Boston Globe: A dream come true, new playground opens at Roxbury school

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.

Read the article on the Boston Globe website.

Rafael Hernandez Schoolyard Project

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.

Mayor Walsh meets with students
Mayor Walsh met with the 8th-grade leaders at the school.

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!