(9-2-99) -- Boston College has received a $5 million gift to further the Lynch School of Education's outreach to the Allston-Brighton public schools.
The gift, from an anonymous donor, has established the Boston Collaborative Fellows Program, which, beginning this fall, will partner faculty and students from the Lynch School of Education with Boston teachers and school professionals on special teams in the Allston-Brighton schools.
LSOE Dean Mary Brabeck described the fledgling program as "a superb demonstration that schools of education are finding innovative ways to overcome institutional barriers and to bring faculty expertise to the schools and communities they serve, while increasing knowledge about educating urban youth."
Brabeck said a typical team might consist of an LSOE professor and graduate student, and a teacher, administrator or counselor from the Allston-Brighton schools working together on new ways to improve teaching and learning. Fellowships from the new fund will support each team for up to three years. Three or four teams are envisioned at the outset.
"If our collaborative efforts are successful, this program can change the culture of higher education to become more deeply responsive to the needs of contemporary urban schools," said Brabeck.
The Boston Collaborative Fellows program represents Boston College's latest community-partnership initiative in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. LSOE which conducts research on the complex issues that schools face helped establish the Extended Services Program at the Thomas Gardner Elementary School in Allston, which offers everything from job counseling to English classes for pupils' families. Scores of BC students and employees also volunteer as tutors or mentors for local schoolchildren, while the BC Neighborhood Center and the Allston-Brighton-Boston College Community Fund have been involved in efforts to boost educational opportunities in the area.
"This gives classroom teachers the opportunity to raise questions about instruction and to work with learned people at the college level who will help answer those questions," said Patrice DiNatale, cluster leader for the Allston-Brighton schools. "The bottom line is results for students."
Brabeck said the gift helps place LSOE at the forefront of a national drive to "develop higher-education institutions that are deeply democratic in the sense of serving the public good, while adding to the knowledge base of the field.
"The Collaborative Fellows Program provides us with an opportunity to become what the Kellogg Commission called an 'engaged university,' where 'first-rate undergraduate and graduate programs ... prepare students to respond to the complex issues of the society they will enter,'" Brabeck said in an open letter to faculty announcing the gift.
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