New K-6 School Near Jackson Square a Possibility in BuildBPS; JP Meeting on Jan. 10

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The Boston Public Schools has released a new report about the city's 10-year facilities plan, which includes the possibility of building a new K-6 elementary school building near Jackson Square.

The Boston Public School's previously announced the BuildBPS plan, which calls for some old schools to close, new schools to be built, and other schools to expand, including growing the amount of K-6 schools. Jamaica Plain's Manning School wants to be one of the schools to add a sixth grade.

There will be a JP BuildBPS community meeting on Jan. 10 to discuss the $1 billion plan. It will be the fourteenth community meeting across the city to discuss the plan, with the first 13 having already taken place before Nov. 30. Previously, it was announced that the School Committee is expected to take a vote on aspects of the plan in early December.

The biggest impact of the plan to the JP area is for a potential new K-6 elementary building on the border of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, near Jackson Square. If a building were built, current BPS schools, or multiple schools would be encouraged to go through the application process to relocate into the building. For schools to move into the building they would agree to district requirements that the school must offer for students with special needs and English learners.

The newly released report said the John F. Kennedy School and Mendell would be among the list of schools eligible to apply to move into a new building in the area. They would also expand to K-6.

Statistically, the new BuildBPS plan says there are enough elementary seats in the Jamaica Plain/Mission Hill area to serve students from the area presently enrolled in BPS.

But the plan says all BPS middle schools need to be reconfigured because of the schools' declining enrollment in recent years. BPS says that enrollment in the district's six middle schools has declined by about 1,800 students in the past six years. With that in mind, schools would move from serving grades 6-8 to be K-6, 7-12 or K-8/9-12. This reconfiguration would also reduce the times that students must transition between schools, which would provide more stability and familiarity between students and staff.

There are five BPS high schools in the JP and Mission Hill area, and only English High School has the space to expand to 7-12, as it currently serves grades 9-12. There are no immediate proposals to add grades 7 and 8, but discussing the possibility of adding the grades is something that BPS leadership would like to entertain, according to Phase II of BuildBPS.

The BuildBPS plan was initially announced on Oct. 19th when Boston Public School Interim Superintendent Laura Perille provided a letter to students, families, teachers and staff about BuildBPS, a 10-year educational and facilities plan for the district.

One component of the plan met with pushback was the proposed closure of two school facilities: the West Roxbury Educational Complex that houses the West Roxbury Academy and the Urban Science Academy at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, and the McCormack Middle School at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, which would be reconfigured into a 7-12 middle/high school.

The Jamaica Plain meeting is scheduled to take place at English High School from 6 to 8 pm.

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