Back To School with Tufts President Lawrence Bacow
As "Principal for a Day," Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow got an up-close look at Boston's public schools.
Boston [11.10.08] On Nov. 6, Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow was one of 136 business and community leaders in Boston to participate in the sixth annual Principal for a Day (PFAD) program.
The event-co-sponsored by the Boston Plan for Excellence, Bank of America, and the Boston Public Schools-pairs these leaders with principals in schools across the City of Boston. President Bacow spent the morning at Chittick Elementary School in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston. He answered a few questions from E-News about the experience:
E-News: Why did you choose to participate in the Principal For A Day event?
Bacow: Tufts is a partner with the Boston Public Schools as part of the Step-Up program. The PFAD program gave me an opportunity to visit one of our partner schools and to understand the challenges that they face.
E-News: What was notable about the school and the students you visited?
Bacow: I was incredibly impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the principal of the Chittick Elementary School, Michelle Burnett-Herndon. She knew the name of virtually every one of her 300 students and greeted each one as they came through the door. Similarly, the teachers were all fabulous-caring, engaged, and enthusiastic. I left very optimistic about public education in Boston.
E-News: What was the most memorable moment of the morning?
Bacow: Seeing a special needs student successfully solve a math problem in front of the class. I also visited a classroom with five autistic children who were being taught by three very dedicated and skilled teachers. I enjoyed seeing a few students receive oral health care from a volunteer from our Dental School. Many kids at the Chittick have never seen a dentist until they meet a member of the TUSDM team.
E-News: What insights did you take away from the experience?
Bacow: Our society owes much to those who teach in our urban public schools. We need to do more to support them. That said, the quality of the teaching I observed and the care and love expressed by the staff for the kids was truly inspiring.
(Originally published November 10, 2008)