Last week the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Interim Superintendent Laura 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.
This week Boston Councilor Lydia Edwards and Rep. Adrian Madaro both issued statements regarding the proposed changes by BPS affecting Eastie and Charlestown.
Edwards said she was pleased to see substantial expansion investments to BPS in District One. The acquisition of a building in Eastie and re-purposed existing space in Charlestown are necessary first steps to ensure adequate seats are available for growing neighborhoods, commented Edwards.
“However, Boston will continue to foster uncertainty in families without a guaranteed pathway for our children from kindergarten to high school. I will remain cautiously optimistic and work with BPS to ensure a well-developed plan is presented to parents for student tracks beyond the sixth grade,” she said. “I have expressed concerns about recent operating cuts to area schools, and given this, Boston Public Schools must provide a plan to stabilize funding levels and expand high schools from the seventh through twelfth grade in addition to proposed elementary and middle school expansions. I look forward to working with newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Brenda Casselius, the Walsh administration, and BPS officials to guarantee certainty, stability, and opportunity for both parents and children.”
Additionally, Edwards said her office will be reaching out to discuss transitional plans for the school community at the Edwards Middle School.
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.
Perille said 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
“The Boston Public Schools is taking a major step toward addressing the needs of students and families in East Boston,” said Madaro. “I share the goals of the Mayor, BPS, and East Boston residents of increasing access to pre-K and decreasing transitions for children and families. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to create clear school pathways in East Boston from pre-K through grade 12 as soon as possible.”