By Seth Daniel
Supt. Mary Bourque called on faculty and staff from around the district at her annual breakfast on Monday, Aug. 28, to lead students, families and the district to social justice.
“We are a district committed to ongoing improvement on behalf of our students and as such we have four schools implementing Turnaround Plans this year and five schools implementing Accelerated Improvement Plans,” she said. “We believe we can do better for our students and these plans are a reflection of where we will work to do a better job in the coming year. This is social justice… Our profession of education is one of leadership and service—service to young people and service to the next generation. Our work is about building the future. Our profession of ‘urban’ education is one of social justice. We open the doors of opportunity for our students.”
Her comments come one year after unveiling a new five-year plan for the district at last year’s breakfast.
A good part of her speech detailed some of the goals that have been met.
One major accomplishment laid out last year was the ability to get computers in the hands of students and to use them to focus on the new trend of student-centered learning. This year, she said a major part of that goal of getting computers – or one-to-one technology – has been accomplished.
“We expanded our technology initiative and proudly boast that we now have one-to-one devices in grades 2-12,” said Bourque.
Other initiatives achieved and pointed out in the plan included:
- We expanded our Caminos dual enrollment program at the ELC and will continue to expand annually.
- We continue to build the internal and external pipelines and career ladders for future teachers and administrators with our partnerships with Lesley, Endicott, and Harvard Colleges to name a few.
- At Chelsea High School (CHS) the district successfully initiated the biliteracy credential and 11 graduating seniors received the award upon graduation in June.
- At CHS, Advance Placement scores show a 4 percent increase in qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5 from 32 percent last year to 36 percent of AP tests administered this year.
Another major achievement she pointed out was the growth in the dual enrollment program with Bunker Hill Community College.
She said in 2017, CHS graduates earned 1,162 college credits equaling 385 courses during their years at CHS and while working on their high school diploma.
“That was a savings of over $200,000 on college tuition and fees and over $50,000 on books,” she said. “Does anyone doubt that we will be offering a pathway for students to complete their Associate’s Degree at the same time they are receiving their high school diploma from Chelsea High by June 30, 2021? Let us be the first high school in the State to offer this pathway.”
Going back to her theme of social justice, Bourque said the times are very uncertain, and with teachers and staff in the Chelsea Schools leading on a social justice mission, they are also leading in accordance with the district’s mission.
“Our foundational beliefs center around our mission statement: ‘We welcome and educate ALL students,’” she said. “This is social justice in action, to welcome and educate– inclusive of all– to seek equity in educational opportunities for career and college success for each and every student…
“As a school system, our goal remains to ensure all of our students graduate with the skills, confidence, and habits of mind they need to be successful in college, career, and life,” she continued. “We have no misplaced compassion for our students. We hold them to the same standards of excellence as all other students in our State of Massachusetts are held to. This is Chelsea Public Schools’ social justice.”