As a short-term solution to expand the North End’s Eliot School, Boston Public Schools announced that three new classrooms will be made available at the North Bennet Street School for the 2011-2012 school year.
“While the district searches for a long-term solution to address the increased demand at the highly-successful Eliot K-8 School in the North End, the Superintendent has created a short-term solution to accommodate the current population of students at the school. The school will have access to three classrooms at the nearby North Bennett Street School for the upcoming school year.”
North End parents have been strongly advocating for the expansion because many neighborhood children were put on an entrance waiting list. Longer-term solutions remain opaque with little action by city officials to expand public school space in downtown Boston. The location most often mentioned is on North Street, formerly occupied by the City’s printing operations. Adding to the mix, the North Bennet Street School has presented a “swap” concept where NBSS would move to the City’s property on North St. and the Eliot School could expand into their existing space. However, the Boston Finance Commission has advised the city to bid out the North St. property to maximize the value to the taxpayers. Another site previously considered is at the redevelopment of Government Center Garage. However, the latest proposal for that project does not include a school.
The complete press release from Boston Public Schools is shown below:
Superintendent Johnson proposes relocation and expansion of successful Boston high schools
Also introduces proposals for two more in-district charter schools
BOSTON – Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Carol R. Johnson today announced a proposal that will relocate two Boston high schools, increasing high-quality options for Boston families at three schools across the city. The proposal, which will be submitted to the Boston School Committee on Wednesday, July 20, calls for Boston Latin Academy (BLA) to relocate from its Townsend Street building in Dorchester to 655 Metropolitan Avenue in Hyde Park, the building formally known as the Hyde Park Education Complex. The Superintendent’s plan also calls for Boston Arts Academy (BAA) to relocate to the building on Townsend Street being vacated by BLA. The proposal would allow for the expansion of Fenway High School, which currently shares a building with BAA on Ipswich Street near Fenway Park.
“A key element of our five-year strategic plan, the Acceleration Agenda, calls for the expansion of schools that work for students,” said Dr. Johnson. “This plan outlines a clear path for some of our most successful schools to grow and welcome more students, some who perhaps never considered BPS as an option in the past. By making these changes we will advance in our journey to close access and achievement gaps for all students.”
Superintendent Johnson will submit the proposal to the school committee on Wednesday night. The committee will then vote on it at a later date. No changes would take place until after the 2011 – 2012 school year. BPS will soon announce details of a community meeting that will invite parents and community members to weigh in on this proposal.
BLA’s potential relocation would diversify the location of the city’s three exam schools. Currently all three exam schools-Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science-are located within a close radius of one another.
Boston Arts Academy and Fenway High School have considerable wait lists. This proposal will allow the schools to accept more students into their highly regarded programs.
The Hyde Park Education Complex was vacated at the end of the 2010-2011 school year as a part of the district’s Redesign and Reinvest plan, which closed underperforming schools while giving student’s access to higher performing schools in the district. Other school buildings that closed under the plan remain vacant. Proposals for those buildings will be made in the coming months.
While the district searches for a long-term solution to address the increased demand at the highly-successful Eliot K-8 School in the North End, the Superintendent has created a short-term solution to accommodate the current population of students at the school. The school will have access to three classrooms at the nearby North Bennett Street School for the upcoming school year.
Additionally, Superintendent Johnson will seek the school committee’s preliminary approval of two more in-district charter schools. If approved, the Boston Teacher Residency School and the UP Academy Elementary School will advance to the next steps in the state’s approval process. BPS will also host community meetings seeking input on the proposed schools. Last year the school committee and the state approved the creation of two in-district charter schools (UP Academy and Boston Green Academy), which will open this coming school year.