"The Common Core in my Classroom: A Teacher's View". Teaching Policy Fellow, Catherine Tighe, shares her experience with the Common Core.
"Boston Teacher Praises New Hiring Policy". Teaching Policy Fellow, Caroline Corcoran, shares her thoughts on Boston Public School's new hiring policy.
"Measuring School Quality: A Perspective from Boston Teachers". Teaching Policy Fellows share their recommendations for Boston Public Schools' measures of school quality.
Receive information regarding T3 application availability and deadlines.
Survey: Today’s teaching force is less experienced, more open to change
By Jackie Mader
Hechinger Report, October 23, 2012
Teacher-Leader Corps Helps Turn Around Schools
By Stephen Sawchuck
Education Week, April 20, 2011
New Teachers are the New Majority
By Celine Coggins & Heather Peske
Education Week, January 19, 2011
Lesson Plan in Boston Schools: Don’t Go It Alone
By Mike Winerip
New York Times, August 8, 2010
Boston Cohort Four
Mattahunt ElementaryThe Mattahunt School, located in the heart of Mattapan Square in Boston, is full of promise. The rich learning community serves 700 Pre-K – Grade 5 students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, including a large number of students of Haitian decent. The school is newly renovated, home to a breathtaking library, and will begin a renewed focus on student-centered learning.
Dever-McCormack K-8The Dever-McCormack, located in Dorchester, serves 1300 children from grade K1 to grade 8. It is an Extended Learning Day school.
Principal Statement and Bio Coming Soon!
Fall River Cohort One
Carlton Viveiros ElementaryThe Carlton M. Viveiros Elementary School is an extended learning time school that serves 730 students in grades K through 5.
Henry Lord Middle SchoolLocated in the southern part of Fall River, Henry Lord Middle school serves 500 students in grade 6-8.
View Principal Statements and Bios
Meg Christ – Viveiros Elementary
The Carlton M. Viveiros Elementary School is a K-5 extended learning time school that offers enrichment programs to all students, and additional time for instruction in core content areas. Viveiros’ brand new, state-of-the-art facility and focus on quality instruction are central in meeting the needs of its diverse student population.
Associate Principal Bio:
Danielle Costa joined the administrative team at the C.M. Viveiros Elementary School in 2011. Danielle grew up in Fall River and is a graduate of the Fall River Public Schools. She started her career teaching at Bristol Community College and in Special Education. In 1997, she was hired by the Fall River Public Schools as a School Adjustment Counselor. She remained in this position for ten years before becoming an Assistant Principal in the Westport Community Schools for the past five years. She finally returned to Fall River last April to begin her new position as the Associate Principal at Viveiros. Danielle graduated from the University of Massachusetts with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Psychology; she earned her Master degree in Social Work from Boston University and is currently writing her dissertation for her Doctorate from Northeastern University in Educational Leadership.
Sherry Biss – Henry Lord Middle School
Students at Henry Lord learn to be critical thinkers, responsible citizens and literate communicators who possess strong interpersonal skills and self-confidence. Henry Lord students gain both academic skills and character growth through their exposure to a rich curriculum. The school’s goal is to establish a shared set of values and model behavior that we consider desirable to achieve the school goals. Uniformly, the Henry Lord community shares a belief that every student has untapped potential for growth and development, along with profound hope about the future of each student. Through empowering and encouraging others there are no limits to student success. Henry Lord’s motto – “Every Student, Every Day, No Exceptions, No Excuses” – speaks volumes about the school’s commitment to all students.
Principal Bio:Sherry Biss has dedicated over 25 years to education. Prior to accepting the position as Principal of the Henry Lord Middle School, Ms. Biss served as principal of Jerry Zucker Middle School in Charleston, South Carolina, and also has served as an assistant principal, principal and science teacher in Massachusetts. Ms. Biss has extensive experience in school improvement initiatives specializing in Title I Schools school improvement efforts, including restructuring schools. Her work is founded on sound research and documented best practices such as the Skillful Teacher (Saphier) and differentiated instructional strategies.
As an administrator, Ms. Biss achieved success by raising test scores in reading, mathematics, and writing documented by rigorous state standards in South Carolina and Massachusetts. Her work is predicated on the undying belief that all students can meet with success if provided with sound instruction. As such, she is a teacher of teachers and often provides staff with model lessons, instructional insights, and relevant professional development. As an educator, Ms. Biss understands the need to develop and maintain professional relationships with staff, students and the community. Moreover, she advocates for “all” students, respects teachers and honors all staff. She believes in teamwork and her leadership style is firmly rooted in “modeling” the standards and expectations necessary to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all. Ms. Biss is also committed to working with the parents, businesses and community leaders in order to make Henry Lord a success.
Ms. Biss, a life-long learner, has earned the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Education, Masters in Education and a C.A.G.S. in Educational Leadership & Management. She has a Professional Certificate from the MA. Department of Education in the area of School Principal (PreK-6, 6-8) and a Professional Certificate from the S.C. Department of Education in the area of School Principal (Prek-8).
Boston Cohort Three
John P. Holland ElementaryHolland Elementary School is located at 85 Olney Street in Dorchester, MA and serves more than 770 students in grades PreK – 5.
Mario Umana Academy (K-8)Mario Umana Academy is a richly diverse school, with students from more than 40 different countries. The Umana serves approximately 650 K – 8th grade students in East Boston, Massachusetts.
The Sarah Greenwood K-8 SchoolThe Sarah Greenwood is a “dual language” school, offering students the opportunity to learn in Spanish and English. The Sarah Greenwood School serves approximately 380 PreK – 8th grade students in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
View Principal Statements and Bios
Alexandra Montes McNeil – Mario Umana Academy (K-8)
At the Umana, the expectation is that all students – regardless of learning or language barriers – will succeed academically and socially. The Umana Mission Statement articulates that expectation: The mission of the Mario Umana Academy is to provide students with a rigorous student-centered curriculum that is integrated across subject areas in a safe, respectful learning environment where all community members work together to enable our students to become life-long learners and productive members of society.
As one of four BPS schools with an expanded day schedule, which adds 10 additional hours to the school week, the Umana is able to offer a wide array of enrichment opportunities and experiential learning including additional support/classes in Math, ELA and ESL for students needing that help. Community partners also provide programs in dance, music, sports and engineering and include Boston Ballet, Zumix, Tenacity, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Waypoint Adventure, and the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists. Assessment data from the Achievement Network (ANET) and district assessments is regularly analyzed to monitor and impact student academic achievement. In addition, school meetings are characterized by open conversation and sharing and by the explicit expectation that each staff member has ownership of his/her ideas and responsibilities to the school. Building on the foundation of emerging teacher leadership through ILT development/participation and cluster facilitation, T3 teacher leaders will have many opportunities for demonstrating their leadership abilities.
Alexandra Montes McNeil is in her third year as the principal of the Mario Umana Academy, which recently became a K - 8 school. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she was taught as a child that education can never be taken from you and creates opportunities, particularly in difficult times; like many of her students, Ms. Montes McNeil’s first language was Spanish. She graduated from MIT with a Bachelor’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, from Boston College with a Master’s in Education and from Cambridge College with a CAGS in School Administration. Ms. Montes McNeil worked for 12 years at Boston Latin School as a physics teacher, the Science Program Director, and Assistant Headmaster. She also worked at the Gavin and Timilty Middle Schools.
Alexander Matthews – The Sarah Greenwood K-8 School
The Sarah Greenwood is using formative assessment school-wide to engage parents and students in specific learning goals and to help teachers target specific students and their needs. We are sharing data with family and students by skills understandable to all rather than by numbers, percents or letters that don’t describe what students should DO about their data. “Skill reports” in Spanish and English are issued every 6-8 weeks so families can easily track progress—and do something to help their children.
Teachers use data K1-8th grade to create a data action plan, with specific dates, times, lessons and accompanying resources. Each faculty member shares this plan with his or her colleagues in a shared spreadsheet. This allows faculty to find colleagues struggling with similar student skill gaps, leading to sharing of effective intervention plans. Teacher use of data and the creation of data action plans spans all grades and subjects including PE, dance, Spanish, math, English, etc.
School-wide use of academic data leads to decisions in ILT by school staff around professional development, curriculum, and assessment. Non-academic data (around specific subject areas, discipline, attendance, etc.) provides the foundation for smart decisions that impact the school community. All captured data—from district tests, assessments using the clickers, and data-tracking sheets is merged to create a customized family letter every six to eight weeks. This data describes strengths and weaknesses so that people involved in the life of the student—and the student too—are better equipped to enact intervention, offer enrichment, or simply monitor progress.
Principal Bio:Alexander Mathews served as principal of the Patrick F. Gavin Middle School. Prior to that position, he was assistant principal at South Boston High School and Lawrence High School. Mr. Mathews taught in Lynn and New York City prior to coming to Boston Public Schools. Mr. Mathews holds a B.A. from Columbia University and masters degrees from Harvard University and Hunter College in New York City.
Boston Cohort Two
Henry Dearborn Middle SchoolThe Henry Dearborn Middle School is one of 12 turnaround schools identified in Superintendent Carol Johnson's "Acceleration Agenda" for Boston Public Schools. It serves approximately 380 6th-8th grade students in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood with plans to expand into a 6-12 STEM school.
Roger Clap Innovation SchoolThe Clap Elementary School closed its doors in June 2011 and reopened in September 2011 as the Roger Clap Innovation School. The new school is led by principal Justin Vernon and serves preK-5th grade in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
View Principal Statements and Bios
Jose Duarte – Dearborn Middle School
The staff at the Dearborn Middle School are devoted to creating strong academic programs and maintaining a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students. In addition to academic classes, each student receives targeted academic enrichment and participates in an activity of their choice. Student resources include SES tutoring, Exam School test prep, and Stepping Stone Academy. Special programs including a partnership with the Museum of Science, a community service curriculum, and an eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. ensure that learning is not confined to the classroom. With an extended school day, numerous student support services and an emphasis on school-wide results, the Dearborn aims to put every student on the path to achievement.
Principal Bio:Jose Duarte was appointed principal of the Dearborn Middle School in 2009 after serving as Headmaster of The English High School for many years. Mr. Duarte began his career in BPS leadership while serving as assistant principal at the Umana-Barnes Middle School and later as principal of the Grover Cleveland Middle School. He went on to serve as a cluster leader, participating on the Superintendent’s Leadership Team. Mr. Duarte earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree from Eastern Nazarene College.
Justin Vernon - Roger Clap Innovation School
The mission of the Roger Clap Innovation School is to ensure that every student, regardless of his/her socio-economic, linguistic and academic history is educated to the highest level through a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum. Furthermore, the Roger Clap Innovation School will educate students to become knowledgeable of, civically engaged in, and involved in the service of their school, the local community, and the global community while being at the forefront of educational innovations and preparing its students for the demands of tomorrow’s world. The staff at Roger Clap Innovation School will meet these goals by utilizing 30 additional minutes of instruction time every day and 50 additional hours of professional development time throughout the year. Data-based inquiry will drive instruction and all teachers will have the opportunity to create new and innovative curriculum for the benefit of their students.
Justin Vernon served as the Principal at the Farragut Elementary School and at the Edwards Middle School. Prior to those positions, Mr. Vernon was the Assistant Principal at the Edison Middle School and a Principal Intern at the Harbor School. Before entering into school administration, he taught Math, Science, and exploratory Spanish in both Gaston, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado. Mr. Vernon holds a bachelor¹s degree in Environmental Science from Allegheny College and a master¹s degree in school administration from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. During the 2008-2009 school year, Mr. Vernon completed the district¹s Instructional Leadership Institute course.
Boston Cohort One
Blackstone Elementary SchoolThe Blackstone is located at 380 Shawmut Avenue in Boston’s South End and serves just over 600 students in grades PreK – 5.
Orchard GardensOrchard Gardens is a K – 8 pilot school serving about 670 students at 906 Albany St. in the Orchard Gardens neighborhood in Roxbury.
Trotter Elementary SchoolThe Trotter is located at 135 Humboldt Avenue in Dorchester and serves about 390 students in grades K – 5.
View Principal Statements and Bios
Cynthia Paris Jeffries– Blackstone Elementary School
My inspiration to become a school leader came after the birth of my daughter Mia in 2003. Through motherhood I found solidarity with the lifelong struggle of parents to create a better world for our children. When making decisions that impact student learning I ask myself, “is this good enough for my own daughter?” If the answer is no, then I work hard with integrity and humanity to turn the answer into a yes for every child. Transforming as school does not come without challenges. The opportunity to work at the Blackstone with a talented, passionate and committed faculty is the winning combination necessary to transform our school. Our vision is to provide a dynamic, rigorous and fun education for every student each day.
Cynthia began her urban teaching and learning career in the Boston Public Schools in 1996. Cynthia serves as the Principal of the Blackstone Elementary where she leads bold efforts to transform the school's chronically underperforming status. Prior to that, Cynthia served as the Principal of the Curtis Guild Elementary where she successfully led data-driven improvement efforts that increased student achievement. Cynthia earned a Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from MGH Institute of Health Professions and Master’s in school administration from University Of Massachusetts, Boston.
Andrew Bott – Orchard Gardens
I have never been so excited to be a part of Boston Public Schools as I am now. Opening only seven years ago, Orchard Gardens has struggled from the very beginning. While the student mobility rate is low, approximately fifty percent of the school staff turns over each year. Additionally, there is extremely high turnover in school administration – I will be the sixth principal in eight years. Because of this, the students and families at Orchard Gardens have never had the consistency and focused school vision that are necessary for both students and a school to thrive. As a result, the failure rate on the MCAS exam is one of the highest not only in Boston Public Schools but also across the Commonwealth. Through the time I have spent in the school, I also know that the students are like all students in Boston -- truly amazing. Despite the continual turnover, the hallways are quiet and common spaces are calm. Orchard Gardens also has the most impressive school facility in Boston. While this will be hard work, I firmly believe that the turnaround at Orchard Gardens will be both fast and significant. This will take the dedication of an experienced teaching staff willing to come together to lead this work. In just a few short years, we will become one of the highest performing schools in Boston Public Schools.
I have had many professional experiences that I believe will serve me well at Orchard Gardens. Prior to coming to Boston, I taught bilingual Spanish 5th and 6th grade classes in the Houston Independent School District. In Boston I completed a one year principal training program at the Hernandez K-8 School and have spent the past ten years working in Boston. I have served as the principal of both the Mather Elementary School and the Rogers Middle School.
I believe the key to success is a common vision, embraced by the entire professional staff of a school. With this common vision, I believe teacher leadership and professional flexibility are the keys to success. As teams, teachers must have the flexibility to make professional decisions about curriculum, lesson planning, assessment analysis, student support, and intervention services in order to truly turn around student performance. Most importantly, however, I believe that a successful staff must have fun working together and be willing to support one another through all aspects of this challenging work.
Andrew Bott became principal of Orchard Gardens K-8 in 2010. He served as principal of the Rogers Middle School from 2006-2010, where he increased student achievement through initiatives such as Grade 8 Algebra. Prior to that, he served as principal of the Mather Elementary School for several years. Mr. Bott has been with BPS since 1999, serving as an Administrative Intern at the Rafael Hernandez School and then as assistant principal at the Charles Sumner School. Prior to coming to the BPS, he taught bilingual education with the Houston Independent School District. Mr. Bott received his Master's Degree in Education from Harvard and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Rice University.
Mairead Nolan – Trotter Elementary School
Vision for the Trotter School
The vision of the Trotter School is to create a learning community where students, families, educators and the community work together to develop, ensure and inspire the social-emotional growth and academic excellence of all of our students. We will continue creating a peaceful school climate where we treat one another with kindness and respect.
I have never been more excited be a principal in the Boston Public Schools! Being named a Turnaround School will provide us with the opportunities and flexibilities to create a school of excellence.
As a principal of both the Joyce Kilmer K-8 School and the William M. Trotter School, I have supported teachers in creating high-performing collaborative teams that increased student performance and worked with parents to build a strong welcoming community. I also served for four years as Director of Instruction for the Rafael Hernandez Two-Way Bilingual School and taught for seven years in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools and in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
I believe that the primary role of the principal is to serve as an instructional leader. The principal must also create the conditions that enable highly effective teaching and learning to occur, including creating a school of joy.
I am looking forward to continuing to work with deeply committed teachers who form relationships with students and families, who believe fully that students can be proficient learners and who bring a sense of humor and hope to this challenging and wonderful work.
Mairead Nolan of Jamaica Plain has served as principal of the Trotter since 2008. Prior to that, she was the principal of the Joyce Kilmer K-8 School for six years, where she supported teachers in creating high-performing collaborative teams that increased student performance and worked with parents to build a strong welcoming community. Previously, Ms. Nolan served for four years as Director of Instruction for the Rafael Hernandez Two-Way Bilingual School. She taught for seven years in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools and in the Republic of the Marshal Islands. She earned a Bachelor's degree from The Catholic University of America and a Master's degree from Harvard's Graduate School of Education.