Musical Schools

What is good for one school, might mean death for another: The Votes Are In.

Boston Arts Academy / Fenway High School is the library I volunteer in currently. I plan to do my practicum there in Spring 2013. I’ve already Ok’ed it with their librarian and my head of department. This move could have squashed that idea. Technically, the school librarian there is BAA’s librarian. The space is shared and the resources are shared, yes. This vote will split the two schools. Yes, they will be have more space, which in theory is wonderful. Both are high-performing schools and this means they can accept more students.

However, I’ve seen the Mission Hill school building. I’ve only been as far as their library. The library is currently a one-room, multipurpose space without a proper check-out system or circulation desk. This is the school in my neighborhood. What this article doesn’t address is that not only is the K-8 housed in this three-story building, but New Mission High is ALSO in that building. New Mission High is not accredited, so I guess the Board doesn’t care about them.

The library space in Mission Hill school IS NOT BIG ENOUGH for a high school library.

I don’t know what they plan to do about that. Yes, the current BAA/Fenway shared library is a small space, but it is extremely functional and organized. The Mission Hill school’s current library space is very small and severely lacking in shelves and other permanent features. It would need a lot of work to become a functioning high school library and I don’t think that small room is going to cut it.

I like that BAA is getting more space. I think that arts are important.  I think they’ll need more funding to hire teachers and to rebuild their book collection, since half is owned by Fenway (oooo, collection opportunity, a librarian’s happy dream).

I like the theory that Fenway will be getting more space. I think the teachers and students I’ve met at Fenway are wonderful and they can continue on being high-performing, as long as they are given funding to hire new teachers to handle the influx of students and funding to create a new library space (and hire a new librarian… hmm… I wonder if this move can wait til late 2013).

I don’t like that Mission Hill K-8 has to move to JP. Many of the kid who go there currently can walk to school. Plus, Mission Hill is a really safe neighborhood. However, I think that if the building they are being moved to is cleaned and renovated, then they’ll be OK. I also think that they need more funding and more space. The attitude towards the library that Mission Hill seems to have makes me sad. I don’t think that a school can be high-performing without a good library.

Basically, I think the schools will be fine with lots of new funding and new hires and some (serious) renovations for the schools who are moving.

“Fenway High, in its future Mission Hill location, will also receive $3.8 million in facility improvements, including four new science labs, technology upgrades, and a $1.45 million elevator with chair lift.”
$3.8 million? That might just do it. Maybe some of that can go to collection development?

So, Counsilor Ross, stop complaining. “I am personally going to rally my colleagues on the City Council to not fund a penny of this,’’ he said. “I won’t be supporting the School Department’s budget in any way, shape, or form.” The SCHOOLS NEED MONEY, and you’re just being mean by not voting to fund them. I’m sorry your district only has one K-8 now, but the vote has passed. Being mean to the entire school district now will only hurt these high-performing schools, including Mission Hill K-8 (soon to be the Agassiz K-8). They still need funding. Support the kids, not just your neighborhood. You’ll love having the Fenway High students here. They’re smart and willing to learn.

Hey, why didn’t someone suggest moving the Mission Hill K-8 down the hill to the closed Farragut school? That one was just packed up last spring. It’s not too far (literally down the hill). Mission Hill K-8 could have fit there, I bet. No one thought of that, apparently. That may have solved some logistical issues.

My final word (for now):

  • BAA got lucky. They’ll be fine. A few new hires and some money for the library, and they’ll be good to go.
  • Fenway will be OK once the building is renovated and some new hires are made. Plus a complete rebuild of the library.
  • Mission Hill K-8… I agree with the principal: “Gavins said it would “make this feel like a gift’’ if the grounds, interior, and windows of the Agassiz were greatly improved.” Do it, Boston. Do it for the kids.
  • Councilor Ross needs to support the funding. His ideas got shot down, there’s no point in punishing the students.

Further reading:

http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/school/fenway-high-school

http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/school/boston-arts-academy

http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/school/mission-hill-k-8-school

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