Noteworthy News for a New Year

Brooke Newsletter

While many people are still on summer vacation, Brooke is preparing for the start of our school year. Our new staff began orientation on July 25th, all staff return on August 1st, and our school year starts on August 11th with the first day of kindergarten. After 20 years of running schools, we know well the benefits of our longer school year for students and families.

Returning to a K-8 Model

Starting this August, we will be moving our eighth grade back to our Roslindale, Mattapan, and East Boston campuses, discontinuing the Eighth Grade Academy (8GA) model co-located with Brooke High School. While this information is not new for our staff and families (we began the transition last December), we want to share our learnings with our whole community.

Many factors played into this decision, but among the most important was the feedback we received from staff and families. Having an independent Eighth Grade Academy meant two transitions for our rising seventh graders (one to 8GA and then another to Brooke High School), which made it challenging for teachers and kids to build strong relationships and increased the amount of time our kids spent getting accustomed to new settings and ways of doing things. On the flip side, we have had a lot of success with our K-8 model. We know what a successful K-8 school looks and feels like, how to structure it, and how to capitalize on leadership opportunities for eighth graders within a K-8 community. In short, we are confident that moving back to a K-8 model will better set our teachers and kids up for success.

We originally created the Eighth Grade Academy primarily for space constraint reasons resulting from our growth in enrollment when we decided to admit new 6-8th graders as part of our high school expansion. At the time, we didn’t have the resources to build out more space at our K-8 campuses while also building a new high school. As we transition back to a K-8 model, solving space challenges is one of the big tasks ahead of us.

Leveraging Federal Funds

Public schools have been included in all three rounds of the federal government’s Coronavirus relief funding through ESSER funds. These federal dollars will bring Brooke more than $11 million in additional funding over five years. Before we applied for the grant, we engaged students, staff, families, and the broader community in spending priority conversations. We heard a strong desire to increase teachers’ salaries, hire more Associate Teachers, and provide more extracurricular opportunities during the school day, after school, and in the summer.

Since then, we have revamped our teacher compensation model and invested in summer opportunities through Camp Beyond, and we will continue to seek ways to address our community’s needs. We are committed to making these investments well beyond the five-year scope of ESSER grant. Fortunately, Brooke is in a strong financial position and can absorb these costs through our regular annual state funding.

Our financial position is made stronger by the fact that we can leverage the ESSER funds to pay for the facility enhancements we need to move our eighth graders back to our Roslindale, Mattapan, and East Boston campuses. This move will require substantial renovations, particularly in Mattapan and East Boston. In the near term, we are fortunate to be working with community partners to identify additional space until these renovations are complete.

More Information To Follow

We look forward to continuing to keep you updated on all things Brooke in the coming weeks and months, including our facilities projects. In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Hagar Berlin, our Chief Development Officer at