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
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 with Staff
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
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,
just in from closing down her Oakland School on June 29, looking as
as the newly painted classrooms and filled with excitement about both
the challenges and the opportunities present at the charter
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).
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
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
Bright colors, friendly child-oriented classrooms,
teachers and students at the same level
The Dudley Street Neighborhood
Charter School at 6 Shirley St in Roxbury
Kids having breakfast and parents
getting ready to say goodbye
Parents, DSNI staff, members of the
community all gathered for the celebration
The program included Dr. Carol Johnson, Christine Landry,
John Barros, Mitchell
Chester and Jesse Solomon
|Posted: September 5,2012
Nancy J Conrad