by Rosie Levenson, AmeriCorps member serving on the Bain Capital team with Blackstone Innovation School

I serve at the Blackstone Innovation School in the South End, and it rocks. City Year and the Blackstone have been partners for seven years, and the Blackstone is only a fifteen-minute walk from City Year headquarters!

The Blackstone is a community school that hosts almost 600 students from pre-K to 5th grade, 85% of whom are English Language Learners. With core values of respect, unity and excellence, the school is focused on preparing students for the modern world. Ubuntu, or “I am what I am because we all are” is a key principle at the school, and one of City Year’s values too!

As a community school, the Blackstone includes the South End Community Health Center where students can receive health services and counseling. The school also has other great facilities like an auditorium, library, playground, computer lab, pool, cafeteria, music and art rooms, and gymnasium. The Blackstone is supported by many partners, such as Berklee College of Music, Big Brother Big Sister Associations, and Playworks, so the students are exposed to music, mentors, and learning through playing!

Originally named the William Blackstone Elementary School, the Blackstone was designated an Innovation School in 2013.

And the school truly is innovative.

I see it on a daily basis. I see it in how my students can listen to reading on a Kindle, or observe a fish pond in science class, or even receive individualized support services for their different needs. The students have the chance to learn from each other every day through partner work, and the teachers are committed to fostering a “culture of we” through home visits.

What does this all mean? Obviously, the Blackstone rocks. Even more important however, is that I am so lucky to be serving at the Blackstone Innovation School.


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