by George J Elbaum
Boston Latin School (BLS) is a public “magnet”/”exam” school founded in 1635. It’s the oldest school in the United States and it has an economically and culturally diverse enrollment of 2350 students in grades 7 to 12. BLS seeks to ground its students in a contemporary classical education as preparation for successful college studies and the result is 99% college acceptances of its graduating students. It accomplishes this with the aid of Small Learning Communities for grades 7 and 8 to ease the transition into its demanding academic environment, which includes a challenging honors curriculum with 24 Advanced Placement courses in addition to the regular course offerings. In addition to its outstanding academics, BLS also offers extensive extracurricular, athletic, community service and artistic opportunities such as its outstanding choral and instrumental music wherein its students are selected to play with Boston Pops. BLS was named a 2011 “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence”, the U.S. Department of Education’s highest award, and its reputation in Boston is best described by the city’s premier newspaper: “Latin – the nation’s oldest public school – is a place of vaulting aspirations, an exam school that occupies a singular spot in the city’s civic pantheon.”
My presentation was to several 8th grade classes of English, US History, and Theater Arts, including that of teacher Molly McDonald-Long, who organized this event and was supported by Cate Arnold and Joe Gels. Judi Bohn of Facing History and Ourselves arranged my talk, as she had most of my talks in the Boston area.