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Superintendent Johnson's Back-to-School Letter to Parents

On Oct. 4 there will be an Improving School Choice meeting at the Ohrenberger School. There will be 11 neighborhood meetings starting Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.

(Editor's note: The following is an email sent out by Boston Public Schools from Superintendent Carol Johnson.) 

Dear BPS family, 

Welcome back to school! We hope you had a wonderful summer - especially the 11,000 students who participated in our expanded summer academic programs. As we welcome you back to the classroom we are pleased to let you know that for the first time, BPS is offering free breakfast for all students in every school

Last spring and summer we asked how we can improve school choice and student assignment. More than 2,300 people from every corner of Boston offered great suggestions. Now, our team is using these ideas to develop several new school assignment possibilities, which we expect to share at a meeting of the External Advisory Committee on School Choice on September 24. This meeting will also be broadcast on city cable.  

This will kick off a community engagement process that runs from late September through December called "Building Better Options Together." We will hold 11 community meetings to share our ideas with you and hear your thoughts: 

Thursday, Sept. 27 (6pm-8:30pm): Burke High School
60 Washington St., Dorchester (Haitian Creole, Spanish, Somali interpretation)

Saturday, Sept. 29 (10:30am-1pm): East Boston High School
86 White St., East Boston (Spanish interpretation) 

Sunday, Sept. 30 (1:30pm-4pm): Teen Center at St. Peter's
278 Bowdoin St., Dorchester (Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Vietnamese interpretation)

Monday, Oct. 1 (6pm-8:30pm): Jackson/Mann K-8 School
40 Armington St., Allston (Cantonese, Portuguese, Spanish interpretation)

Tuesday, Oct. 2 (6pm-8:30pm): Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
75 Malcolm X Boulevard, Roxbury (Somali, Spanish interpretation)

Thursday, Oct. 4 (6pm-8:30pm): Ohrenberger School
175 West Boundary Rd., West Roxbury (Spanish interpretation)

Friday, Oct. 5 (7:30am-10am): Suffolk University
73 Tremont St., Downtown

Tuesday, Oct. 9 (6pm-8:30pm): Mildred Avenue K-8 School
5 Mildred Ave., Mattapan (Haitian Creole, Spanish interpretation)

Wednesday, Oct. 10 (6pm-8:30pm): Charlestown High School
240 Medford St., Charlestown

Thursday, Oct. 11 (6pm-8:30pm): Dever/McCormack School
325 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester (Spanish interpretation)

Friday, Oct. 12 (6pm-8:30pm): Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
38 Ash St., Boston (Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish interpretation)

In addition to these meetings, you will also be able to explore our options and fill out an on-line survey at www.bostonschoolchoice.org. Our team will work with the External Advisory Committee throughout the fall and winter before making a proposal to the School Committee. 

This is an important process and we hope you will be involved. Our shared goal is to create a stronger school choice system - one that puts a priority on letting families attend quality schools closer to home, helps families make the right choices and improves all our schools. 

Let me close with an issue that remains at the top of our agenda: the achievement gap. For decades, many Black and Latino students - especially boys - have quickly fallen behind other students in literacy, mathematics and science. While the Boston Public Schools is seen nationally as a leader in public education and our graduation rate is the highest it has ever been, we must acknowledge that not all of our students are making as much progress as we would like. 

We have launched a major initiative to raise the bar for our Black and Latino families, who make up the vast majority of our students. We are collaborating with researchers and other national experts to help ensure every child will graduate ready for college and career success. 

You look to us to offer challenging classrooms, make sure every child has a talented teacher who cares deeply, and you ask that we treat all students and parents with respect. We look forward to exceeding your expectations. It is our honor to serve you and your children every single day. Thank you for choosing the Boston Public Schools! 

Gratefully, 

Carol R. Johnson 

Superintendent

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