Tag: Somerville Schools

Students Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday at the ESCS at Edgerly

SOMERVILLE – East Somerville Community School at Edgerly
8 Bonair St., Somerville map

For Paula Atwood’s first grade class, there can never be too much Green Eggs and Ham on Dr. Seuss day. They started the day with green eggs in the cafeteria and finished it with Green Eggs and Ham in the classroom.

Dr. Seuss’ children’s books are a national treasure. The beautiful art and simple stories have a message of fairness, acceptance, and social justice. It is always an honor and a joy to get the opportunity to read along with a group as energetic and engaged as this class. Most of them read right along with me, sometimes before the page was turned!


Ms. Atwood’s first grade class in hats they made themselves

Former East Somerville Community School Students Advocate for a New School at the State House

State House – Boston map
Somerville Journal article

When a three-alarm fire destroyed the East Somerville Community School over the weekend two years ago, hundreds of Somerville children were suddenly left without a school. Although we were all fortunate nobody was hurt in the blaze, the fire left hundreds of children spread across the Somerville school system missing their community school and their friends. This month, a day after the second anniversary of the fire, former students and teachers made their way to the State House to share their personal stories with Somerville legislators and advocate for immediate construction of a new school.

Roughly sixty 8th graders, who have been spread out across Somerville, joined principal Holly Hatch and other Somerville educators. Armed with their recent studies of government, letters to the Governor and legislators, and their personal stories, they gathered in State House Hearing Room B1 and made an impassioned case to fast-track the construction of a new school to replace the one they lost. Seven students and one teacher read their testimony to Representative Denise Provost, Representative Carl Sciortino, myself, and staff from the offices of Senators Patricia Jehlen and Anthony Galluccio.


ESCS student testifies to the Somerville delegation
photo credit: David Gordon, Somerville Journal

The entire delegation was impressed with the poise, courage, and maturity of the speakers and the students in attendance.

After presenting their testimony to the Somerville delegation, the students delivered letters to Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). By establishing an organized coalition of Somerville legislators, educators, and personally affected residents and then targeting the key decision-makers, these 8th graders demonstrated that they have taken their studies of government seriously. This is how effective advocacy works.

The next step will be taken by the MSBA, which will certify the number of enrolled students and determine the scope of the project. It is still uncertain whether the school will be built entirely from scratch or whether sections will be salvaged and updated. The Somerville School system will need to figure out the best use of the money from the MSBA.

Our goal remains the same: we want a safe community school in East Somerville equipped with modern facilities. My office, along with the Somerville delegation, will be in continued talks with Mayor Curtatone and will continue the advocacy work started by these students with the state and the MSBA.

Their visit also included a guided tour of the State House and photos in front of the golden dome and at the Grand Staircase.

photo credit: David Gordon, Somerville Journal

FY 2009 Local Aid for Cambridge and Somerville

In the Fiscal Year 2009 State Budget approved by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor, both Cambridge and Somerville saw increases in the amount of aid that they receive from the state. There are three types of assistance that cities and towns receive from the state:

1. Chapter 70 funding. The Chapter 70 program is the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools.
2. Additional Assistance.
3. Lottery Aid funded through Lottery revenues.

All three types of assistance are crucial to municipalities, and I’m very pleased that we were able to oversee increases in the bottom line for both cities that I represent.

Cambridge:

$9,313,701

Chapter 70 Funding:

$17,956,060

Additional Assistance:

$8,781,240

Total Lottery Aid:

$36,054,001

Total:

$800,348

Total Increase over FY 2008:

Somerville:

$20,597,265

Chapter 70 Funding:

$16,219,924

Additional Assistance:

$13,901,505

Total Lottery Aid:

$50,718,694

Total:

$341,626

Total Increase over FY 2008:

Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

Fiscal Year 2008 Budget

*******

Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session:

A Visit with SPELL Students at the Argenziano School

SOMERVILLE – 290 Washington St – map

I had the pleasure of visiting with two groups of students involved in the Summer Program for English Language Learners (SPELL) at the Argenziano school in Somerville.

The first was a group of rising third and fourth graders who had lots of great ideas about how to improve our state and their schools. Among some of the more enticing ideas were a Massachusetts state-wide pizza day, and a swimming pool for every classroom. The students all showed great interest in how our state makes rules, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see one or two of those faces down the line in the next generation of this state’s political leaders.

The second was a group of rising eighth graders, mostly from East Somerville. They had all prepared questions for the visit, and were not shy about going right to the important issues–the first question I was asked is if I would ever like to be Governor. Although I was flattered by the question, I told the class that I’ve had my current job for nearly twenty years. I love the job I have and district that I represent, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.