The Manning Elementary School is looking to expand, adding a sixth grade for the next school year, according to Principal Ethan d’Ablemont Burnes.
The school has sent Boston Public Schools a letter about its plan.
BPS spokesperson Dan O’Brien said, “BPS cannot comment on the Manning School proposal at this time as it is still being reviewed.”
The Manning was recently recognized as a “School of Recognition” by the state Department of Education for high growth and exceeding targets. The Manning was one of 52 schools that received that honor and has the highest percentage of students with special needs, is the only school with an inclusion model for students with emotional impairments, and has achieved this recognition for the second time in five years, according to a statement by the school.
D’Ablemont Burnes said in a phone interview with the Gazette that they feel they’ve been “really successful” with their model of having the “most vulnerable students with emotional impairment in an inclusive setting.”
“We are excited to do that work and to do it well. We would love the opportunity to do more of that,” he said.
D’Ablemont Burnes said that there isn’t currently a continued pathway in BPS for students with emotional impairment to stay in an inclusive setting. He said that that means a student with emotional impairment might spend five or six years in an inclusive environment, but then might be placed in a separate setting after leaving the school. The principal said that inclusion “works for so many students” and research at the local and national level has proven that true.
The principal said that the idea is to keep fifth graders that they have now when they graduate to sixth grade next school year. The school currently has 22 students in fifth grade, but D’Ablemont Burnes said that does not mean they will all remain, as some students might end up elsewhere.
Asked about changes to the building, he said the school would need to do some maneuvering, but it would have relatively low facility costs.
“We are still figuring out the figure,” he said.
The principal said the Manning hopes to be part of the City’s BuildBPS plan.
“We can be a helpful piece in helping BPS and the mayor,” he said.