Restoring A Sense Of Community Through Public Schools
"When Orchard Gardens, a K-8 pilot school, opens next month, it will be one of the first new school buildings in Boston in 30 years -- and a symbol of renewal to those still haunted by the racial turbulence and urban decay that followed the start of busing." Members of the Orchard Gardens Residents Association, rallied neighbors, families, and other residents to successfully convince the City to build a school in what was a few years ago one of the most violent areas in the City. "They formed community focus groups, compiled research on the nation's best teaching practices, and presented the results of their work to school and city leaders." Longtime residents hope that "Orchard Gardens promises to repair what was lost when busing began by forging strong ties to the neighborhood." The school will be the only one in the city "allowed to draw three-fourths of its students from its neighborhood -- far more than any other Boston school. According to the district's student assignment policy, only half of the seats in other elementary and middle schools are reserved for children who live within the schools' walk zones, while the rest are bused in from other neighborhoods. For Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the new construction is the partial fulfillment of his 1999 pledge to build five new schools in minority neighborhoods....while budget woes have slowed progress, Menino said his mission to return Boston to a neighborhood school system remains."Weary of long bus rides to school, a relieved 8-year old resident, who will be attending the new school said, 'Now I can get extra sleep in the morning.'
Thanks to Connie Chung