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WREC Students Clear: "Hate" Redesign and Reinvest Plan

BPS plan passed last month will merge West Roxbury Education Complex's four schools into two.

With regard to B, students at the are clear in voicing their opinion.

"We hate it!" shouted a group of girls who, despite declining interview, wanted to let their feelings be known.

The plan, which was passed by the Boston School Committee on December 15, will in part merge the four schools on the WREC campus into two. The Urban Science Academy and Parkway Academy of Technology and Health, and Brook Farm Business and Service Career Academy and Media Communications Technology High School would merge, respectively.

Tim Cummings, a West Roxbury native and Brook Farm senior, is one of many opposed to the plan.

"Six or seven years of hard work to improve the Complex as a whole is going to waste," Cummings said. "Brook Farm Academy was a great school. It's sad."

Cummings expects to graduate at the end of this year. Cummings will not personally be affected by the plan, scheduled to go into effect in September of this year. Yet that doesn't matter to him.

"I have friends that will still be there," he said. "Their experience is going to be hurt."

Another Brook Farm student, sophomore Marissa Serrett, has been very vocal in her opposition. She and nearly 200 other Brook Farm students took part in a walk-out the week before last month's vote took place and protested with chants and signs in front of BPS headquarters.

Though the vote passed by a 7-0 vote, Serrett said she and fellow students have remained vocal in their disapproval.

"We're still fighting," she said.

On the top of nearly every student's list of complaints is the expected increase in class size.

Serrett said that classes might seat more than 35 students at a time after the merger. This comes despite the fact that proponents of the plan sited low enrollment numbers as reason to merge and close schools.

"It's better having schools smaller," said Rony Espinal, an Urban Science Academy junior. "Teachers pay better attention and get more personal time with us."

Espinal fears that Urban Science Academy's MCAS scores – the highest in the city excepting exam schools – may fall with less personalized attention from teachers.

"With bigger class sizes, there would be more disruptions," seconded Brook Farm junior Zachary Martin. "It hurts the students, it hurts the teachers. It'll hurt everyone."

Jazzmyn Burke, an Urban Science Academy sophomore from Roxbury, said that the increase in school size the merger would necessarily create could cause "chaos" in the hallways.

Media High School student Sebastian Joseph – despite expressing some excitement with the greater "academic opportunities" the merger may bring along – also thought disciplinary issues may develop when the schools merge.

"When Brook Farm and Media merge, there'll definitely be more fights," he said.

Some students, including Urban Science Academy sophomore Dominique Miller, are so distraught with the idea that they are considering leaving the Education Complex.

"I might stay here, I might not stay here," Miller said.



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