Dear Families and Friends of Boston Public Schools (BPS):
It is important that our students, parents, teachers, staff, and community partners receive accurate information about the work that is being done throughout the district to achieve the best possible outcomes for our students.
On Wed., July 20, WGBH News posted an article online that was patently false regarding a proposal for the admissions process to the district’s three exam schools. BPS does not have a report, in draft or final form, entitled: “BPS Strategic Implementation Plan 2016/Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force.” And there are no proposals to prevent any students from enrolling in the district’s three exam schools.
I hope this provides some clarity in the midst of these claims. BPS is disappointed that this media outlet reported this erroneous information and did not attempt to verify any facts with BPS before posting its article.
We’re focused on growing commitment and opportunities at BPS to benefit our students. In April, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Latin School Association made it possible for Boston Public Schools to add an additional 300 seats to the Exam School Initiative, a free preparation course offered to any student living in Boston who is eligible to take the “ISEE” exam to gain admission into the district’s three exam schools: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.
The number of seats in the program this summer increased from 450 to 750 to provide more equitable access and academic rigor for students from the district’s traditionally underrepresented schools. The annual program begins in August and has been hosted at Boston Latin School since it began in 2000. For more information regarding this program, please visit bostonpublicschools.org/exam.
While our exam schools offer high quality educational programming, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us all to work closely together in spreading equity, coherence, and innovation across the district to ensure that all students are receiving a transformational education.
I continue to be impressed and inspired by how intelligent and determined so many of our students are. And I would like to reassure each and every single student that we have their best interests at heart. They have an entire community of parents, teachers, principals, and staff who are invested in their success.
Recently, I shared our strategic implementation plan for BPS* with the Boston community. “Strong Schools; Stronger Boston: A Plan to Foster Equity, Coherence, and Innovation throughout Boston Public Schools” focuses on how to provide a high-quality, public education for all of our students, and it is grounded in values of equity, coherence, and innovation.
That is what I would like to see here throughout the district.
Equity: Eliminating system bias and providing authentic learning opportunities for all students; and developing our future leaders into self-determined, independent learners who are able to pursue their aspirations.
Coherence: Focusing BPS’ business model on teaching and learning, and building an efficient way to deliver resources to students, families, teachers, and staff.
Innovation: Building a culture of change, and generating new solutions by not just relying on current operation models.
This plan represents a culmination of ideas and thoughtful planning from the Boston School Committee, the BPS leadership team, and the BPS community, on how we — together — can implement best practices, build even more effective systems, and best serve our students.
I recognize that there is much more work to be done, and we’re up to the task. We’re fully committed to producing the next generation of doctors, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and leaders of 21st century skills. Thank you to the BPS community, partners, and friends for continuing to be valuable partners. I look forward to our continued work, as a community, in ensuring that BPS provides high quality learning opportunities for all students.
* The strategic implementation plan can be viewed on the BPS website at bostonpublicschools.org/strategicplan2016.
Tommy Chang is the superintendent of the Boston Public Schools.