New details are emerging on the Department of Education’s decision that Boys and Girls High School would remain open under the” Restart” model, as reported on these web pages yesterday.
In conversations that I had with Principal Bernard Gassaway today, he indicated that some of the initial fears generated by the Restart model have been quieted, at least for now, by Chancellor Dennis Walcott and his deputies.
Most significantly, the Department of Education insists that the school management organization mandated under the Restart model would not seek to impose superintendent-like control over the school, but would function as a collaborator and advisor. In a letter written to the parents of Boys and Girls students, DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg wrote, “In this model, your school will partner with a non-profit educational partner organization (EPO)…The EPO and the Principal will work together to determine how to strengthen the curriculum, develop academic supports for students, and help teachers improve practice.”
Principal Gassaway also clarified that, contrary to initial reports that Boys and Girls would be eligible for up to $6 million in federal grant money, the amount that the school would receive would be closer to $ 2 million, with at least some of the balance going to the educational partner organization.
Depsite these new developments, there are still quite a few important variables that remain unknown. For instance, the DOE has only applied for Restart money, and there is no guarantee it will actually be awarded the grant. Even assuming the DOE does receive the grant, the success of a Restart initiative at Boys and Girls hinges on which organizations emerge, and which one is ultimately selected, to partner with Gassaway and his leadership team.