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Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School Opening Day

 Opening day of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School drew a large crowd of well wishers from the community, DSNI staff and parents of the young ones starting their first day of school.  The school is housed in the old Emerson School at 6 Shirley Street, closed in 2010 for under achievement.

 In the main cafeteria of the building, the K1, K2 and Grade 1 students were enjoying breakfast while parents were bracing for letting go of their children one more time. Meanwhile in the two rooms adjoining the cafe, visitors were enjoying coffee and continental breakfast, taking in the sense of excitement that permeated every word of every conversation.

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School

Conversation with Staff and Parents

Ms. Roberta Udoh works as a K1 Teaching Assistant.  She "really wanted to be in a setting that focused not only on the academics but on  social and emotional development as well - the whole child, where the emphasis was on engaging families and a school that would operate as a collaborative environment. Too often," she said, "families are regarded as deficits to the child's development but not here."

 Cecilia DeAndrade's first grader, Sal, will be "in the first graduating class at the charter school, and," she added, "my husband, also named Sal, and I both graduated from this school (back then, the Emerson) in 1989.  We are so excited to be here today."  She sees the Dudley School as providing a more well rounded education, not exclusively emphasizing academics and with more attention paid to every child.

"Welcome to Our School"

Shortly after 8am, the program to celebrate the Opening Day of the Charter School began.  Christine Landry, Principal, just in from closing down her Oakland School on June 29, looking as fresh as the newly painted classrooms and filled with excitement about both the challenges and the opportunities present at the charter school.  Other speakers included John Barros, Executive Director DSNI, Mitchell Chester, MA Commissioner of Education, Dr. Carol Johnson, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools, and Jesse Solomon, Executive Director of BPE (originally known as Boston Plan for Excellence).

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter SchoolDr. Carol Johnson, Superintendent BPS

The Boston Public School Board made a "tough decision a couple years ago to close the Emerson school. John Barrows knows how tough that decision was because a lot of people in the community felt that he had personally let them down."  Then in 2010, the Boston Public Schools went to the legislature to get permission (legislation) to create Boston Public School charter schools.  And so the path began that set in motion the formation of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School. 

"To every parent present in this room, you have made a tough decision to take an exploratory and experimental journey. We will not let you down."  Overcome with tears at the remembrance of Governor Patrick's speech and that of First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convvention, she said they "reminded us that we are all just a generation away from making sure that every child achieves a college education but it really starts here. It starts with 132 chances that arrived today who will be graduating from high school in 2025."

Dr. Johnson went on to congratulate the faculty who joined the school and the families who opted to send their children here. "Together with our partners, we have to make it work. It won't happen because a single teacher is great. It will happen because the team of us make it happen."

Jesse Solomon, Executive Director, BPE

Mr. Solomon emphasize the importance that "every single child of every family should have a free quality education if we are going to fulfill our promise as the leading democracy in the world.. That is what our country was founded on and that is what has brought everyone together today in this room - the shared vision."  He acknowledged that Boston / Roxbury is not there yet. And he emphasized the importance of team work.  "We also know that none of us can achieve it by ourselves. No one of us, no single organization can achieve this objective. It is something that we must do together."


Photos of the school building, kids and families having breakfast before school starts, visitors attending the program, program speakers and the kids and teachers in their classrooms - below and on two more pages

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
Bright colors, friendly child-oriented classrooms,
teachers and students at the same level

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
The Dudley Street Neighborhood
Charter School at 6 Shirley St in Roxbury

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
Kids having breakfast and parents
getting ready to say goodbye

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
Parents, DSNI staff, members of the
community all gathered for the celebration

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
The program included Dr. Carol Johnson, Christine Landry,
John Barros, Mitchell Chester and Jesse Solomon

Posted: September 5,2012     Nancy J Conrad

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