Community Speaks out about Future BPS Supt.

April 2, 2014
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Last Wednesday night at East Boston High School Boston Public School parents and students joined BPS officials for a public hearing to get feedback from families on what qualities and priorities the new BPS superintendent should possess.

On February 6, Mayor Walsh and the BPS Committee announced the formation of a Superintendent Search Committee to spearhead a national search for a new superintendent of schools. The committee was charged with hosting community meetings to solicit public input on the job description for the new superintendent,

At last week’s meeting, parents said the new superintendent should be committed to expanding more schools in Eastie to the K-8 model, expand advanced placement classes, have classroom experience and experience in a culturally diverse school district.

“I’m very happy at my school,” said Fernando, a student at the James Otis School. “We have great teachers, an excellent principal and parent coordinators. I wish we could expand our school to a K-8 model so when we make the transition to middle school we can remain at the school we love.”

A parent, with a student at East Boston High said she would like to see the new superintendent have experience with a large ethnic population with proven experience as an effective communicator and listener to the unique needs of each neighborhood.

Another parent spoke of the importance of expanding early childhood education programs at BPS because many students when they get to kindergarten they are behind their peers that have had access to early childhood education programs.

A teacher at East Boston High School said she felt is was incredibly important to have a superintendent that is not only an administrator but someone who has teaching experience and has spent substantial time in the classroom. She also added that the new superintendent should have knowledge of the BPS system to avoid spending the first year learning the system.

With only two advanced placement classes available to 4th and 5th graders at the Bradley School, many parents at the meeting felt there should be more of these programs to prepare students for better middle school and high schools in the district.

This week, Mayor Martin Walsh and Superintendent Search Committee Co-Chairs Hardin Coleman and Robert Gallery announced the launch of a survey to gather community input on the next superintendent. The survey asks respondents to share the characteristics they feel the next superintendent should demonstrate.

“We, as a community, are taking an active role in the future of the youth of Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “This online survey helps to make this process a transparent one, in which the voices of the people will be heard and valued.”

The survey is currently live at the following link: http://survey2.ecragroup.com/index.php/258518/lang-en. Community members will be able to submit their opinions through Sunday, April 6.

“We have been thrilled to see so many passionate individuals at our public hearings,” Gallery said. “This survey provides another channel for collecting input from those who haven’t been able to come out or those who may have more to share.”

Coleman said the survey will help ensure BPS hears from as many members of the community as possible.

“The feedback we have collected at our public hearings and through this survey will directly shape the superintendent’s profile and the job description we use to recruit candidates,” he said.

Using feedback from the survey, public hearings, and interviews with numerous stakeholders, search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will present a Leadership Profile Report to the Superintendent Search Committee in a public meeting on April 16. After receiving the report, the Superintendent Search Committee will finalize the criteria desired in the next superintendent.

“We’ve sought the public’s input throughout the process and this online survey will allow residents to continue to provide comments that are a valuable part of the search for the next Boston Public Schools Superintendent,’’ said Michael O’Neill, School Committee Chair.

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