Our March 29 Schoolyard Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony was an incredible celebration of student leadership. The entire class of 2017 — now 9th graders at high schools around the city — returned for the celebration. Two of the students joined Principal Ana Tavares, Mayor Marty Walsh, BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang, and teacher Jess Madden-Fuoco on the stage, addressing the crowd to tell the story of the schoolyard and the work they put into the renovation and fundraising campaign.
The Boston Globe covered the opening of our schoolyard this week! They write:
As a sea of colorful streamers and cheering children flooded the new $1.25 million playground at the Rafael Hernandez K-8 Dual Language School in Roxbury, a group of former students watched and smiled with pride.
Three years ago, the ninth graders led the effort to replace their old, broken playground with a colorful, challenging new one. There’s a ropes course, a paved four-square area and turf-covered green space, among other features.
On Thursday, the former students joined Mayor Martin J. Walsh and other officials to cut a big, red ribbon on the playground they helped to plan, design and raise money for.
Our art teacher, Raquel Cardoso, started a blog to highlight the work of Hernández students and give young artists the opportunity to share their work with the world! There will also be articles, talks and other interesting art related news, as well as teacher work. Enjoy the samples below and check out Raquel’s art blog!
On March 1, Hernandez students shared their science work with our larger community. It was amazing to see the range and depth of projects — from penguins to electricity to mythical creatures and habitats to jellyfish:
Beginning in 2016, the Rafael Hernández 7th grade class began an in-depth project to advocate for a new schoolyard at our school to replace our mostly broken, 17-year-old park. The students conducted research with our student body, visited playgrounds for examples of parks, surveyed families, and met with architects and planners.
Check out the video they made documenting the project:
The project carried over into the students’ 8th-grade year. The designs that they created with a team of architects included new rubber surfaces to replace our woodchips, new play structures to replace our broken slides and climbing areas, better use of our space, an outdoor classroom (thanks to a grant from Boston Water & Sewer), and a soccer field with artificial turf for our students and community:
Then their advocacy work began in earnest. The students met with City Councilors, BPS officials, and community members to make their case for a new schoolyard. They wrote letters, talked with friends, communicated with local businesses, and made phone calls and presentations.
In short, they were amazing community leaders — and upon graduation in June of 2017, they knew they were leaving our school an incredible legacy gift of an updated schoolyard that would transform our outdoor space.
We could not have been happier when our schoolyard opened to our students and community in November of 2017. It is amazing!
In the 2013-2014 school year, 826 Boston worked with our 5th-grade students on poetry. Their work culminated in this incredible video project, “I’m a Flame You Can’t Put Out:”
In March of 2015, the Rafael Hernández Girls’ Robotics Team was the highlight of an evening with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. The event, The Next Frontier: Latinos in the Tech Sector, featured the governor as the special guest. The Rafael Hernandez robotics program is led by two of our teachers, Roselynn Rodriguez and Victoria Perez.
In 2013 and 2014, our 7th-grade students worked with art teacher Trevor Wallace on their “Legacy Project” to transform our school’s courtyard:
Some Hernández families walked together in the annual Wake Up the Earth community celebration parade from Egleston Square to Stonybrook in May of 2015. A K1 student and a 1st grader held the banner for part of the parade!
In May of 2015, Hernández 1st graders painted banners for Teacher Appreciation Week during the after-school program:
Parents organized a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast that same week. We are so grateful for our teachers!