After-School Changes Anger Local Parents

In the first meeting led by recently elected mayor Henrietta Davis, the Cambridge City Council said farewell to a longtime official, heard concerns about after-school programming, and even took a moment to talk about Lady Gaga.

D. Margaret Drury, the city clerk of the past 20 years, swore in her interim successor, Donna P. Lopez.

Drury announced her retirement in mid-January and will be replaced by Lopez, the deputy city clerk.

Students and parents from two Cambridge schools attended the meeting to protest changes to the schools’ after-school program.

The two pre-kindergarten through eighth grade schools—the Amigos School, which educates students in both English and Spanish through a dual-language immersion program, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School—currently share a building and conduct after-school programs jointly.

When the building, which is located across from Peabody Terrace, is remodeled next year, the two schools will move to separate temporary locations, and the Amigos School will take the after-school program with it.

The King School will relocate for the next three years to the Longfellow School, where an after-school program is already in place. Parents of King students said on Monday, however, that the Longfellow offerings lack the quality of the art, science, and music classes their children currently enjoy after school.

“They have very limited enrichment programs for after school,” said Wendy A. Noblett, whose daughter is a third grader at the King School.

Councillor David P. Maher attributed much of the ballyhoo to a lack of communication between the city and the public, but he said that he also understood the source of the parents’ concerns.

“You’re taking one building that services two schools, and you’re splitting them up, so the person they’re used to in those buildings is really only going with half the community,” Maher said. “I understand the angst about that.”

Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves ’72 submitted a resolution congratulating Lady Gaga on the launch of her Born This Way Foundation, which will be feted at an event in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Wednesday.

Reeves—who attended the Cultural Rhythms celebration on Saturday, where John Legend accepted the Harvard Foundation’s annual “Artist of the Year” award—praised Legend and Lady Gaga for both their musical abilities and their philanthropic work.

The Council also recognized the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School men’s basketball team for its victory over Billerica on Monday night in the first round of playoffs. The team will face off against Westford on March 1.

—Staff writer Maya S. Jonas-Silver can be reached at mayajonas-silver@college.harvard.edu.

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