Realtor Steven Cohen Hosts 50 Families at "Navigating School Choice" Panel Discussion

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Parents received first-hand information from Boston Public School experts in a well-attended panel discussion. Key recommendations included: visit the schools; use the online tools at DiscoverBPS.org; and apply in January before the first round of assignments.

Choosing a school for your child can be extremely stressful. We all want the Boston Public Schools to improve, and it’s inspiring to see these experts work toward a day where every school has engaged families, great teachers, and the best principals.

More than fifty people attended a recent event aimed at helping families understand the new school choice and assignment policy for the Boston Public Schools. The event, “Navigating School Choice,” was sponsored and moderated by Realtor Steven Cohen of the Steven Cohen Team of Keller Williams Realty.

Cohen assembled a diverse panel of education experts, civic leaders, and local parents to discuss a range of education issues. The panelists were:

  •     Marc Kenan - Executive Director, MA Charter Public Schools Association
  •     Mark McGonagle – Chief of Staff for Bill Linehan, Boston City Councilor, District 2
  •     Lee McGuire - Chief Communications Officer, Boston Public Schools
  •     Mary Tamer – Boston School Committee member, School Choice Advisory Committee member
  •     Ann Walsh - Chief of Staff, City Councillor John Connolly
  •     Josh Weiss - Hurley School & Boston Latin parent, Expert on New Choice & Assignment Policy

The panelists placed particular emphasis on how parents can ensure they make the best choice for their child under the new system. They encouraged parents to pre-register online to get their list of choices, and visit those schools during the Showcase In Our Schools event on Saturday, November 16, or independently while schools are in session.

The panelists urged parents to apply in January before first round assignments to increase the likelihood of getting into their top choice.

Discussion ranged from the role of early education programs on closing achievement gaps, to ideas on improving the labor management relations between the district and the union, to what qualities the next BPS superintendent must have. The panelists also cleared up some widely held misconceptions about charter schools, pilot and innovations schools, and others that have gained some measure of autonomy and flexibility to improve.

“Choosing a school for your child can be extremely stressful for any parent. These panelists are providing key leadership in helping families make the best choice,” said Steven Cohen, owner of the Steven Cohen Team at Keller Williams Realty, and sponsor of the Navigating School Choice event. “We all want the Boston Public Schools to improve, and it’s inspiring to see these experts work toward a day where every school has engaged families, great teachers, and the best principals.”

The event raised more than $500 for the Friends of the South End Library.

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