Tag Archives: Cambridge Schools

Breakthrough Cambridge inspires students, teachers, visitors

Kennedy-Longfellow School,
158 Spring St.,
Cambridge, MA 02141

Cambridge – I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring one of Cambridge’s true educational treasures at the Kennedy-Longfellow school in East Cambridge. Breakthrough Cambridge is a local nonprofit dedicated to inspiring middle school students and setting them on the path to college. The summer program, completely free for its students, accepts aspiring 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who show a demonstrated need. Breakthrough then shows these students that learning — even over the summer — can be creative, inspirational, spirited, and fun.

Breakthrough students examine the ethos, pathos, and logos of Supreme Court decisions with their teacher (center)

Along with a rigorous curriculum, students are actively engaged to learn and participate by unleashing their own creativity. During our visit we were fortunate enough to see two skits, written and perfomed by the students themselves, relating facts about the ancient olympics to their modern lives. The teachers, highly motivated college students from across the nation, each brought their own passion and creativity to the job. Both the teachers and students said they learn from each other every day, and the results were evident in their enthusiasm. Breakthrough Cambridge creates an inspirational environment to help these kids reach their full potential.

left to right: (top)Vice Mayor Sam Seidel, Councillor Larry Ward, teacher Nebeu Shimeles, Nace Cohen
(bottom) BTC Executive Director Alison Glastein, School Committee member Nancy Tauber, School Committee member Marc McGovern, students Abdullahi D. and Atianna R., teacher Aquillia Mikel, Mayor Denise Simmons, and myself

If you have any questions about the Breakthrough program please contact the Summer Program Director, Sarah Joslyn at

Phone: (617)599-9826

For more information follow these links
Breakthrough Cambridge:
Breakthrough Cambridge Blog:

East End House Visits the State House

BOSTON – State House, Beacon Hill map
Additional photos here

I had the opportunity to host a group of students from the East End House (105 Spring St, Cambridge) for a tour of the State House. The group learned some Massachusetts history from the State House tour guides, including the mystery of what’s under the Golden dome.

After the official tour, we took a trip to the House chamber and out onto the floor.

Dave Madden and the East End House students take a turn at the podium.

They had a chance to explore and ask questions from the same seats legislators have cast their votes from for over 200 years. Could we be seeing the next generation of legislators and public servants in this group?

We finished the Friday visit with hot chocolate and donuts back in my office. All in all it was the perfect ending to a busy week. They were a great group and I hope they had as much fun as I did.

Visiting Le Cordon Bleu

Last spring I visited the brand new Boston campus of the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Originally founded in Paris in 1895, Le Cordon Bleu has developed a reputation for academic and culinary excellence, and the residents of the larger metro-Boston area are very lucky to now have the institution’s newest campus in our own backyard.

When I first visited, the halls were quiet and the first group of students had just arrived. When I returned at the end of September, the halls were bustling, the classroom kitchens were filled, and good smells filled the air. I had the opportunity to speak with several chefs as well as students about their experiences so far, and their responses were overwhelmingly positive.

From Le Cordon Bleu

Chef Ying-Wei Luo, who is currently the pastry chef at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge and teaches Introduction to Baking and Pastry, invited me into his classroom to meet his students and try a freshly baked roll. The students were all very engaged in their work, and their rolls were excellent.

From Le Cordon Bleu
From Le Cordon Bleu

I also spent time speaking with a few students from Cambridge and Somerville, who were all very glad to have the opportunity to attend this world-class school of culinary arts right outside of Boston. All-in-all, this is a fantastic institution, and is a great addition to the already thriving academic community in Cambridge.

FY 2009 Local Aid for Cambridge and Somerville

In the Fiscal Year 2009 State Budget approved by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor, both Cambridge and Somerville saw increases in the amount of aid that they receive from the state. There are three types of assistance that cities and towns receive from the state:

1. Chapter 70 funding. The Chapter 70 program is the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools.
2. Additional Assistance.
3. Lottery Aid funded through Lottery revenues.

All three types of assistance are crucial to municipalities, and I’m very pleased that we were able to oversee increases in the bottom line for both cities that I represent.



Chapter 70 Funding:


Additional Assistance:


Total Lottery Aid:




Total Increase over FY 2008:



Chapter 70 Funding:


Additional Assistance:


Total Lottery Aid:




Total Increase over FY 2008:

Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

Fiscal Year 2008 Budget


Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session: