Testimony Delivered at the Boston School Committee Meeting on October 17, 2018 by Louise Burnham Packard, Executive Director, Trinity Boston Foundation
For the last five years Trinity Boston Foundation has embedded clinical staff at the McCormack School. We invest over $500,000 a year in multiple initiatives. We have a clinical program for the most vulnerable students in a school of vulnerable students. We are supporting the school as it works to create a restorative justice culture. We are helping create trauma-inclusive classrooms. Finally, we are coordinating with city non-profits to give students access to basic needs and services. The teachers and administrators of McCormack, together with partners like Trinity are ensuring that the school is meeting the needs of its students.
I am not here about the money we invest in the McCormack. I am here because the current plan, compounded by a thoughtless, on-the-fly roll-out – has created – already – an equity emergency.
School communities, like McCormack’s, are sacred. The relationships among teachers and between teachers and generations of students are precious assets of great value. The BPS Administration and the School Committee are stewards of these assets.
Why is this an equity emergency? Because the students at McCormack already feel invisible and not valued. The plan to close rather than relocate the school during building renovation confirms this view. The decision to send students to a turnaround school that doesn’t have an existing seventh and eighth grade signals that they are expendable.
McCormack teachers have been working with BPS for three years on a plan to create a 7-12 school. Let’s keep working on that plan and save this sacred school community.