Abandon the proposal to move Boston Latin Academy to Hyde Park
  • Petitioned Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson

This petition was delivered to:

Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson

Abandon the proposal to move Boston Latin Academy to Hyde Park

    1. Boston Latin Academy Alumni (BLA)
    2. Petition by

      Boston Latin Academy Alumni (BLA)

      Dorchester, MA

In July, Boston Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson announced a proposal that would shuffle schools in Boston: to uproot Boston Latin Academy (BLA), from its current location at 205 Townsend St. in Dorchester to Hyde Park, in order to move Boston Arts Academy into its place. The current BLA facility at 205 Townsend St. has several maintenance issues, and the school and its students could truly benefit from a renovation to the existing building or a move to a state-of-the-art facility in a central location. However, moving BLA to the former Hyde Park High Educational Complex (HPEC) in particular is not a good idea for several reasons.

First, the former HPEC cannot accommodate BLA’s student body or its rich academic and extracurricular programs. Latin Academy is at capacity, if not above, therefore it should be expanded not squeezed into a smaller space. BLA occupies 324,188 sq. ft, while HPEC occupies only 185,199 sq. ft. Accordingly, last year BLA housed 1750 students, while Hyde Park held 1011. Moving this highly enrolled school to a smaller location, (especially considering the city’s other plan of expanding the exam schools to include a 6th grade), is not the answer. The numbers simply do not make sense; and the numbers translate to individual children. There is no reason to suggest that overcrowding is beneficial to academic achievement. Even worse for the city would be to make BLA more excusive.

Secondly, BLA is a highly sought-after school because of its history of academic excellence, high rate of college acceptances, and success of its graduates in post-secondary institutions. Such a widely popular school should be conveniently accessible to all students in Boston. Of the MCAS top-5 high schools, Latin Academy has, by far, the largest proportion of students of color, who are poor and/or who are immigrants. The fact that Latin Academy is much more diverse than its rivals is one of its greatest strengths. According to the Boston Globe, Boston Latin Academy ranked first in the state with its 10th grade English section of the 2009 MCAS, and was tied for 2nd in math. BLA was one of only six schools in Massachusetts with more than 95% of students scoring proficient or higher in ELA, Math, and Science, Technology/Engineering. In 2010, Boston Latin Academy ranked third in the state in the 10th grade English MCAS and fifth in the 10th grade Math MCAS. Why risk upsetting this formula?

Thirdly, BLA is the most dollar-efficient school in the entire district; any change will cost money, and now is not the time to make superfluous changes. Furthermore, Boston Latin Academy is vested to its current location. Alumni, parents, and teachers alike have contributed to murals, memorial tree-plantings, a greenhouse, a new orchard, and many other physical improvements to the Townsend Street building. BLA has received grants to update its language lab, and also money that has been used for wiring and HVAC. These are investments in education. The city should also consider the benefit of a long-term investment in education by allowing BLA to expand in its current location.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Kawana McKoy BRIGHTON, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      I attended BLA and graduated in 1999. I feel this school provided me with a good education and prepared me well for college. I think it would be a shame if students - potential and current - were not able to attend this school if it became less centralized.

    • Norma Swenson BOSTON, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      Moving BLA to a smaller and harder to reach location is a major de facto educational policy decision to privilege one small group of students at the expense of the future of a larger student body, one of the best-performing schools in the history of the city. This decision would force BLA to reduce admissions ever afterwards in order to fit students into a smaller space. This policy implication, a decision to produce fewer BLA graduates in future, must be exposed. It must be brought to the attention of the Mayor and all those who work to improve public education in Boston, and who care about the reputation of the city. This proposal must be withdrawn immediately.

    • suresha ramjit DORCHESTER, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is just bad some change is good but not this one why change something that is already good enough.

    • Jenny Nguyen BOSTON, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      Although I live relatively near the Hyde Park building, I highly oppose this ridiculous proposal to move BLA to the Hyde Park High Building. I've been here for only two years and I have grown to love this building and everything about it. From its gum filled desks to the lockers and hallways. Moving this building would just ruin the schedule in the mornings as well as for classes. This building can only facilitate 1,100 students meanwhile the current BLA building provides space for 1750. No one ever asked for the building to be moved. Maybe some parents asked for the building to be RENOVATED. Renovation is something completely different from what they're proposing we do now. Yeah, maybe the current BLA building does need a little patching up here and there, but that's all we need. We don't need to completely move the building. I'm sure I can speak for the majority of the BLA community when I say that we would rather stay in this building and have no renovations whatsoever rather than move into the "renovated" Hyde Park High building. I believe that the current BLA building has been worn with love. We love this building where it is today. We took the ISEE knowing exactly where the locations of all three entrance exams schools were. We did NOT sign up for this; Nor do we agree with it. What is more messed up about this is: WE, the student body of BLA, don't get to voice OUR opinions about this proposal. We have left too much of a big footprint to leave this building. During our years in this building, we have the "Tile Wall", which is tiles being decorated by graduating seniors and past alumni, and we have our beloved murals all around the school; The one above the auditorium, The one right next to the classics club wall, and lastly one right in front of room 340. If we were to be FORCED out of this building, think of what we will be leaving behind; Hard work and beautiful memories that we can't take with us because it is a part of the building. Moving BLA to Hyde Park would just be disastrous for the students, parents, and Dr. Johnson. We are not going down without a well fought war.

    • Elizabeth Cousins ROSLINDALE, MA
      • over 2 years ago

      I agree that an exam school should remain in a central location.


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