Published January 15, 2020


LYNNFIELD — The School Department is looking to enroll four METCO students into the district’s kindergarten program next year.

Superintendent Jane Tremblay said during the School Committee’s January 7 meeting that the school system typically enrolls four METCO students into the kindergarten program each fall.

“Based on enrollment, we will decide where those students will go,” said Tremblay. “Ideally, we would like to enroll two at Summer Street School and two at Huckleberry Hill School. We tend to make that decision closer to June as opposed to now.”

Tremblay said METCO Director Curtis Blyden informed her that a sibling of a current student is slated to enroll in the kindergarten program next year.

“Typically, we always take the siblings of students who are currently here,” said Tremblay. “It makes the enrollment process go smoother. It’s nice because families know the program and know what the commitment is to the program.”

School Committeeman Phil McQueen inquired if the School Department could potentially add more than four METCO students next year.

Tremblay said both herself and the School Committee have traditionally believed enrolling four METCO students would ensure kindergarten classes don’t exceed the district’s class size guidelines.

“Those are the kind of things the committee needs to look at when we are taking in METCO students,” said Tremblay.

Tremblay also noted the school system previously enrolled METCO students into first grade before officials decided to begin enrolling students at the kindergarten level.

“One of the things we were finding out was that students who had an opportunity to be in our kindergarten program, make friends, and get our very rich curriculum in kindergarten tend to have been more successful moving on to first grade and through the grades,” said Tremblay. “There are some larger cities and towns who will take METCO students in grades 6, 7 and 8. Since we are such a teeny-tiny community and our cohorts are generally smaller, we felt the transition for the students coming in is best at kindergarten.”

School Committee Chairman Jamie Hayman said Blyden “has opened our eyes to what is possible with METCO.”

“I think that is a question we need to continue to ask,” said Hayman in regards to McQueen’s question. “I have asked whether we can expand the program in the past as well. As we start to have a resolution around some of the space issues and know where we will be able to house everyone in future, I think that is a real opportunity we need to explore.”

The School Committee is scheduled to vote on accepting the four new METCO students on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Blyden told the school board last October there are 34 students currently enrolled in the program. There are nine students at Lynnfield High School, 11 at Lynnfield Middle School, nine at Huckleberry Hill School and five students at Summer Street School. The students are from Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury and the South End.