Yesterday morning, the teachers at the Dever -- the lower school of the Dever-McCormack -- met with an HR representative from BPS. They'd learned last Thursday that the State had decided to fire them -- all have been "excessed" -- and they gathered yesterday to learn what would happen next.
Perhaps you heard about the Dever last October, about the school not reaching state-mandated MCAS targets for third and fourth grade reading and being placed under state receivership. Maybe you saw the letter that Trinity's rector Sam Lloyd and I sent to the State Commissioner of Education
asking him to exercise restraint. We believed then and continue to believe that the conditions for success are in place and that the school needs another year to meet its benchmarks. The school's rigorous internal evaluations show dramatic improvement in reading scores, just not quite enough, quickly enough.
Alas, the State has shown no restraint at all. The teachers may be able to re-apply for their jobs in March -- or maybe April. Meanwhile, the District begins its internal hiring process for current teachers seeking new positions within BPS in February, which means that in order to be certain of having a job, most of the teachers will commit to new positions elsewhere, before re-hiring begins at the Dever. There is no word yet about what form the receivership will take, and while the State Superintendent is required by law to announce his plan in early February, there's no certainty the plan will be detailed enough for teachers to consider staying.
The Assistant Principal, Christine Cronin, designed, developed, and runs the very popular and successful Dual Language Program at the Dever. She calls her teachers "irreplaceable" and reports that the State turns to her and her team as experts in dual language and calls on them for advice. Now that program is at risk; once those teachers scatter, the program will end.
Research shows that supportive relationships with caring adults are the single most important factor for children to develop into healthy and competent adults. Schools are relational entities -- or the best ones are -- and the disruption planned at the Dever aggressively undercuts the very social fabric that holds the children and enables their learning.
We can help by supporting the students and the teachers. In December, we completed a successful drive to buy more than 600 books -- one for every student at the school. Sarah McLaughlin, the Dever principal, has now invited our volunteer team to expand its role and work with students one-on-one in the area of literacy. One of our volunteers, Frances Robinson, is a literacy specialist and has offered to provide training. Next door at the upper school, the McCormack, Trinity staff are providing programs, life coaching and clinical support to more than 60 students and their families identified by the school as in need of our services. The combined effort, Trinity@DMC, will stay the course as the receivership unfolds at the Dever.
There are many ways you can join in this commitment.
We invite you to Trinity Church (Angel Room, 206 Clarendon Street) on February 2, 11:15am, to hear more about what Trinity is doing to support literacy at the Dever. For information about volunteering, contact Audrey Henderson
. To make a gift to support Trinity@DMC, visit our website
With gratitude for all the ways you care,
Louise Burnham Packard
Executive Director, Trinity Boston Foundation