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

Harbor School head under fire; Special Ed issues cited

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor and Pat Tarantino, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 23, 2010

Some parents of special education students at the Harbor Middle School in Fields Corner are raising concerns about the principal with Boston schools chief Carol Johnson, accusing him of creating a “hostile” environment for their children.  Read more

Parish-themed bash aims to help Leahy-Holloran Community Center

By Jackie Gentile, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 18, 2010

Any first encounter between two residents of Dorchester is as likely to begin with, “What’s your parish?” as it is with “What street do you live on.” While the neighborhood’s much-celebrated patchwork of Catholic parishes has yielded prominence to include other points of reference over the years, its relevance lives on.

Now comes a major fundraiser scheduled for Thanksgiving week: A “What Parish Are You From?” event to benefit the city-owned Leahy-Holloran Community Center fundraiser will be held next Friday, Nov. 26, at the Victory Road Armory. The evening will include cocktails, a cash bar, disc jockey and, of course, a major lure, in this case a $10,000 drawing.  Read more

Mildred Ave. event connects students to financial aid

Reporter Staff
Nov. 16, 2010

An event on Wednesday afternoon at Mattapan's Mildred Avenue Community Center will help prospective college students connect with financial aid opportunities. The event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA), will take place from 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Organizers say the main goal is to make students aware of the importance of postsecondary education and the financial aid resources that are available to assist them.  Read more

Sunday auction, reunion at Florian benefits Elizabeth Seton Academy

Reporter Staff
Nov. 4, 2010

Elizabeth Seton Academy will host its annual Autumn Auction and Reunion on Sun., Nov. 7 from 12 to 4 p.m. at Florian Hall in Dorchester. Some of the more popular items are the gift certificates for restaurants, theme parks, historic sites, museums, and more. Other items very readily sought after are autographed sports memorabilia and tickets to Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots games.  Read more

Vote on closing schools delayed; parents still on high alert

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Nov. 4, 2010

Superintendent Carol Johnson is delaying a vote on plans to close schools, giving parents opposed to the closures a month to regroup. Dorchester schools on the chopping block include Roger Clap Elementary and the East Zone Early Learning Center. School officials had also been pushing to merge the Lee Academy Pilot School and the Lee Elementary School.

“Overall, I’m optimistic that we have the extra month or so to get them to change their minds, and hopefully this opens up more of a debate,” said Kenny Jervis, one of the parents leading the charge to keep Clap Elementary open. “We’re happy we got the extra time but it’s nowhere near a victory yet.”  Read more

Letter: Lee Academy, Lee School both deserve chance to succeed

To the Editor:

I am a parent at the Lee Academy Pilot School on Talbot Ave., one of several small schools targeted by the BPS superintendent’s “Redesign and Reinvest” proposal for next school year. Because the Lee Academy shares a building with the Joseph Lee School, whose MCAS scores have risen dramatically while ours have showed more modest gains, the superintendent proposed originally to eliminate the independent pilot school and go back to one full-sized (approximately 700 students) traditional elementary school. Part of the hope with this is that the Lee could, with access to the whole building, add on to its program to become a K-8 school, providing a middle school option to our neighborhood.  Read more