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Educating Boston

Mayor Menino believes that ensuring access to quality education for Boston residents is not only an economic necessity but also a basic right for our young people and all who seek to learn and grow.

When the prestigious Broad Foundation recognized Boston with its top prize  for progress by a major urban school system, it highlighted a legacy of Mayor Menino’s tremendous success supporting the Boston Public Schools, its students, families, and its teachers and staff. Thanks to the Mayor’s progressive educational programming, attendance and graduation numbers have increased in Boston especially among the minority community. The graduation rate for African-Americans is up 5.4%, and English language learners are up 6.2% from last year, outpacing statewide gains in this area.
Mayor Menino’s educational leadership spurred the creation of full-day kindergarten for five year olds and pilot schools for students of all ages, such as the Boston Arts Academy, the Young Achievers, Health Careers Academy and Tech Boston, as well as major classroom upgrades and extensive teacher training. The Mayor supports using state-of-the-art technology to advance our school system. That’s why Boston’s was the first major school system in the country to connect fully to the internet.

Working in concert with an appointed, professional School Committee, the Mayor’s distinguished choices for school leadership have received national accolades: led by former Superintendent Thomas Payzant, the city’s school board received national acclaim for school improvement, and now, Carol Johnson, who herself took home the National Alliance of Black School Educators’ “Superintendent of the Year” award.

While the Mayor has left the details of teaching to the Superintendents and their leadership, he has supported their work from City Hall, from capital investment in buildings and technology to the award winning “Boston Schoolyard Initiative,” which replaces concrete play areas with green space.

The Mayor understands the limitations of restricting learning to five or six classroom hours. That’s why he has expanded after-school enrichment programs, beginning with 1998’s Boston 2:00 to 6:00 program.  This year, Mayor Menino also created the Community Learning Initiative, aligning schools, libraries, and community centers  to further enrich our students’ learning experiences. Recognizing the key role good health plays in school success, Mayor Menino pushed for increased nutrition education, removing soda machines and introducing healthy food demonstrations in the schools.

Looking ahead, Mayor Menino aims to double college graduation rates of Boston high school graduates, with special regard to those from non-exam schools, in partnership with local colleges and universities, non-profits, and community and business leaders.  This initiative provides students with remedial academic help as well as financial aid counseling and other supports.

Mayor Menino’s progressive, collaborative approach protects and promotes Boston’s most precious resource: our youth.

Metro: More Charter Schools

Mayor to file legislation to help students receive better educations


Mayor Thomas Menino announced yesterday he will file legislation aimed at transforming the city’s lowest performing public schools into “in-district” charter schools.

In a speech delivered before high-powered executives at the Boston College Citizen Seminar Luncheon, Menino expressed a new-found support for charter schools he hopes will provide flexibility needed at the bottom levels of the education system.

“I am frustrated with the pace of our progress, especially in our low performing schools,” Menino said.

Staff at the new schools would be able to unionize, but no union sign-off is necessary. Flexible work rules would be in place to attract top-notch teachers and school days would be tailored to students’ needs.

If the bill fails to pass, Menino still plans to lift the funding cap on charter schools to allow for more students to enroll, and provide performance pay for teachers who elicit improved results at the lowest performing schools.

Menino has been reluctant to back charter schools in the...

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Last updated Jun 10 2009 12:24 PM

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Video: Mayor calls for lifting charter cap, performance pay

Last updated Jun 09 2009 07:50 PM

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Metro | Mayor: Video games aren’t always for kids

Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched a new campaign Thursday to educate parents on the power of video game ratings at the University of Massachusetts Boston GoKids Center.

Metro ESRB

“Our mission is simple —some video games are for kids, some aren’t,” Menino said in the gym filled with interactive games like “Wii Fit” and “Dance Dance Revolution.” “There are a lot of fun and entertaining games out there, and we want parents to check the ratings and help their children pick the right ones.”

The campaign is the first in the country to partner with the nonprofit Entertainment Software Ratings Board, arming Boston parents with the tools to choose appropriate games for their children.

“Video games have never been easier to be informed about,” said Patricia Vance, president of ESRB, explaining that nine out of 10 times parents are involved in the purchase of their children’s games.

Vance and Menino unveiled the public service announcements showing Menino playing video games with children of various ages and explained...

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Last updated May 29 2009 06:27 PM

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Boston Globe: Boston builds a playground for ALL its kids

Posted by Erica Noonan, Globe West May 21, 2009

Just in time for the summer, Boston will christen a new all-access playground today at Haramabee Park in Dorchester.

The Harambee Boundless park is one of a small, but growing, group of playparks that are designed to be just as fun for kids with limited mobility and/or wheelchairs.

The new parks -- there are several around the state -- have easier-to-navigate surfaces, so that even kids who don't climb easily can get to the elevated parts. They also offer swings with better back support, waist-high sand tables, and better communal spaces where kids of all levels can gather to play side-by-side.

Mayor Thomas Menino is scheduled to turn out for the 11 a.m. event, along with local families and the folks from CVS Caremark's All Kids Can program which donated $250,000 to the project.

There are already similar all-access playgrounds in Waltham, Fairhaven Pittsfield, New Bedford, Longmeadow and West Dennis. Parents in Sudbury are in the process of building one now.

While we're on the topic, here's a another list of fun universal access parks, trails and sports activities for kids (and adults) of all abilities from the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Got other tips for good spots or fun stuff for differently-abled kids? Leave us a comment here at Moms Are Talking About or email me at enoonan@globe.com

Last updated May 21 2009 12:08 PM

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