Supt. Brenda Cassellius this week presented a capital budget and BuildBPS update to the Boston School Committee, proposing a plan to provide clearer pathways for students, build five new schools, and significantly upgrade current school buildings – including a major renovation and repurposing of the Clearance Edwards Middle School in Charlestown.
The Edwards is slated to close on June 17 at the end of this school term.
The guiding principles for the updated plan are to achieve equitable access to educational opportunities and programs; provide excellent buildings that promote health, enhance learning, and motivate students; and ensure predictability and transparency in the district’s facilities master planning process.
“This hopeful vision for the future of BPS is a huge shift in the way we plan for our students’ education,” said Superintendent Cassellius. “We are stating now and for the future that our students will learn in 21st century classrooms and know with certainty how their education will progress for their entire time in BPS. As a district, we owe it to our students and their families to be upfront and transparent in our planning. This proposal moves us closer to earning the trust of our community and providing our students the learning environments they deserve.”
Superintendent Cassellius presented the proposal as part of the ongoing BuildBPS educational and facilities master plan, a 10-year, $1 billion vision for transforming all school buildings into learning environments where students access the teaching and support services they need to be successful. BPS will continue its family and community engagement through October when the Superintendent will provide additional updates to the plan and request votes from the Committee. Meetings are shared on the BPS website.
For Charlestown, the Edwards is one of four major school renovations outlined in the plan – a plan that hinges on transforming other schools throughout the city. Following the approved closure of the Edwards Middle School at the end of the 2020-21 school year, the current merger of the BCLA-McCormack 7-12, and the proposed closures of the Irving and Timilty schools at the end of the 2021-22 school year, all three middle school buildings will be renovated as part of the long-term strategy to provide clear, predictable educational pathways for students and their families;
The five new schools to be built are in Allston/Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston and Roxbury, as well as a new school for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
In addition to adding seats through major construction projects, BPS will engage school communities to explore options for creating additional seats through reconfigurations of K-8 schools for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond. Creating predictable, clear educational pathways from early childhood through high school includes graduating students prepared for college, career and life. BPS will continue its work to reimagine the secondary school experience by partnering with BPS heads of school to establish a foundation for high school quality as part of high school redesign, and will propose a plan to the Committee in Fall 2021.