The Henry Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury was named a “turnaround school” by BPS superintendent Carol Johnson in November 2009. Low test scores and a dilapidated building kept families away and student enrollment dropped steadily. When Dr. Johnson named Jose Duarte principal that year, she told him to prepare for it to close.
But just down the street, the congregation of Roxbury Presbyterian Church had started a campaign to help their neighbors “Dream Again.” The notion was that the single thing most lacking along Warren Ave in Roxbury was the capacity to dream, to find hope. So they recruited a couple of partners — the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) and the Trinity Boston Foundation — to join with them in the adoption of two schools.
The Trinity Church congregation quickly joined in, with Lallie Lloyd, a former education funder, spearheading the formation of Trinity Public School Partners. The Dearborn School partnership expanded further to include the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and the Boston Urban Youth Foundation.
What happens when a community rallies around a school? When a “turn-around school” slated for closure all of a sudden finds itself loved and supported by a city-wide coalition of partners? There is new hope. And with hope come dreams.
The Dearborn School now wants to reinvent itself as a STEM School — that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — for grades 6-12 in a completely renovated building with state-of-the-art laboratories.
And under the leadership of the Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s pastor, the coalition of community partners are committed to seeing that dream realized.
Won’t you be part of that dream?