As America’s first public elementary school – established in 1639 – the Mather Elementary School is highlighted on the Dorchester, MA Guide. I thought it appropriate to review the school in greater detail.
The Mather Elementary School is located at 24 Parish Street on historic Meeting House Hill. It accommodates students from kindergarten -5th grades. For the 2012-2013 school year, their total enrollment was 598 students of which 50.7% were boys and 49.3% were girls. 39.6% of the student body was Black (Cape Verdean, Caribbean, African American), 21.9% were Hispanic, 4.2% were White, and 30.6% were Asian. 42.5% of their students were English Language Learners. Given the proximity of the school to the nexus of the city’s Vietnamese population, the Mather has accommodated these students with Vietnamese Sheltered English Instruction. This is a program that provides classrooms with specially trained teachers that teach in the native tongue until students are able to do their coursework in English whereupon they are transferred to English language classrooms.
Despite the programs, facilities and partnerships at their disposal, the Mather Elementary School finds itself as a Level 3 School. Level 3 schools are among the lowest 20% relative to other schools in their grade span statewide and have one or more subgroups of students that are among the lowest performing 20% of subgroups relative to all subgroups statewide, among other criteria. This is reflected in the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) scores. In 2013, 70% of grade 3 students were needs improvement or warning/failing in English Language Arts, as was 75% of 4th graders and 64% of 5th graders. 55% of grade 3 students were needs improvement or warning/failing in Math, as was 73% of 4th graders and 51% of 5th graders. 89% of 5th graders were needs improvement or warning/failing in Science, the first year in which the science exam is taken.
In spite of these results, or perhaps because of them, the Mather Elementary School offers opportunities for enrichment activities and homework help both before school (7:30-9:00am) and after school (3:30-5:30pm). The onsite enrichment programs include
- America SCORES (after school soccer and literacy program)
- 3 Point Foundation Basketball
- Boston City Singers
- Brookline Literacy Partnership
- City Sprouts Science Club
- Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts
- Dance with Books
- DEA Dance
- Girl Scouts
- Mather Before & After School Program
- Piano and guitar lessons
- Saturday Scholars (HOPE Worldwide)
- Strong Women Strong Girls
- Tae Kwon Do
- Urban Voices
- Vietnamese Heritage Club
- Winsor School Tutoring
The Mather Elementary School boasts an active Parent Council. Members of the Parent Council connect regularly with the Boston School Committee and have engaged in several letter writing campaigns to help retain funding to save teacher positions, as well as hire a librarian, and include sibling grandfathering in the new zoning plans.
If you are interested in helping the Mather Elementary School, consider donations of
- Hand sanitizer
- Number 2 Pencils
- Multi-purpose copy paper
- Box of crayons
- Spiral bound or Composition notebooks
- Gift cards from Staples/Target/Office Max/Michael’s
The Mather Elementary School has created a happy community that allows them to live out their mission of Educating and empowering all children to reach their potential through academic and socially enriching experiences. Best of luck to them.