Miren Uriarte (right)

JP Still Represented on School Committee as Uriarte Replaces Martinez

JP's Claudio Martinez stepped down from the School Committee, but another neighborhood Latino leader has taken his place. The city announced Wednesday that Miren Uriarte of UMass Boston will join the board that runs Boston Public Schools. “I’m a mom with a son who graduated from BPS, a longtime member of Boston’s Latino community, and a researcher who has focused on issues faced by English language learners,” Uriarte said in a statement. “I believe in using data and evidence to make informed decisions about policy development. I’m looking forward to bringing these experiences to the School Committee, and working with a great team.”

Cuban-born Uriarte researches how educational policies help — or hinder — Latinos and students learning English.

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JP’s Claudio Martinez Resigns From School Committee

Still from video of Claudio Martinez, executive director of Hyde Square Task Force, describing plans for the former Blessed Sacrament Church. Credit: Chris Helms

Claudio Martinez, perhaps best known in the neighborhood as executive director of Hyde Square Task Force, has stepped down from the School Committee after six years. Martinez wrote in a resignation e-mail that "I need to refocus my time and energy on personal matters that require my attention." (hat-tip to Universal Hub for the document.)

Hyde Square Task Force is ramping up a huge fundraising and renovation effort to transform the former Blessed Sacrament Church into a community center. Martinez, who was traveling on Tuesday, sent an email saying among the highlights of his tenure was his work on the English Language Learners Task Force.

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‘A Space That Will Help Everybody In This Community to Bond Together’

The former Blessed Sacrament Church, empty for a decade, will become a cultural center for Boston and neighborhood hub for Hyde and Jackson squares. That's the vision laid out by Claudio Martinez, executive director of Hyde Square Task Force, the youth development organization that has taken on the enormous task of turning the vacant church back into a vibrant community building. Martinez, in an interview done Saturday while the church was open to public for a mayoral visit, said the building would be used for a variety of uses once renovated. One one hand, as a function hall for neighborhood gatherings like quinceañeras and first-birthday parties. On the other as a civic center with arts programming, talks, debates and movies.

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Inside Blessed Sacrament Church on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Hidden For 10 Years: See Inside Shuttered Blessed Sacrament Church

Thanks to Claudio Martinez of Hyde Square Task Force, the Jamaica Plain News has photos from an exclusive tour of the closed-to-the-public areas of the former Blessed Sacrament Church. While it's been a decade since anyone was baptized or married there, the churchstill dominates Hyde Square. On Saturday the community got a rare chance to see inside. Above is a gallery not only of the striking nave and cupola, all it it richly decorated. But you'll also see several of rooms and a chapel that are off-limits to the public.

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