Russell Elementary SchoolImage of kids working on a science experiment

Tamara Blake, Principal
750 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 02125
Phone: 617-635-8803
Directions via Google Maps
Access via MBTA Public Transit
BPS Report on Teaching & Learning for Russell Elementary

Partner University: Boston College
Family Community Outreach Coordinator:
Carmen Rodriquez
Number of Students: 364

Step UP Activities:

  • Boston College provided a leadership coach to the Russell School. The coach and principal met one-on-one and also in joint meetings with the Winthrop principal. Themes included priority setting, professional-staff development, supervision, problem solving, and leadership development.
  • Boston College implemented two three-year Collaborative Fellows Grants. The curriculum and findings from both grants will be shared with all Step UP schools. Genres of Writing: A Team-Based Intervention focuses on developing and implementing a curriculum for teaching writing, as well as on researching the impact of a genre-based approach to students’ writing. Teachers and the BC team assessed the skills students need to successfully complete MCAS examinations that require writing. Teachers then developed a curriculum for grades, four and five which helps students analyze the genres of writing samples in each subject, and answer associated questions. Russell School teachers attended a Genres of Writing Summer Institute at BC in August 2008.
  • The Mindful Teacher Leadershipî project seeks to create new forms of lateral support for BPS teachers to address issues that emerge as part of daily instruction, to develop common strategies for improving student achievement, and to conduct jointly authored scholarship about teachers’ collaborative learning at monthly ìMindful Teacher Leadershipî seminars.
  • Boston College hosted 30 Russell teachers for professional development in September.
  • Seven Boston College students completed their pre-practicum experiences in the fall at the Russell. In the spring a graduate student pursuing licensure in moderate special needs was placed in a grades two and three classrooms.
  • Boston College met with the principal and Boston Connects to place a site coordinator at the Russell School, beginning in September 2009, to provide sustainable and integrated educational support.
  • Developed in collaboration with the Russell’s Family Community Outreach Coordinator (FCOC), BC’s Urban Outreach Initiatives graduate staff presented an Early College Exploration Program. In December BC staff attended Family Fun Night and spoke about the program in English and Spanish. At a workshop in April that was conducted in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, a BC staff member talked about her journey to college from a family’s perspective, and a diverse panel of Lynch School of Education graduate students were present. Families also learned about financial aid options.
  • Per request of the Step UP schools and university partners, BC’s Urban Outreach Initiatives staff researched and developed a Boston Area ESL Classes Directory.
  • As part of the HEAR (Help Education through Athletic Responsibility) Program, 15 diverse members of Boston College’s men’s soccer team shared with fifth-grade students the lessons they’ve learned about overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams.
  • To help students explore college, BC Athletics gave complimentary tickets for the BC-Maryland football game to 70 students and five Russell staff members. Students and their families also attended the final championship game of BC women’s basketball.
  • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) provided all preventive treatment, including oral screenings, fluoride varnish, and dental sealants. Dental referrals were made for children whose cases required off-site treatment. Dental education was provided to the kindergarten and second-grade classrooms.
  • Tufts nutrition graduate students ran two training workshops for Russell after-school program leaders and sent them Health Eating Active Time (HEAT) Club Curriculum. Leaders at the Bird Street Community Center and Russell School received weekly updates and tips. A healthy-lifestyle newsletter for parents and children was sent to leaders for distribution.
  • Harvard supported third-, fourth, and fifth-grade classrooms (180 children) at the Russell, providing customized SmartTALK kits to support school-day mathematics instruction. A HASI staff member conducted weekly coaching visits from November to June to solidify the inclusions of the SmartTALK materials and philosophy in the classrooms and conducted grade-level SmartTALK trainings. In addition, to extend the learning beyond the school day, HASI supported a mathematics-focused night for Russell families by providing materials to every family for use at home.