The Compact in Action: Reflections on the First Public Engagement Session

March 27, 2019

For the first time in its history, the Boston Compact welcomed parents, school leaders, funders, and educators from across the city to a Public Engagement Session, in essence opening up our winter Steering Committee meeting to the public. We were delighted and energized by the large turnout: approximately 60 guests attended representing a diverse range of stakeholders from the Boston education community.

Principal Thabiti Brown (Codman Academy) and Dr. Andrew Miller (Catholic Schools Office) facilitate a discussion on teacher recruitment and retention.

Session participants heard updates from Compact Steering Committee members on initiatives including our burgeoning Roxbury Special Education Network, the cross-sector school climate survey work, and the ongoing collaboration of the School Transportation Committee.

The second half of the session was dedicated to exploring the pressing issue of recruiting and retaining “best fit” teachers. Three school principals already collaborating together in Compact work—Nick Cuomo of St. John Paul II Catholic Academy (Neponset), Thabiti Brown of Codman Academy, and Grace Coleman-Burns of The King K-8 School—gave honest and wise testimony in a consultancy-style discussion about the challenges of hiring and keeping teachers who fit their schools’ cultures and missions. Session attendees then asked questions and gave feedback in small group discussions.

We believe the session met its goals of increasing transparency about what the Compact is and is not, engaging participants in thinking across school sectors, and sharing evidence of how collaboration is in the best interest of students. Steering Committee member and Principal of Mission Grammar School, Ali Dutson, reflected on the experience, “I was SO proud of the Compact. It really felt so supportive, interesting, and engaging! It was a cross-sector dream!”

Thanks to all who joined us for this landmark event in Compact collaboration!