Blackstone Elementary School

The William Blackstone Elementary School is a Boston Public School in the South End neighborhood serving 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.  The school provides an emotionally safe environment that supports the entire school community while delivering a high quality education.  The African term UBUNTU, adopted by the Blackstone community, permeates the school and energizes children and adults — “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

Officially designated an Innovation School by the state in 2013, the Blackstone School has undergone a dramatic improvement process since it was classified as a turnaround school in 2010.  Today, the inside of the school is a bright and cheerful place where children and teachers are strongly engaged in learning.  The Blackstone teachers and staff are building deep, broad capacity to sustain transformation for the long-term by increasing the consistency of “impressive” instruction and working in partnership with students, families, staff, and partner organizations to promote attendance, positive behavior, social-emotional wellness, and learning.  The outstanding performance speaks for itself.  In 2012, the school exceeded 13 of its 14 academic performance targets.

Some Facts about the Blackstone School

Demographics

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.  Due to the hard work and commitment of Blackstone staff and families, our English Language Learners (ELL) now outperform the district and state on 4 out of 5 measures.
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 children qualify for the free lunch program
  • Slightly more than 1 out of 5 children receive special education services

Curriculum and Assessments

When Blackstone was designated as a turnaround school, Blackstone was able to implement critical academic and social supports that enhanced student learning.

  • Open Circle – a social and emotional program designed to help build safe, caring and respectful learning environments
  • Achievement Network – a system designed to strengthen the school-wide practice and culture of using learning standards and achievement data to get breakthrough results for students
  • Playworks – an organization that works within the school to increase regular opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play
  • Writer’s Express – a writing curriculum used in the first to fifth grades, that empowers students with the skills, practice, and feedback needed to become effective writers

Support and Wrap-Around Services

The Blackstone is on the fast-track towards improvement because of its focus on making sure that children have what they need in order to be successful.

  • The school has hired additional support staff, including a Director of Accelerated Improvement, a Student Support Specialist and a Resource teacher at each grade to fast-track student progress
  • The school offers Early Childhood classes for 3 and 4 year olds
  • The school is one of two elementary schools in Boston that can accommodate students with multiple disabilities and has three classes for these children
  • The South End Community Health Center recently opened a state-of-the-art health center in the school providing health and wellness care to students and their families