The transfer of Charlestown High Principal Will Thomas was a shock to many in the community who had come to know the high school, but Councilor Lydia Edwards said the loss of such a good school leader may not be the end, but the beginning of a whole new place in public education for the Town.
Edwards is calling for an Early Education Center (EEC) in Charlestown, as well as a public education pipeline within the Town that would stretch from Early Childhood to high school graduation – and even within that the chance to earn major college credit through dual enrollment at Charlestown High and Bunker Hill Community College.
In a new configuration, she said Charlestown kids could start their education in the neighborhood at age 4, and finish as a high school graduate with an Associate’s Degree without ever having to leave the Town.
“As the Edwards Middle School transitions and we go 7-12 at the high school and the sixth grade with the Harvard Kent and we also get an EEC center, we’re transforming Charlestown education,” she said. “It will be a relief for families so they aren’t pressed at that point to decide to stay or leave the community…It’s exciting to watch us grow.”
She said there is a new diversity in the Town to allow the schools to consolidate in a way that wasn’t possible in the past. She said with the increase in school-age kids, such schools in the Town are necessary.
“Charlestown is at a point where it has the diversity in its three schools,” she said. “I think we’re going to have diverse and incredible, high-quality schools…With an EEC and Kennedy Center, kids can go all the way from there through Charlestown High and get a quality education. Imagine when the Charlestown parents who have dedicated so many resources and so much time to their elementary schools do the same for Charlestown High. It is going to be amazing.”
She said there is no official plan right now for an EEC in Charlestown, but she said she will advocate for it in the re-design discussions this year, and believes there is a good chance it can happen.
“I do know part of the transition is to go from a very young child to high school graduation in Charlestown,” she said. “We need to fill that need. Ultimately, I am of the opinion we’re headed to a better place.”