassellius is doing a tremendous job ensuring all voices across the city are heard and taken into action," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I encourage residents across Boston to come to a meeting with Dr. Casselius to share thoughts and ideas of how we can make the Boston Public Schools even stronger for our students."

A schedule of Superintendent Cassellius’s public visits is available at bostonpublicschools.org/engagementtour.

“A great education for every child is the goal shared by every Bostonian I’ve met since May,” said Cassellius. “Accomplishing that means we need to understand clearly what a great education means to everyone in every neighborhood of the city. These community meetings are a chance for everyone, starting with our students and including parents, teachers, faith leaders, community partners, and others, to help shape the direction we take on behalf of our students, families, and schools.”

Cassellius began her community engagement tour August 1, and by early December will have visited all 125 schools, held seven neighborhood-specific town hall style community meetings, convened six school-parent council meetings representing several groups of schools, participated in 26 community sessions — 70% of which will be hosted by community organizations serving historically marginalized populations — along with numerous meet-and-greet events and more than 40 meetings with advocacy, philanthropic, corporate, faith-based, and nonprofit partners. Since being selected superintendent last April, Cassellius has held meetings with more than 65 community partners.

One of the goals of the community engagement tour is to inform an updated five-year strategic plan and the beginning of the fiscal year 2021 budgeting process, which is scheduled for December.

“We’re fortunate to live in a city that cares so deeply about public education,” Cassellius said. “I want to maximize and leverage our collective efforts and best thinking to align our budget, our actions and our decisions to the needs of all of our students and families.”

During the community conversation sessions, which includes internal and external district stakeholders, Cassellius and members of her executive team will use a set of guiding questions, including ones asking what one’s vision of a high-quality school should look like, what would it take to make BPS a parent’s first choice when selecting a school for their child, and what is the best way to foster and secure the trust of parents.

BPS also plans to ask School Committee members if new priorities should be reflected in the district’s strategic plan, and how BPS should best assess its progress with the Committee.