Despite the tempestuous summer at Boston School Department headquarters, innovative things will be happening when the schools reopen on Monday.
The Higginson, Mozart and O’Hearn elementary schools have taken a progressive approach to their special education students by integrating them into regular classes. With the problems Boston is having in meeting the state mandate on special education students, these schools offer their students a measure of respect by welcoming diversity and educating all students with their peers.
Taking a cue from the success of the two-way bilingual program at the Hernandez school, eight schools will incorporate it into classes. The Hernandez philosophy is that every pupil is bilingual. Rather than segregating Spanish-speakers, a new language, whether English or Spanish, is taught all students. Adopting the bilingual program on a pilot basis are the Agassiz, Blackstone, Hurley, Marshall and Russell elementary schools and the Barnes, Cleveland and King middle schools.
Eighteen schools, with state funding, will be restructured this year in an effort to attract more students. The schools will make fundamental changes in operations by adopting one of 16 educational models that include two-way bilingual education, enhanced early-childhood education and the integration of special-needs students.
The elementary schools are the Blackstone, Dickerman, Farragut, Garfield, Sarah Greenwood, Higginson, Mozart, Perry, Tobin, Pauline Shaw, Winship and Winthrop. The middle schools are the Cleveland, Dearborn, Lewis, Thompson, Robert Gould Shaw and Wheatley.
The common denominator of all these schools is that they are attempting to break down barriers between students and to integrate students and programs. In believing that everyone must have ownership in a school for it to succeed, they are on their way to joining the other schools in Boston that have succeeded in spite of the bad news out of Court Street.