In December of 2010, the Boston School Committee voted to support Superintendent Carol Johnson’s plan to close or merge more than a dozen schools beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. The plan is a continuation of Boston Public Schools' Redesign and Reinvest effort to create a more parent- and student-friendly system offering the best school options to all students—no matter where they live. Among the merging schools were Brook Farm Service Academy and Media Communications Technology High School.
As principal, Rudy Weekes was faced with a unique challenge: to merge the academic and social cultures of these two communities into one unified school. Working with his Lynch Leadership Academy coach Patricia Kelly, Weekes initiated his school growth project titled Building WRA Community Focus: The Merger of Brook Farm Academy and Media Communications Technology into One School.
One of Weekes’s first undertakings was to rename the school. This past December, the Boston School Committee approved of the renaming of the school to West Roxbury Academy.
“This was one of the first successes of the school growth project,” Weekes said. “It gave us the opportunity to begin to brand West Roxbury Academy as WRA. The letters 'WRA' are not only the initials of 'West Roxbury Academy,' but have become the school-wide instructional focus of Write, Read, and Analyze. As a community focus, WRA is Willingness to face challenges, Respect for one’s self, and Accountability to the community. The WRA model focuses on the whole student and gives clear direction to our students, teachers, staff, and administration.”
As the project progresses, Weekes will shift his attention to focus on the effect the teacher instruction has on improving student performance and outcome.
“My colleagues at the Lynch Leadership Academy are an amazing source of support for me. The key take-away from the Academy is that we have formed a support network of principals. My Lynch Leadership coach is amazing. Her advice has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone,” Weekes said.