Announcements / EdVestors Awards $100,000 School on the Move Prize to Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston
EdVestors Awards $100,000 School on the Move Prize to Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston
School praised for academic improvements, culture of collaboration and key partnerships that helped keep students engaged during the height of the pandemic
(BOSTON) October 26, 2022 – EdVestors, a Boston-based school improvement organization, today awarded its $100,000 School on the Move Prize to Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston. The Prize, now in its 17th year, recognizes the schools, leaders, and teachers who create and continuously improve learning environments where all students can thrive. As school communities continue to navigate the aftermath of pandemic disruptions, this year’s Prize highlights the way schools adapted their approaches to meet the unique challenges their communities faced and accelerated learning throughout the crisis.
This morning, Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper shared remarks and joined the EdVestors team to announce the winner live, and recognize the two finalists during a ceremony attended by more than 200 community members. WCVB-TV Anchor and Reporter Rhondella Richardson served as emcee at the ceremony, which was attended by business, civic, and education leaders.
The Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA) will receive $80,000 in cash and $20,000 for best practice research, while fellow finalist schools – William E. Channing Elementary School (Hyde Park) and Charles H. Taylor Elementary School (Mattapan) – each will receive a $20,000 award – double the usual runner up prize, thanks to a generous anonymous donor. These schools are creating welcoming and inclusive environments; partnering with families; and using rigorous, culturally responsive curriculum to advance learning outcomes for their students.
“We’re working to shape a culture of collaboration, partnership, and academic rigor in every one of our classrooms and schools,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Congratulations to the leaders, teachers, students, and families at all three finalist schools for their excellence and progress.”
GPA leverages partnerships through its nationally recognized Community Hub School model, which seeks to remove non-academic barriers to learning. The model is based on close partnerships with more than 30 community partners that provide services during the school day, after school, and over the summer. These programs provide more than half its students with thousands of hours of extended learning time. Families are also an integral part of the school community. With the Hub School model already in place before the pandemic upended the 2020 school year, GPA was able to provide meals, vaccines, holiday gifts, and clothing to hundreds of families.
“The Gardner Pilot Academy has shown us that partnership and collaboration can strengthen connections with families and community and boost learning at the same time – even through uncertain times,” said Marinell Rousmaniere, President and CEO of EdVestors. “All of our School on the Move finalists provide us with roadmaps on how to set students up for success as our schools continue to recover from the pandemic and reimagine student learning for the years ahead.”
One of GPA’s characteristics that stood out was the school’s strong partnerships with families. Family and community engagement are core aspects of the school’s mission and the school credits its strong relationships with families for maintaining its unusually high attendance rate and low chronic absenteeism rate during the pandemic. They also proudly tout the family members and former students serving in various staff roles throughout the school.
“Sometimes the indicators that show whether a school is successful don't tell the full story,” said Erica Herman, Principal of GPA. “We're really excited that our full-service community-school approach employing wraparound services, extensive partnerships, and a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, is celebrated and valued.”
“The entire Boston Public Schools community is proud of the Gardner Pilot Academy for this well-deserved award. Their efforts demonstrate what is possible when a school community comes together to deliver on the promise of a high-quality education for every student,” said Mary Skipper, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. “All three of the School on the Move finalists work hard every day to create positive learning environments that set up students for success. As we continue to promote equity and excellence throughout the district, we look forward to learning from GPA’s accomplishments and implementing their positive practices across our schools."
The School on the Move Prize is made possible by generous support of presenting sponsors – the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation and Plymouth Rock Assurance – along with other 2022 generous sponsors: BerryDunn, The Boston Foundation, Lynne Brainerd & Michael Douvadjian, Charlotte Foundation, Eastern Bank Foundation, Eaton Vance, Fidelity Investments, Fiduciary Trust, Goldman Sachs, Insource Services, Larson Family Foundation, Christine and David Letts, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Loomis Sayles, Kelly and Chuck Nowlin, Parker Family Foundation, Simon Brothers Family Foundation, State Street, William Schawbel & Schawbel Group, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, among other generous corporations, foundations, and individuals.
EdVestors’ mission is to advance equitable, meaningful education that prepares every Boston student to activate their power and shape their future. We drive toward our vision by 1) activating people and resources, 2) learning and iterating in context, and 3) influencing system change. We believe that continuously attending to all three drivers ensures our programs and initiatives will create impact. Since starting in 2002, EdVestors has raised and directed over $40 million for urban school improvement efforts through EdVestors’ Racial Equity Seed Fund, BPS Arts Expansion, the School on the Move Prize, Zeroing in on Math, and Career Pathways. Learn more at www.edvestors.org.