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The Boston School Committee held a shorter-than-normal meeting last night. The meeting began with the Superintendent's Report, which provided updates on summer learning, announced new technology for school buses, and presented the quarterly update on Transformation Schools. The Superintendent noted that Transformation Schools are seeing similar gro…
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Last night’s meeting was the last school committee meeting of the school year, with a scheduled vote to close the Lilla Frederick Middle School and close and consolidate the West Zone Early Learning Center with the Hennigan School, and a report from the school committee’s student representative. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, w…
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In today’s episode, Jill is joined by Dr. Jill Walsh. She is a sociologist and researcher at Boston University, and specializes in the impact of technology and social media on adolescent development. Dr. Walsh is also the founder of Digital Aged, through which she works with schools and families to give them the tools to help young people navigate …
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Last night’s meeting lasted about four and a half hours, and touched on numerous subjects. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Skipper spent most of the time discussing the negotiations with the Boston Teachers Union. The Superintendent noted that she hopes to have a deal by the end of the month, and that negoti…
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Standardized testing has long been a cornerstone in educational systems, serving as a tool for measuring student achievement and influencing decisions at every level of schooling. Supporters see standardized tests as essential for maintaining accountability and providing clear metrics for comparison across educational landscapes. However, many have…
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Last night’s meeting was long anticipated as the meeting where BPS would begin to actualize the actions of their long term facilities plan by announcing a comprehensive list of school closures, mergers and consolidations, but this was not the case. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where she discussed a recent update she gave to t…
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Last week, Jill and Ross hosted a live podcast recording at the University Club in Boston, MA, with College Uncovered co-hosts Jon Marcus and Kirk Carapezza. Jon is a higher education editor for The Hechinger Report, and Kirk is the managing editor and correspondent for higher education at GBH News. Their podcast, College Uncovered, helps families …
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Last night’s meeting featured the Superintendent’s Report and three reports, including reports on participating in the school choice program and the district’s facilities plan. The meeting began with a brief Superintendent’s Report. Members asked about the status of the district’s budget, which is currently being considered by the City Council. The…
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There are over 50,000 teacher vacancies in classrooms across the country, with certain parts of the country seeing large numbers. As the number of individuals enrolled in teacher prep programs has dropped off and more and more teachers are leaving the profession, schools are struggling to keep teachers in the classroom. In today’s episode, Jill and…
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Last night’s meeting was fairly light, with only one report. The meeting began with the Superintendent's Report, where she announced that her team would have an update on the district’s long-term facilities plan on May 22nd, including an initial list of closures, mergers, and reconfigurations. The Superintendent then went on to briefly discuss stud…
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According to the National Center for Bilingual Education, by 2030, over 40% of K-12 students in the US will be native language speakers of a language other than english. As this population continues to grow, education experts say that the needs of these students continue to go unmet, with schools struggling to help students learn English while also…
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The agenda for last night's meeting appeared to be rather light and straightforward, but the meeting proved to be much different. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where the majority of the discussion centered around the exam school admissions process. The Superintendent announced that the district had released decisions to applic…
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Last night’s meeting concluded the district’s FY25 budget process, with a vote by the School Committee to approve the Superintendent’s budget proposal. Before the vote, the School Committee heard dozens of public testimony about three issues. There were about half a dozen public commenters speaking about funding cuts for librarians across the distr…
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Last night’s School Committee meeting was the last meeting before the School Committee votes on the Superintendent’s FY25 budget. The meeting was preceded by the last public budget hearing for the Superintendent’s FY25 budget proposal. During the hearing, nearly 30 individuals offered public comments, the bulk of which concerned the district's shif…
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Today's parents and caregivers face the unique challenge of guiding kids through the complexities of social media, trying to ensure a safe and positive experience in the digital landscape. Over the past two decades, social media usage has skyrocketed among kids and teens, and right alongside it, we have seen mental health issues increase at an alar…
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Last night's meeting featured a significant announcement about school facilities, a focus on student data and the continued theme of School Committee members advocating for more detailed planning. The meeting also saw City Councilor Brian Worrell emphasizing the City Council's intention to play a greater role in managing the school department's bud…
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There are more than 7 million students with disabilities in the United States, representing a variety of needs and abilities. Schools across the country continue to struggle to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible, and gaps have only grown over the past decade. In today's episode, Jill and Ross …
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Last night's meeting initiated the district's annual budget process. It started with the Superintendent’s Report, followed by concerns from school committee members about their previously requested agenda items not being addressed. Members Brandon Cardet-Hernandez and Stephen Alkins requested updates on several issues, including student outcome dat…
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Last night’s meeting lasted about five hours with only one report and nearly 50 speakers testifying during public comment. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Skipper spent the majority of the time discussing the School Quality Framework (SQF). The district made changes to the SQF last month without a full prese…
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Across the country, public schools are seeing big declines in enrollment, with more than one million fewer students enrolled in public schools over just the past four years and the steepest drops in the highest-need districts. With declining birth rates, increasing alternative school options, and the looming cut-off of federal relief funds all crea…
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Skipper spent the majority of her report discussing the district’s recently released long-term facilities plan. This long-term facilities plan was submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as required by the state’s Systemic Improvement Plan, …
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Last night was the last Boston School Committee meeting of 2023, and for the second consecutive week, the Superintendent’s Report included a memo with information typically presented as a larger standalone report. This week’s memo shared an annual update from the Office of Equity regarding increased incidents of student-on-student misconduct - a to…
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Skipper discussed two memos released earlier that day. The first memo addressed long-term facility planning, a comprehensive plan for which is due to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) by the end of the year. The memo noted that …
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In Massachusetts, there are 9,000 young people in the foster care system, and 50,000 engaged with the Department of Children and Families. These students face a unique set of challenges, and in today’s episode, Jill and Ross are joined by the leaders of two organizations at the forefront of helping them succeed. Lauren Baker, Former First Lady of M…
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Last night’s School Committee meeting was primarily focused on discussion of a new facility rubric released last week by BPS to guide decisions around school closures, mergers, and new construction. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, after which the School Committee Chair and Vice Chair shared their experience from a recent visit t…
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Chronic absenteeism rates in every state are skyrocketing – continuing a trend that started before the pandemic and leading the White House to double down on efforts to get kids back in school. In Massachusetts alone, 23% of all students were chronically absent last year – meaning they missed more than 10% of school days – with rates among high sch…
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Last night was a short meeting beginning with the Superintendent’s Report, in which Superintendent Skipper addressed the news earlier this week that nine members of the School Committee’s English Learners (EL) Task Force resigned in response to the BPS inclusion plan presented at the last meeting. The plan called for full inclusion of multilingual …
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On July 14, 2021, the Boston School Committee unanimously approved a new admissions policy for Boston's three exam schools: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Now, after the policy’s first full year of implementation, questions have been raised about its “unintended consequences.” …
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School districts across the country are facing similar challenges, and “Deep Dives” aims to unpack why things are the way they are and what it will take to create change. In each episode, Jill Shah and Ross Wilson bring together national experts for a roundtable discussion about a key issue in our schools - diving deep into root causes and innovati…
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, in which we heard positive updates on transportation. Superintendent Skipper shared that on-time bus performance has dramatically improved since last year, with data from September showing 84% of buses were on time in the morning and 96% arrived within fifteen minutes. Bus times in the af…
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“Deep Dives,” a new ongoing podcast series from the Shah Family Foundation, explores the biggest issues impacting America’s schools, bringing together local and national experts to discuss why things are the way they are and what it takes to create change. Listen to the first episode in your podcast feed on Thursday, October 26. Learn more about yo…
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Last night’s School Committee meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, which led to a lengthy discussion of the exam school admissions policy in response to a request from member Brandon Cardet-Hernandez to amend the allocation of the ten bonus points. First, Superintendent Skipper spoke about the release of a facilities condition dashboard …
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Last night’s School Committee meeting began with remarks from Chair Jeri Robinson in which she addressed her comments at the last School Committee meeting on the troubled state of Boston Public Schools. In her remarks last night, Chair Robinson claimed that her unscripted comments were used to promote a negative image of the district and that publi…
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Last night was the first School Committee meeting held in-person since the start of the pandemic, and it was conducted in a hybrid format with both in-person and remote public testimony. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, which featured a number of positive back-to-school updates, including a low number of teacher vacancies, a high…
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Last night was the first School Committee meeting of the new school year, and it began by introducing the Committee’s newest member, Chantal Lima Barbosa. The first report of the evening was on the results of an external investigation into allegations that BPS leaders discriminated against administrators of color, which concluded that there were no…
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Last night’s School Committee meeting was a special meeting with only one agenda item: Superintendent Skipper’s self-evaluation of her performance over the past school year. Superintendent Skipper framed her evaluation in four standards: instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture. …
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Last night was the last School Committee meeting of this academic year, and it was an unusual one. There were no reports on the agenda (other than the Superintendent’s Report), and the meeting came in the wake of multiple controversies in the BPS community. The meeting began with an update from Chair Jeri Robinson on the new admissions policy for M…
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Last night’s meeting began with a discussion of a big announcement made the previous day by Mayor Wu and Superintendent Skipper regarding changes to several BPS high schools. On Tuesday, these leaders announced a vision that included relocating the O’Bryant School to the vacant West Roxbury Education Complex in a new, state-of-the-art facility and …
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, which started with a moment of silence for the recent loss of two students. The Superintendent then discussed a recent Boston Globe article on chronic absenteeism, noting that BPS has seen a 7% improvement in its chronic absenteeism rate but still has a long way to go (chronic absenteeism…
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Last night was a short School Committee meeting beginning with the Superintendent’s Report, which focused on summer program enrollment. School Committee members pressed for details on exam school admissions, a topic notably absent from the Superintendent’s Report despite students having just received invitations last Friday, and multiple parents jo…
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, which focused on acceleration academies and summer programming. The Superintendent discussed the district’s expansion of summer learning seats, announcing that BPS now has the capacity to serve 17,000 students this summer, with about 4,500 students already enrolled. There was no discussio…
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Last night was a short School Committee meeting, with only one report on transformation schools. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s report, in which she touched on two issues. First, Superintendent Skipper discussed an error in the exam schools admissions process that led to the miscalculation of student GPAs, affecting eligibility for doz…
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Last night, the School Committee spent the majority of its time discussing and voting on the Superintendent’s final budget recommendation for the next fiscal year. The School Committee was split on the budget: some members expressed hesitance about adding to the district’s hundreds of vacancies and creating a fiscal cliff in future years, while oth…
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Last night’s meeting began with a one-hour budget hearing, followed by a lengthy discussion of three main topics: budget, transportation, and school mergers. Superintendent Skipper began her report with an overview of a new organizational chart for BPS, increasing the number of department chiefs reporting to three deputy superintendents. School Com…
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Last night’s meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, the majority of which focused on transportation and transformation schools. Superintendent Skipper discussed the recent controversy over a pending RFP for management of the bus system that received only one bidder – current management company Transdev. She also celebrated the addition of …
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Last night’s meeting marked the beginning of the annual BPS budget process. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, in which Superintendent Skipper discussed the district’s progress in implementing contractually-obligated back-pay for educators and new developments in the school merger process. The Superintendent noted that she has adde…
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Last night’s meeting focused primarily on three policy areas. The first dealt with contractually-obligated back-pay for BPS staff. Despite agreeing to pay increases in the most recent union contract, BPS has yet to implement these increases, with Superintendent Skipper noting they hope to have the issue sorted by mid-February. BPS teachers and staf…
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Last night was the first full School Committee meeting of 2023, following last week’s annual Organizational Meeting in which the Committee approved their 2023 meeting schedule and reappointed Chair Jeri Robinson and Vice Chair Michael O’Neill to their leadership positions. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Ski…
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Last night’s meeting was the last School Committee meeting of 2022, and the School Committee spent the majority of the meeting kicking off the process for next year’s budget discussion. The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report, where Superintendent Skipper discussed student safety, transportation, and rising COVID-19 cases in Boston – an …
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Last night’s meeting was five hours long, beginning with the Superintendent’s Report, the majority of which celebrated the district’s Educator of the Year award recipients. The first Committee report last night was on union contracts for food service workers, police patrolmen, and custodians. All three contracts were approved. The second report was…
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