Thursday, December 5, 2013

METCO


The Wakefield Public Schools has a relatively small but thriving METCO program.  With the annual state conference for METCO approaching tomorrow, I have been reflecting on the importance of this diversity program to Wakefield Memorial High School, in terms of breathing life into our core values and 21st century social & civic learning expectations. It has been a great benefit to our predominately white student body to know and learn together with students of color, in an environment where students establish lifelong friendships in academic classes and extracurricular activities.  

METCO, the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, was incorporated in 1966 as a voluntary desegregation program under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. METCO promotes the integration of suburban schools while affording the opportunity to Boston resident youth a suburban public education. There are more than 30 communities and towns in Massachusetts that participate, with over 3,000 students enrolled in METCO.  Wakefield began participating in the METCO Program in 1969, serving 40 or more Boston resident students annually.  There are currently METCO students at Wakefield Memorial High School,  Galvin Middle School, Greenwood Elementary School, and Dolbeare Elementary School.  Our students are from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds (African-American, Latino, Caribbean, and African) representing Boston neighborhoods (South End, Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, South Boston, Hyde Park, and Roslindale).  METCO Director Joel Villegas coordinates the program for the Wakefield Public Schools, acting as a mentor for the students and arranging programs to enhance their academic and social experiences.

We plan to establish a METCO advocacy committee, beginning in January and meeting several times over the course of the school year, with a vision to support:
  • diversity enrichment opportunities and programs
  • family partnerships (Wakefield and Boston)
  • culturally responsive teaching and learning strategies for teachers
  • a sustainable and vibrant program
I invite parents and students to express their interest in serving on this committee by contacting me at kim.smith@wpsk12.org or Joel Villegas at joel.villegas@wpsk12.org.

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