Police: Mildred Ave. School no longer in ‘safe mode’

Reporter Staff
Apr. 5, 2011

Mattapan’s Mildred Avenue K-8 School briefly went into “safe mode” on Tuesday morning, following a spat between two parents, according to the Boston Police Department. A spokesman on Tuesday afternoon said that the situation had been resolved and students were sent home at their regular schedule.

A call came into police at 11:20 a.m., when two parents were in a spat over the custody of a child and one was fearful that the other would take the child without proper permission, police said.

"The situation was resolved peacefully, amicably," said BPD spokesman James Kenneally.  Read more

Obama gives pep talk at TechBoston Academy: President hails school as model for nation

Pres. Obama: President Obama spoke at TechBoston Academy on Tuesday, March  8, 2011. Photo courtesy BPSPres. Obama: President Obama spoke at TechBoston Academy on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Photo courtesy BPS
For Archana Ailawadhi, a college counselor at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, it was all about the numbers when President Barack Obama stopped by the school on Tuesday afternoon.

“The students here come from some tough neighborhoods – am I right?” asked the president. “Yes. And yet the graduation rate is almost 20 points higher than the rest of the city – 20 points higher,” Obama said to applause. “Ninety-four percent of the most recent graduating class went to college. Eighty-five percent of those students were the first in their family to do so. Your math and science scores are consistently higher than other Boston schools, and the attendance rate here is 94 percent.”

Ailawadhi smiled, recalling the moment. “I was overwhelmed,” she said after the speech, as local politicians and students milled around the gymnasium of the former Dorchester High School, still soaking in the pomp and circumstance of a presidential appearance.  Read more

Complaint: BPS closings hit black, Latino students

Michael Norton, State House News Service, and Staff
Feb. 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into complaints that the City of Boston's school closing plans discriminate against black and Latino students and parents.

In a Feb. 15 letter, Donna Russell, an attorney in the department's Office of Civil Rights, confirmed that an investigation has been opened while cautioning that the investigation itself should not imply that the department agrees with the merits of the case. Russell said the office would act as a neutral fact-finder during the investigation, collecting and analyzing evidence from the complainants and the school district.  Read more

City says it'll finally plow road next to Winthrop School

Unplowed streetUnplowed DanubeState Rep. Tony Henriquez said this morning the city DPW told him it will be sending a plow over to Danube Street, which runs alongside the Winthrop School and which went unplowed yesterday.

Henriquez said the problem is that residents park on both sides of the narrrow street, making it hard to plow. He contacted the DPW after reading a complaint on the city's Citizen Connect system from a teacher at the school this morning:  Read more

Section of concrete falls from UMass-Boston substructure ceiling, no one injured

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 17, 2010

UMass-Boston concrete falls: No one was hurt when this 385 pound section fell in an unoccupied area of Wheatley Hall on Thursday.UMass-Boston concrete falls: No one was hurt when this 385 pound section fell in an unoccupied area of Wheatley Hall on Thursday.UMass-Boston officials were reminded this week that parts of the campus are crumbling – literally.

The Columbia Point campus’s chief of facilities management said in a Thursday email to Chancellor Keith Motley and other university officials that a 385-pound section of concrete below Wheatley Hall fell from the lower level’s ceiling that morning.

No one was injured and the area is not accessible to the public, university officials said, adding that the campus remains safe.

“It fell next to a column in an unoccupied area,” Dorothy Renaghan, the assistant vice chancellor for facilities management, said in the email, obtained by the Reporter.  Read more

School committee votes to close nine schools, including Dorchester's Fifield and East Zone ELC

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 16, 2010

Committee Votes for School Consolidation from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

Above: Joe Rowland of BNN-TV's Neighborhood Network News reports.

As a frequently raucous crowd of parents and teachers jeered them, the Boston School Committee late Wednesday voted 7-0 to approve a controversial plan to shutter nine schools, including Dorchester’s Fifield Elementary School, East Zone Early Learning Center and Middle School Academy.

The plan, put forth by Superintendent Carol Johnson, also includes merging Lee Academy Pilot School with Lee Elementary School, which share the same building; moving Dorchester Academy from the Dorchester Education Complex to another building; turning TechBoston Academy into a unified Grade 6 through 12 program at the Dorchester Education Complex; and adding classes to the Holland and Trotter Elementary Schools.  Read more

As officials click on closing plan, Fifield parents, staffers ask why

Fifield Parents Object to Closing: BPS Superintendent Carol Johnson's plan to close the school prompted these signs of protest at a Wednesday meeting in Jamaica Plain. Photo by Chris LovettFifield Parents Object to Closing: BPS Superintendent Carol Johnson's plan to close the school prompted these signs of protest at a Wednesday meeting in Jamaica Plain. Photo by Chris LovettThe scene on Tuesday night in Fifield Elementary’s Room 204 was familiar: Emotional parents and staffers, some 30 in all, wearing “Fight for the Fifield” t-shirts and surrounded by pictures of the solar system and the animal kingdom sitting intently as Boston Public School officials clicked through a PowerPoint presentation explaining why they had proposed the closing of the Codman Square school.

“You all can’t close the school,” said Denise Ormsby, the mother of a ten-year-old student, before tearing up and pointing to the several pages of signatures she had gathered in support of keeping the school open. “They care,” she said later. “Teachers, they work with the children, they work with the parents. It’s a family. They care here. And we need more schools like that.”  Read more

Charter school proponents look to expand in Dorchester, Mattapan

Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 8, 2010

Fourteen would-be charter schools have applied to the State Department of Education to be granted charters to start up new schools in Boston out of 23 across the state. Representatives from several of the applicant schools appeared before a panel of state education officials in Boston City Hall on Tuesday to press their case.

Though plans for the schools are still in the preliminary stages and locations for school facilities are not definite, some of the proponents for the proposals heard Tuesday vowed to serve underprivileged students from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.  Read more

Harbor Middle School principal removed

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 3, 2010

Five months after he was installed as principal of Harbor Middle School, Dr. Robert Martin was removed by the city’s school department, parents learned in a letter from Superintendent Carol Johnson.

Johnson’s letter, which parents received last week on the day before Thanksgiving, said the change in leadership was effective that day, Nov. 24.

“We know how critical leadership is to our overall student improvement efforts, and we acknowledge that this decision has implications for you, your children, and the dedicated faculty and staff of the Harbor,” she wrote. “We expect to appoint a permanent principal to the Harbor by no later than mid-January.”  Read more

Fifield Elementary added to school closure list, Clap Elementary spared

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 2, 2010

Boston schools chief Carol Johnson reversed course Thursday night, proposing to keep open the Roger Clap Elementary School.

The Clap would become an "innovation school," operating similarly to a charter school and providing more administrative flexibility at traditional public schools. The Clap, which would become the city's first "innovation school," was originally slated to close under plans proposed by Superintendent Johnson earlier this fall.

Johnson submitted on Thursday evening revised plans, which added Fifield Elementary School to the list of proposed school closings, to the city’s School Committee at English High in Jamaica Plain.  Read more