Boston Public Schools (BPS) Interim Superintendent Laura Perille announced the beginning of a community planning and engagement process around significant updates to BuildBPS, the district’s 10-year education and facilities master plan, which calls for additional school grade reconfigurations and expansions, and construction of new school buildings.
In East Boston, Perille announced that BPS will reconfigure six Eastie schools, the Adams, Bradley, Guild, Otis, P.J. Kennedy, and O’Donnell from the K-5 model to a K-6 model by September 2021.
The plan also includes expanding middle-grade seat capacity in Eastie by exploring expansions of middle-grade seats at East Boston High School that may turn to a 7-12 model like Boston Latin and Boston Latin Academy. BPS will maintain middle school options at the Umana and McKay K-8 schools.
BPS also purchased the property at 189 Paris St. on May 15 to construct a new school building to serve elementary grades.
According to BPS, the proposals for schools in Eastie, as well as similar changes made in Charlestown, would directly address issues facing both communities, whose school enrollment patterns are intertwined. Currently there is a lack of pre-K and elementary seats in Charlestown, and a lack of elementary- and middle-grade seats in Eastie.
“Modernizing our school facilities and updating our grade configurations in a way that ensures smooth transitions for students and works well for families is one of our top priorities,” said Mayor Martin Walsh, who has committed $1 billion to BuildBPS. “Taken together, these proposals get to the heart of our plan to expand high-quality school options in neighborhoods across our city. I look forward to our work ahead in partnership with the community to bring this vision to life.”
Perille added, “These proposals will help BPS add classroom seats in areas of the city where they’re most needed, and build up sustainable school models to best serve families in more neighborhoods in Boston. With this highly important work ahead, it’s essential we lay a solid foundation for robust and thoughtful planning and engagement with our school communities.”
This month, the Boston School Committee named Dr. Brenda Cassellius, the former education commissioner of Minnesota, the next BPS superintendent beginning July 1. Cassellius said she is committed to take on the important BuildBPS initiative.
“Making sure our schools have long-term, sustainable learning spaces and programming is critically important to closing opportunity and achievement gaps, and is responsive to the needs of students and families,” Cassellius said. “BuildBPS offers an incredible opportunity to achieve a goal of having high quality schools in every neighborhood. I am proud of the commitments already made and look forward to engaging with the entire BPS family soon to continue this important strategic work in ensuring and equitable and excellent school for every BPS student.”