Embarking on the beginnings of her 100-day tour of every building, and many partners, in the district, Supt. Brenda Cassellius stopped at Charlestown High School on Sept. 17 for an elongated tour of the facility – while also making quick stops at the Warren-Prescott, Harvard-Kent and Edwards Middle.
Cassellius has taken the unique step of going all-out in visiting every facility in the district before making any recommendations for the BuildBPS initiative this coming January.
At a meeting in East Boston for Charlestown and Eastie, she said she wasn’t going to be the kind of superintendent who sits in the central office and makes key decisions without knowing places.
“That’s the goal to get to all of them,” she said on Thursday. “It won’t be two years that I’m your superintendent and haven’t been to every building. It’s three months. It’s killing me, but it’s positive.”
At another meeting last week, she said her visits are about evaluating the facilities in preparation for plans that will start in January.
“I’m going on a 100-day tour,” she said. “It’s not about visiting for academic structures, but rather to get a sense of the place and the resources within the neighborhoods of Boston. I’m new to Boston and thank all of you for the warm welcome. When I talk about the Condon, the Mattahunt, the Excel School or the Blackstone School, I don’t know where they’re at in Boston. It is meant to go out to these places and understand their place and have a sense of their history in the community.”
And that was just what she did at Charlestown High School on Sept. 17.
Principal William Thomas and a cadre of school leaders accompanied Cassellius through the entire building so she could get an idea of what the classrooms look like, and what the amenities were at the high school.
She visited several classrooms, the newly-formed music department, the student café and the gymnasium.
At one point, while touring a special needs classroom, a disabled student using a walker veered from the walker to give Cassellius a hug.
It was a moving moment for the new superintendent.
Principal Thomas said he was encouraged by the visit, and that the superintendent took so much time to learn about the school.
“I think it was great to have the superintendent come in and see everything happening at Charlestown High School,” he said. “We are proud of our accomplishments, our Pathways programs and our music department. I’ve been here seven years and the culture has changed. I think she understands these things and we look forward to talking with her more to improve Charlestown High School.”
Cassellius has several more visits planned to Charlestown.
She is scheduled to visit the Harvard Kent on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m., for a Community Conversation with Access 4 All Charlestown.
She will be touring the Eliot School Upper and Lower campuses on Dec. 5.