Dear Dever-McCormack Community Coalition,
We wanted to reach you all before too much time passed. We are still very excited and determined to maintain and strengthen the connection of this network. And given what’s happening now, we need our “village” more than ever.
You probably know that there is a proposal from Build BPS that would dissolve and close the McCormack Middle School permanently as part of a plan to renovate and convert it into a 7 through 12 school. The decision to close us was a surprise. We knew we needed to transform into a 7-12, so staff had been working for over two years at the superintendent level to create a blueprint for the new 7-12 McCormack. School staff, students and all of you have been helping us create a community that supports students, families and even former students in the extraordinary challenges they face. Our practices in the areas of restorative justice and trauma-sensitivity (an emerging model for schools across BPS) are the fruits of years of work and innovative collaboration.
The BuildBPS plan invests in the buildings but dismantles what matters most: the sense of belonging, protection and love that the school offers. We believe this is an equity issue. The harm done to the most vulnerable black and brown students of our district will be disproportionate, and their needs are not being fully taken into account in this process. For this reason, we are continuing to raise awareness of all the issues involved in this deeply flawed proposal. This school community does not need to be dissolved in order to create a beautiful, innovative, “world-class” educational system.
We want to build upon the 7-12 planning work that has taken place thus far, which keeps the McCormack community intact even through space renovations.
We are asking:
1) That the McCormack community not be dismantled
2) That we be allowed to engage in a thoughtful merger with a high school that shares our core values and beliefs
3) That the building be returned to our community after renovation, not handed over to another school
As a result of all the work students, parents and staff have done, we think the school committee and the superintendent are showing signs that they are willing to slow down and listen. We know you all have your own vantage points on this situation, and as agencies and organizations who are all working to respond to the needs of families, we would love to hear what you’re thinking. If you are inclined to do so, we ask that you consider taking some kind of supportive action to help the McCormack community stay together, and/or engage in the overall discussion about how BPS schools can be as healing and equitable as possible.
Some possible supportive actions:
1) Call the mayor’s office 617-635-4500
2) Call the superintendent’s office 617-635-9050
3) Call the school committee 617-635-9014
4) Call your ward and at-large city councilors 617-635-3040
5) Testify at the next school committee meeting
6) Follow @McCormackMiddle on Twitter and tweet about your desire to keep the McCormack community together using the hashtags #Bospoli and #BuildBPS.
Here is some of the media coverage of the closings and the response:
Bay State Banner (10/31/18)
Boston Globe (10/27/18)
Boston Globe (10/18/18)