A Strong School is The Building Block For A Strong Community
Do you believe that? Then let me introduce you to Blackstone Innovation School…
Located in South End neighborhood of Boston, the Blackstone Innovation School serves nearly 600 diverse students from Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade. Teachers, staff, families and community partners work together to foster a set of core values in the school community: respect, unity, and excellence. Children attend the school from neighborhoods throughout Boston, including the South End, East Boston, Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods.
- Two out of three students speak a language other than English as their first language and most students have limited English proficiency and require specially designed content instruction.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 children qualify for the free lunch program
- Slightly more than 1 out of 5 children receive special education services
So, if I donate and you donate, and then a bunch of other people donates…we could ALL make a difference!
Want to know what your gift could do? Great question…
Blackstone School is hosting a Wellness event for the Academic Parent Teacher Teams to help strengthen communication and offer tools to improve student learning inside and outside the classroom. Help sponsor this event with a gift of $25 or $50.
Blackstone is launching a new visual art program. With a gift of $100, you can help build the inventory of art supplies to make sure Blackstone students can use their creative minds.
A second grade teacher wants to learn a new, innovative way to teach literacy skills. Send her to a professional development course with your gift of $250.
These are just are few examples of how funds may be used.
On, GIVING TUESDAY, when we all take a moment to give thanks and give back, I hope you think of the 600 students at Blackstone Innovation School. How can you make a gift? Another great question…
To make an unrestricted gift use Paypal or mail to: Friends of Blackstone School, Inc. PO Box 180332 Boston, MA 02118
Still thinking about it? Fair enough. I think you should read what Blackstone’s new principal Danielle Morrissey has to say…
Danielle, as the new principal of Blackstone, what inspires you?
I am so proud of the work our teachers, students and administrators have done in the past four years. Blackstone had a negative reputation and we have worked hard to change the perception of our school community. I am inspired each day by our story….where have been, where we are and of course where we are going.
Tell me more about what has occurred in the past four years. You sound very hopeful.
Blackstone was considered one of the city’s most underperforming schools. We benefited greatly from a new vision and an incredible infusion of money, roughly $800,000/year, during the turnaround period. We used these funds to create a longer learning day and to provide 100 additional hours of targeted professional development for our teachers.
So, what happened?
I am very proud to say that with a lot of hard work, dedication and being allowed to try new, innovative practices, Blackstone exited turnaround status in October 2013. In order to maintain the autonomies we had as a turnaround school (longer day, more professional development hours and staffing) we voted to become an Innovation School. The teaching staff at the Blackstone is a remarkable group of people fully committed to the new vision of the School. We focus on curriculum that fits the needs of our students. If something doesn’t work and there is another way, a better way, then we choose the better way. That sort of flexibility, tailoring to our students needs is at the core of what it means be an Innovation School.
So what are the challenges today?
When we exited turnaround status we lost the $800,000 in annual support. This money was used to implement a variety of curriculum supports, additional staffing and partnerships. With less of a budget our fear is not being able to sustain these necessary items in the future. Our students and teachers deserve the opportunity to keep achieving and keep moving forward.
What would you like to say to those people who can help, and how can they help?
Donate, volunteer, in-kind support…we will accept all of it happily. We know that any financial support that Friends of Blackstone School can raise, we will use to
- offer professional development opportunities to our teachers
- purchase educational products for the classroom and curriculum improvement
- sponsor events that nurture the relationship with our parents, student and teachers
- transform our 1970s school building into a space where modern education can thrive.
Why should a business or a neighbor care about the Blackstone Innovation School?
In the early 2000s, a generous community partner went about rebuilding our library. They found in this unused space, a book entitled, “When We Land on the Moon.” If we as a community believe our children deserve neglect, then every problem that we face as a community is all tied to that neglect… every problem. But, if we believe that our children’s education is the basis for a strong community then a neighbor or business owner has the power to make a real difference at the root, the source. I hope people consider this a priority and are willing to make a real difference.