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The other story — the positive one — about Boston’s McKinley schools

The McKinley schools are among the very few of the Boston Public Schools to be open most of the year.
The McKinley schools are among the very few of the Boston Public Schools to be open most of the year.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Share successes of the schools’ internship programs

It is unfair to compare any Boston Public Schools student attendance record to the attendance record of students who attend a therapeutic day school such as McKinley (“Welcomed back, students still stay away,” Page A1, April 23). Students who attend the McKinley programs need small classes, clinical support, and individual attention. They were placed at McKinley because their previous public schools could not provide them with the accommodations and services that they need to make academic progress.

I am disappointed that only the negatives of these schools were highlighted in this article. There was no mention of the successful internship programs that have been developed over the years. McKinley students are offered the opportunity to participate in programs in the community that provide them with the confidence, training, and community awareness that they will need to succeed in the future.


Yes, the schools are very old and desperately need renovation, but what was left out of the article is the heart of these schools. The teachers and administrators support students with a smile, compassion, and patience, and are always available to listen to and help these children and young adults with whatever they are struggling with.

I have listed only a few of the positives; there are many, many more, and as an educational advocate, I am always happy to attend meetings at these schools because when I walk into these buildings, I always feel welcomed and appreciated.

Victoria Lia


The writer serves as a special-education advocate for children in state custody.

‘You guys never gave up’

I recently retired after teaching for 32 years at McKinley South End Academy, and I do not recognize my school in the article published last week. While our challenges are myriad, so too are our triumphs.

Only one student is quoted in the article, one who, according to his mother, “doesn’t like going to school.” I wish there had been evidence like the recent message written to me by a former student: “You guys never gave up. And continued to expect better from me. And taught me to expect better for myself. Know that you guys saved lives maybe hundreds if you think about the kids that you gave another chance or maybe thousands if you think about the lives we may have” affected since.


Every day, dedicated, highly skilled staff at McKinley apply themselves to the school’s mission, with notable, if incomplete, success. I wish that had not been kept hidden from your readers.

David Russell


The writer worked at McKinley South End Academy from 1988 to 2020. He was a 2001 Boston Teacher of the Year.