Friday, April 20, 2007
RSC hears that METCO makes a difference
Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) senior Ariel Spivey and others involved with the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity Program (METCO) described the program at the RSC meeting on April 10. CCHS joined the METCO program 40 years ago, a year after the program was founded, with 20 METCO students coming to CCHS. The majority of today's 72 METCO high school students come from Dorchester, Hyde Park and Mattapan. The program's aim is to add diversity to suburban schools and create a link between urban and suburban parents. Thirty-seven school districts around Boston participate in the program.
Spivey was introduced by Concord-Carlisle Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby and CCHS Principal Art Dulong. Rigby said, "Ariel is a very special student. She came to the Alcott School in first gradeOver the years she has won numerous awards for academics, citizenship and community service." Dulong continued, "Ariel is absolutely enthusiastic! She smiles all the time. She's a real delight to have in school." Dulong quoted teacher Andre Joseph saying she had done the best project he received last year. Dulong noted that Spivey takes leadership roles and was a driving force behind getting "Be the Change," a program aimed at making the environment better for all students at the high school, into CCHS.
Spivey spoke a little about her early days in Concord and how she has gotten close to many families, "They were very welcoming." When she started at the high school, half of the incoming METCO population was new to the school system. She worked on bringing students together, and got more teachers involved.
Dulong then introduced CCHS Tutor Kim Bouvell, saying, "Kim makes a huge difference in the lives of our studentsShe chases them down to get to class, gets them to do their homework and gets them to tutoring sessions." Bouvell has worked at CCHS since 2005. Dulong noted, "In the first quarter Kim was here, METCO students raised their grades by 25%. She has a knack for kids and a knack for teaching."
Bouvell, who went to college in Atlanta, said, "I felt so rewarded after 12 years in the METCO Program. The METCO Program is truly making a difference." She considers the 72 METCO students at the high school, "my little babies." She has a wall in her office with a picture of each METCO student and she tells each one, "You will achieve greatness." Bouvell tutors 40 students one-on-one. She gets reports from teachers every two weeks and reports back to the students' homes.
She started the Zeta Phi Delta Step Club, comprised of 32 Concord, Carlisle and METCO girls. Its motto is, "I am my sister's keeper," and there is a scholastic requirement that the girls cannot have a grade below a "C." The club puts together a dynamic show and raises money for scholarships. "I love doing what I do," she says.
According to the state web site www.metcoinc.org, the program overall has a retention rate of about 92% each year. Most CCHS METCO students not only graduate, but continue their education at four-year colleges. The CCRSD Annual Metco Report of 2007 lists the following colleges for the METCO students who graduated in 2006: Syracuse University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Mass. Amherst (2), Regis College, Johnson and Wales University (2), Bridgewater State College, Delhi College, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music, Boston College (night school), Bethune-Cookman College, University of Mass. Dartmouth, Curry College, Saint John's University, Hampton University and University of Detroit Mercy.
CCHS receives partial funding for the program from the state Department of Education under the Racial Imbalance Law. Funding in FY07 was $380,901, or about $5,290 per student.
METCO Coordinator Norma Dinnall, who could not attend the meeting, was honored as she is retiring this June and has been with the program for the last 30 years. Concord middle and elementary schools also participate in METCO, hosting 102 students this year.
© 2007 The