What Meals Are Provided for My Child?
Boston Public Schools (BPS) serve breakfast and lunch every day, available to all children. Children can also bring their own lunch. Last year lunch in elementary schools was $2.25 and breakfast is free for all students. To find out if you qualify for free or reduced-price meals for your child, call the BPS Department of Food Services at (617) 635-9144. Many of the after school programs offer a free, healthy snack, and some even offer a light dinner.
Are There After-School Programs at My Child's School??
More than half of the elementary schools offer after school programs right in the school building every day. Some have before school programs, too. You can also choose from more than 240 other Boston programs at community locations, offering art and music, homework time and recreation. Each year, Parents United for Childcare (PUCC) publishes a guide to Boston’s before and after school programs available at the Family Resource Centers. For more information, talk with individual schools or any of the resources listed below:
BPS After School Staff: (617) 635-1578
Childcare Choices of Boston: (617) 542-KIDS
The Mayor’s 2:00 – 6:00 After School Initiative: (617) 635-1578
Parents United for Child Care (PUCC): (617) 426-8288
Boston Youth Zone
Does Boston Public Schools Offer Bi Lingual Programs for My Child?
Knowing more than one language is a gift.
- If English is not your child’s first language or another language is spoken at home, and your child is going to enter K2, while at the FRC, your child will be referred to the Newcomer Assessment and Counseling Center (NACC) for an English language evaluation. This will determine whether s/he needs additional programming to support his/her English language development. School choices for English Language Learners will then be made at the NACC.
There are different kinds of bilingual education programs available in the BPS. The first is "transitional" classes for children to learn academic subjects in their native language, while working to improve their English enough to re-join general education classes. (These are offered in Chinese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Ask at your PIC which schools offer each program.) The second kind of program is "multilingual" classes, where students who speak different languages study all subjects together in English, with support to improve their English. The third program, offered currently at three schools, is called "two-way" or "dual" bilingual education. Students who are native English speakers learn alongside native Spanish speakers – and each child learns both languages. For more information, call the English Language Learner Department at (617) 635-9435.
What Special Education Services Are Available for My Child?
The BPS offers a range of services for children who have one or more disabilities. Services sometimes can begin as early as age 3. If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, seeing, talking, or physical or emotional development, you can call (617) 635-7800 to make an appointment for one of the free monthly screening sessions. (The department you’ll be calling is now named "Unified Student Services.") After the screening, the school professionals will work with you and with relevant community agencies to determine whether special services or programs are needed, and if so, which ones are best for your child.
Is My Child Eligible for Bus Transportation?
Children who live more than a mile from their elementary school automatically get assigned to a bus (which you do not have to use). In mid-August, you’ll receive in the mail your bus number, the time it will pick up your child each day, and the stop closest to your home. You can request an "alternative" stop for your child within your zone, if he/she needs to be picked up at a neighbor’s house before school, or dropped off at an after school program, etc. The BPS will approve your request if an existing bus travels near the stop you need and there’s room on that bus. Ask for an alternative transportation form at your Family Resource Center as soon as you know you’ll need it, since it can take two to three weeks to process the request. Call the BPS Transportation Department at (617) 635-9520 with any questions or concerns.