I am wondering if anyone here has had success in going around the middle-man to fund an urgent need. When BPS canceled many buses all over the city, it destroyed West Roxbury Academy’s successful after-school tutoring program to help struggling students, ESL students, and special education students–anyone who wanted extra help to restore grades or to pass their tests. I am an English and ESL teacher at the school. I tried asking The Boston Foundation for help, but they said they do not fund this kind of thing. They asked me doesn’t BPS have any emergency funds? Sigh. That is the problem. The buses were cut to save money and that money is not coming back anytime soon. We know because of how hard we have sought the return of these funds without success. Also, the timing for losing our after-school tutoring program could not be worse. We are being asked to raise test scores at the same time we are being deprived of our best hope for doing so. We have been expanding this after-school program in recent years because of its success. No student who has attended the ESL after-school program with which I am involved has failed the MCAS. A good number of them have raised their Needs Improvement scores to Proficient.
Please review the MBTA map for the Route 36 bus above. If you count the stops on the MBTA bus route from West Roxbury Academy to the Forest Hills Station, you will find there are 30 of them just to get to the train from the school. Once our students get to Forest Hills, they mostly take the Orange Line to the Red Line to reach Dorchester or Mattapan. From their Red Line stop, they have to make their way to their homes. Without a school bus to bypass the 30 stops and take them straight to Forest Hills, they do not get home before dark. Often their neighborhoods can be dangerous after dark, so their parents do not want them to stay after school. Eighty percent of our students come from poor, Title I families and this is one more significant disadvantage for them.
Does anyone know of a charitable trust or foundation which might be approachable about funding school buses for after-school tutoring? We need $30,000 to $60,000 for these buses. For us the clock is ticking. Some of my students have the MCAS retest in just two weeks! That is because by November they will have been in this country for a year so the state deems them ready to tackle Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and other classic and modern authors on the MCAS tests. A year is not much, so the after-school program has been a lifeline for them in the past. The majority of our regular students, ESL students, and special education students will have to take the English, math, and science MCAS in March, May and June. So the extra tutoring is needed year-round. Already we are behind where we were last year. My students are suffering the loss of the after-school tutoring. I would appreciate any advice on where to look for support.