Obituaries 03-08-2019

Sandra Stone

Sandra White Stone daughter of Dorothy Lawler White of Dorchester and Raymond T White of Rhode Island was raised with her marvelous sister Barbara White Kelley in a loving home in Dorchester. Graduate of Girl’s Latin School in 1964, Sandy won a full scholarship to Boston University where she met her lifelong friend Margarita Muniz. Both went forward from BU to change/improve the Boston Public Schools.

Sandy became a 4th and 5th grade teacher at the Agassiz school in Jamaica Plain (now known as the Margarita Muniz Academy), while Margarita established the first two-way bilingual school in Boston which later became the Rafael Hernandez School near the Jamaica Plain/Roxbury line.

After 15 years in the classroom teaching 4th and 5th grade, Sandy decided to become an English as a second language teacher. She finished the coursework for a Master’s Degree in ESL teaching at BU and then took herself and her two boys to Spain to live for four months so she could truly understand the difficulties faced by foreign children trying to learn English. Once back in the classroom, she quickly became popular in the immigrant community and a “wait list” was started due to her class’ popularity. Over the years that “wait list” for Mrs. Stone’s class became longer and longer such that the BPS headquarters brought that phenomenon to the attention of the US Department of Education in Washington DC. In response to that advisory, the US Dept. of Education sent a senior staffer to sit in her class for an entire week taking notes on Sandy’s innovative style. Four months later the US Dept. of Education sent a 4 person film crew from California to her classroom for an entire week to capture her magic with the students. Sandy’s impact in the classroom can be best understood by the fact that her students were held to the same testing standards as native English speakers and were successful. This despite the fact that she had students with as many as 14 different native languages in her classroom at the same time. Parents from Armenia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Malaysia and China found out about the magic happening in Boston’s James Hennigan public school and added their children’s names to Sandra Stone’s classroom waiting list. In 2001 when her students noticed that Sandy was repeating her class room lessons, they went to the principal and she was subsequently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

Three years ago, Alzheimer’s robbed Sandy of her capacity to speak and walk. Because she could not contribute to any conversation, Sandy began to feel irrelevant and fell into an increasing depression. Fortunately her kind neighbors on Aldworth St JP allowed her husband to share her teaching achievements at the annual block party as Sandy sat nearby in a wheelchair and smiled broadly, lifting her mood. We will be forever grateful for that. For 18 years Sandy valiantly fought the disease and finally succumbed on Feb 22, 2019. Her husband Frank Stone, and sons Frank and Andrew all of Jamaica Plain will greatly miss this wonderful woman.

A wake was  held at Mann and Rodgers Funeral Home on Perkins St in Jamaica Plain on Wednesday February 27 and a burial procession to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Lawrence .

Gifts of remembrance in lieu of flowers to The Salvation Army would be appreciated.

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