For Immediate Release
September 20, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today, standing alongside Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Carol R. Johnson and the leaders of the city’s charter public schools signed a compact aimed at accelerating student achievement for all students in Boston.
The agreement makes Boston among a small group of cities in the nation to formally link district public schools and public charter schools around common goals and shared visions. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting a select group of leaders in several communities around the country who are willing to collaborate across charter and district boundaries to dramatically improve college readiness rates within their communities and deliver the best results for all students. The foundation has invited the City of Boston to submit a grant proposal for $100,000 in funding to advance the goals outlined in their compact.
“I started this term as Mayor saying that the time for pitting traditional public schools against charter schools was over,” said Mayor Menino. “Today those words become reality and the students of this city will be the better for it, no matter where they go to school.”
The highlights of the compact include:
- A simplified, coordinated enrollment process and increased access to information about all public school options, so parents can make informed and timely decisions about where to send their children to school.
- More opportunities for BPS and charter school teachers to share professional development training to learn best practices from each other.
- Development of a common school metric so Boston families can make apples-to-apples comparisons between schools, regardless of district or charter status.
- Expanded opportunities for BPS and charter schools to share innovative practices that can be implemented citywide in all schools.
- Greater coordination of facility needs providing charters with an opportunity to lease unused or under-utilized district school buildings and minimizing the district’s cost to transport charter students.
“This Compact will bring together charter and district leaders, principals and teachers to advance a common mission: to ensure that we provide the best possible educational opportunities for Boston school children,” said Kevin Andrews, Chairman of the Boston Alliance for Charter Schools and Headmaster at Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester.
The compact also calls on BPS and the city’s charter schools to make specific commitments.
Commitments being made by the Boston Alliance for Charter Schools include:
- Reaching out and serving all types of student populations, including English Language Learners and Special Education Students.
- Working with BPS to determine where the geographic need for new schools is the greatest in the City of Boston.
- Minimizing transportation costs for the city by focusing recruitment efforts to the school’s nearby community.
“We know that there are lessons to be learned from charter schools to help accelerate student achievement, but we also know we have equally as good lessons to share with them,” said Dr. Johnson. “We have come to the table with one goal: helping the children of our city by making all our schools successful, and therefore more competitive. I believe there is no more important set of work in this country today.”
Commitments being made by the Boston Public Schools include:
- Proactively engaging the Boston Alliance of Charter Schools during public discussion and decision-making about the student enrollment system and the district's portfolio of schools, particularly when there will be changes to grade configurations or types of schools offered in a particular neighborhood.
- Exploring the leasing of unused or under-utilized district buildings to educational institutions, including charter schools, under a set of specific standards designed to ensure all students have access to a variety of school options that meet their needs.
- Respect and protect the autonomies of all charter public schools in the City, including charter school availability to all students.
“I can remember a time when a compact like this would have been considered ‘outrageous’ and impossible to even imagine,” said Don Shalvey, PhD, deputy director, US Programs, State-District Networks, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Today it’s a bold and ambitious statement that sets an example for other cities. Boston had decided to needs of its students firs, and we applaud their leadership.”
Today’s event took place at the Dudley branch of the Boston Public Library in Roxbury.