The November 7, 2018 East Boston Times article by John Lynds, “Well Deserved Honor:Donald McKay Becomes First Eastie School to Win Prestigious Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize”, highlights the strength of the school community of the 2018 School on the Move Prize Winner, the Donald McKay K-8 School. From the article:
The McKay is a K-8 school where 60 percent of students are English Language Learners (EL). The 800-student Donald McKay K-8 has experienced significant growth – climbing steadily from the bottom 6 percent of schools statewide six years ago, to surpassing the district average in literacy and math by empowering teachers as the experts and decision-makers in their classrooms and as leaders of the school. The McKay has focused on building trust among teachers, students and families, and meeting the academic and social emotional needs of its English learners, who make up a majority of the school’s population.
“We call it our ‘choice and voice’ culture, where we encourage schoolwide engagement among students, teachers and families to determine the best path forward in our individual classrooms,” said Weymer. “Our school is a reflection of our community, in population and approach. We remain committed to not only improving grades and outcomes for all students, but also to the social and emotional needs of our families and EL students by maintaining a safe and welcoming school community for all.”
The McKay’s student population is 89 percent Latino, 60 percent of whom are EL students and more than 50 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged. In order to achieve this empowering and inclusive atmosphere for all students, the McKay refers to their EL students as “Emerging Bilinguals” – emphasizing that their first language is an asset rather than a roadblock.