Monday, March 20, 2017

What is Worth $1 Million? – Have You Heard

What is Worth $1 Million? – Have You Heard:

What is Worth $1 Million?

A middle school serving some of Boston’s most vulnerable students faces a $1 million budget cut. Teacher Adina Schecter reflects on what that says about the city and its priorities…
By Adina Schecter
It is 6:45am and I’ve just pulled into the parking lot of the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, MA.  I can already hear our sixth, seventh and eighth graders entering the building, their chattering voices somewhere between childhood and adulthood. This morning, like every morning, the staff at the McCormack—teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and City Year corps members—are lined up outside to greet each student individually. Once inside, students make their way to the cafeteria for a hot breakfast. Many of them depend on our school for two meals a day. The staff at the McCormack understands that the best way to get our students ready to learn is to make sure they have food in their bellies and personal attention from an adult who cares.  
But the McCormack, a traditional Boston Public School that serves a diverse group of middle school students, faces a budget reduction of more than a million dollars next year.  We have serious concerns about our school’s fate.  Already lacking the resources to meet the complex needs of our students, my colleagues and I now fear for the survival of our school community, and for our students who are losing high-quality teachers and programs.
Perhaps there are many schools that look like ours in the early morning, but our school is increasingly unique in this day and age: we will take any child who comes to us. There is no lottery for admission; no application to complete.  Our students are low-income students.  Over 90% receive free or reduced lunch. And in a highly-segregated district, we are one of most diverse middle schools, with a student body that is 55% Latino, 32% African-American, 7% Asian and 5% white. Twenty-five percent of our students receive special education services, ranging from push-in support in regular education classrooms to intensive reading intervention to highly specialized support for students with emotional impairments. Forty-percent are English Language Learners, many of them newcomers who arrived in the country within the last year. New arrivals whose formal education has been interrupted find a home in our SIFE program. We take (Panther) pride in our students, whether they need help learning What is Worth $1 Million? – Have You Heard:
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