Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Massachusetts ranks high in state-by-state educational report card

Leaders and Laggards, a new State-by-State Report Card on educational effectiveness issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ranks Massachusetts among the top states for K-12 educational performance in nearly every category examined. The Commonwealth earned an "A" in seven of the nine areas rated, including academic achievement and rigor of standards. According to the report, "Massachusetts students are among the highest achievers in the country."

City, School officials reach tentative agreement with Boston Teachers Union

On the eve of a scheduled strike vote, officials from the City of Boston and the Boston Public Schools announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) on a new contract through August 2010. The proposal is slated to be presented to BTU members at a meeting tonight, with a possible ratification date of March 14.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Student business ventures celebrated during "Entrepreneurship Week USA"

Next week, February 24 - March 3, marks the first Entrepreneurship Week USA, a great opportunity to highlight programs throughout the Boston Public Schools that bring commerce learning to the classroom. Students from all educational programs and grade levels are finding innovative ways to learn business, marketing, and sales skills, while earning money to support activities and charities in their schools.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tell us about Boston's "Absolutely Incredible Kids"

The BPS Communications Office has launched a special contest to uncover the stories about "Absolutely Incredible Kids" in the Boston Public Schools. Teachers, principals, parents, neighbors and other members of the community are invited to nominate one BPS student for this special distinction to coincide with the 11th annual national Absolutely Incredible Kid Day sponsored by Camp Fire USA. Just fill out a short application form and statement (400 words or less) about what makes this student stand out from the crowd, and return it by March 7. The winning student and his/her nominator will each win a $200 gift certificate to Target. For details, visit the contest web page or call 617-635-9265.

George Washington visits the Perkins

Students at the Michael J. Perkins Elementary School in South Boston recently were among the first in the country to view the new gold one-dollar coin and receive a history lesson on the life of George Washington – from the first President himself. The Perkins was included on a national tour organized by the U.S. Mint to debut its new one-dollar gold coin featuring George Washington, the first in a series as part of the Presidential $1 Coin program. Pictured here, President George Washington, portrayed by interpreter Dean Malissa, gives fourth and fifth grade students at the Perkins a sneak preview of the new coin.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Holmes Elementary students celebrating science

Students at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester are placing special emphasis on science education this week, with five days of programming and activities designed to inform and excite students about the wonders of the sciences. Organized around the theme of Discover our community, our world and ourselves, the week's events feature classroom lessons, assemblies, students performances, and visitors from the Boston Nature Center, City Fresh Foods, the Children's Museum, Young Achievers School of Math & Science, the Society of Black Engineers, and more. Pictured here, fifth grade student Demitrius Leary of Dorchester plays the role of Matthew Henson, an African-American explorer who helped discover the North Pole in 1909.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Boston Teachers Union strike averted on February 15

All Boston Public Schools will be in session on a regular schedule for all students and staff on Thursday, February 15. Boston Teachers Union members voted tonight to delay a strike vote, possibly for two weeks, depending on the progress of ongoing contract negotiations.

Wednesday, February 14: afternoon and evening activities canceled

Due to snow and icy road conditions, all school-based after-school, athletic and evening activities in the Boston Public Schools are canceled on Wednesday, February 14. All schools -- including extended day and surround care sites -- are dismissing on the regular schedule, but no late buses will operate. Tonight's scheduled Boston School Committee meeting also has been canceled. Parents should contact the principal of their child's school with any questions.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

District prepares families for potential BTU strike

Superintendent Contompasis and schools throughout the city have begun preparing families for the possibility that the Boston Teachers Union may stage an illegal one-day strike on Thursday, February 15. Despite a recent order from the state Labor Relations Commission to "cease and desist" any strike planning activities, union leaders appear to be moving forward with a scheduled strike vote on February 14. BPS is sending an automated phone message and letters home to families in eight languages, alerting parents that if teachers do vote to strike, school would be cancelled for all students on February 15, and that they should begin seeking alternate child care arrangements. In the event of a strike, all employees (except bus drivers and bus monitors) would be required to report to work as usual. In his letter, the Superintendent urged families to listen to news and radio broadcasts on the night of February 14 to learn whether or not school is in session. For more information about the possible strike and ongoing negotiations, visit the BPS website.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Three Boston schools among State's "Compass Schools"

Today, the Massachusetts Department of Education announced 35 schools statewide whose MCAS performance makes them models of excellence. The 2007 Compass Schools include three from Boston: the Bradley Elementary in East Boston, the Manning Elementary in Jamaica Plain, and Fenway High School. Commissioner David Driscoll honored the schools in a ceremony at the State House today. Since the program began in 2001 as part of the State's Exemplary Schools initiative, eleven Boston Public Schools have been recognized for their achievements as Compass Schools.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Superintendent Contompasis sees his "shadow"

Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow today, but Superintendent Michael Contompasis certainly did. Jordan Pinion, a senior at the Academy of Public Service in the Dorchester Education Complex, spent the morning "shadowing" the Superintendent as part of Groundhog Job Shadow Day, an annual opportunity for high school students to visit workplaces to learn more about career choices. Jordan began his morning at the Superintendent's breakfast with a group of principals, learned about the district budget from the Chief Financial Officer, and sat in on a meeting between Massachusetts Urban Superintendents and Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, Governor Patrick's education advisor. More than 900 Boston students spent the day with mentors today through the program, sponsored locally by the Boston Private Industry Council. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the national Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

BPS seeks outstanding teaching candidates

Yesterday Boston Public Schools posted more than 600 teaching positions for the 2007-2008 school year, accelerating the teacher hiring process with the earliest new teacher posting ever. The district is seeking outstanding licensed educators teachers of pre-kindergarten through high school to apply through the on-line Career Center. Pictured here, Carol Alvizures of Roxbury, a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, reviews open teaching positions on-line. Ms. Alvizures, who holds a teaching license in secondary education, has been student teaching at her alma mater, Madison Park Technical-Vocational High School. She attended Boston Public Schools from kindergarten through grade 12 and hopes to teach in the district beginning next September.

First four-year graduation rate highlights challenges for Boston

The State Department of Education today released the school and district four-year graduation rates, a new measurement that will be one factor beginning next year in determining "Adequate Yearly Progress" among Massachusetts high schools under NCLB. Boston's results indicate that 59% of students originally in the Class of 2006 (ninth graders in September 2002) earned a diploma in four years. Another 17% of the total are still in school and pursuing a diploma. Nine Boston public high schools exceeded the statewide four-year graduation rate of 80%. Health Careers Academy, a Horace Mann Charter School within BPS, was one of only four schools statewide to achieve a 100% four-year graduation rate.