Why I Love My Traditional Public School

Three families make their case, arguing that Boston Public Schools offer a diverse and supportive learning environment.

boston families traditional public schools

Photographs by Kelsey Cronin

From left:

Mary Lewis Pierce
Parker, 10, attends James W. Hennigan school in Jamaica Plain; Vivian, 6, attends Boston Teachers Union School in Jamaica Plain

“In both my children’s schools, there’s a strong sense of community among the parents and the teachers. The BPS teachers are really fantastic, and they’ve been able to really meet my children where they are and challenge them. There’s a lot of diversity, so you’re interacting with kids from all different backgrounds and all different races. You know, we’re a gay family, and we liked that there were other gay families also enrolled. The diversity is really important to me. Because life is getting more and more complicated and connected, I really want my children to be comfortable with a diverse group of people, and I think they are.”

John Lerner
Juliet, 9, previously attended Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury; starting in September, she’s attending the Curley K–8 School in Jamaica Plain

“If you had told me a year ago that I would love a Boston public school this much, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. But it’s just awesome. My daughter’s getting a good education, plus socialization. If you want to get into what I love about public schools, it’s that she’s exposed to many different races, different learning abilities, different everything. It could be even physical disabilities. And they all become completely normal to her—this is how the world is. I feel that’s such an incredible benefit for her for the rest of her life. It’s the social environment. When she’s with her peers, you can just see her light up.”

Malikka Williams
Malik, 6, attends JP Manning Elementary School in Jamaica Plain

“I absolutely love this school—there’s a system to help him when he’s having a difficult time. I can’t say enough about what JP Manning does for parents that have children that are misunderstood. They’ve allowed Malik to take a little bit more time in learning how things work. JP Manning has made a space to say, ‘Malik, you own what you do.’ My child feels like he belongs; I feel like I belong. I was given these different options, and I went back and did some research. I chose the Manning, and it was the best decision that I ever made.”


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