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BPS superintendent to visit 125 schools in 100 days

Brenda Cassellius is Boston’s new schools superintendent.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File 2019/Globe Staff

As she embarks on her first year of leading the Boston school system, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced on Wednesday that she has launched a robust community engagement tour with a goal of visiting all 125 schools in 100 days.

The tour, which officially began Aug. 1, also will include seven neighborhood town hall meetings, oodles of meet-and-greets, and more than 40 gatherings with teachers, advocacy, philanthropic, corporate, faith-based, and nonprofit partners.

“It will be pretty intense,” she said during a media briefing at school department headquarters in Dudley Square. “I don’t know when I will sleep, but I have bought a new pair of sneakers, and will be lacing those up and getting into schools.”


Since being named superintendent in May, Cassellius has made community outreach a top priority, popping up at neighborhood and school events and other gathering places, such as churches. So far, the superintendent has held more than 65 meetings with community partners and has visited more than a dozen schools.

In conducting her new tour this fall, Cassellius and members of her executive team will rely on a set of guiding questions to gather the community’s thoughts on what a high-quality school should look like, what would make the Boston Public Schools parents’ first choice in picking schools for their children, and what is the best way to foster and secure the trust of parents.

The superintendent intends to use the information to help craft a school budget for the 2020-21 school year and update the system’s five-year strategic plan, which sets academic and other priorities.

She said she anticipates tweaking the strategic planning and adding new items, although she did not specify details.

So far, some common themes have emerged in the meetings that she has had. They include creating a workforce that better reflects the system’s student demographics, translating school documents into more languages spoken by families, and ensuring that families have schools close to home they can choose and schools of high quality.


Cassellius said she hopes to wrap the tour up by Dec. 5.

“Don’t hold us to that, though,” she added. “There are days when things come up at school and my schedule could shift, but we will try to stick to that as best as possible.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he was pleased with the outreach effort.

“Superintendent Cassellius is doing a tremendous job ensuring all voices across the city are heard and taken into action,” he said in a statement.

“I encourage residents across Boston to come to a meeting with Dr. Cassellius to share thoughts and ideas of how we can make the Boston Public Schools even stronger for our students.”

James Vaznis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.