With English High School students gathered in a packed gym, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that boosts investment in public schools by $1.5 billion annually over the next seven years. Baker was joined by numerous elected officials and business leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Annissa Essaibi-George, and more on Nov. 26. The Student Opportunity Act will particularly provide new funding to school districts with high percentages of low-income students and English Language learners who often live in some of the highest-need communities. “This is a monumental moment for the future of our Commonwealth.
The last time I visited a Congressional office, I sat at the knee of the Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. He gave me a Celtics pennant, which (rumor had it) was given to him by Red Auerbach following the Celtics championship run earlier that year. It was 1986, and I was eight years old. This past March, I returned to Capitol Hill with my Boston School Committee colleague, Jamaica Plain native Michael O’Neill, and representatives from the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the city of Boston to ask our representatives and senators to preserve federal funding for our schools. Boston, like many other large urban districts around the country, has faced declining federal revenue streams during the last several years.
Jamaica Plain's Craig Martin has been named the Thomas C. Passios Elementary Principal of the Year from the Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association. Martin has been the principal of the Michael J. Perkins School in South Boston since the 2013-14 school year, will also represent the Commonwealth in the National Distinguished Principal Program, sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, in Washington, D.C., in October. “I am greatly honored and humbled to be named Massachusetts Elementary Principal of the Year,” said Martin via a press release. “The students at the Perkins School have made tremendous strides, and it could not have happened without the growth of positive relationships and teamwork between the students, teachers, families, and administration.”
Leadership reflects attitude and Martin's attitude has filtered into Perkins' students, as they have demonstrated steady gains in performance during Martin’s leadership. One example is that Latino students and English Learners at the school surpassed the state average for these groups in English language arts and mathematics in this year MCAS.
Michael Loconto was elected chairperson of the Boston Public School Committee in the beginning of 2018. As a parent of three school-age children he has a keen perspective of the school system. He answered questions from Jamaica Plain News about library services for schools, his relationship with Mayor Martin Walsh and more. Q: Let's get some basics out of the way. You live in West Roxbury with your wife and three school-age kids?