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Baker unveils new Springfield Prep Charter School

October 7, 2021 : The Reminder, by Matt Conway

SPRINGFIELD – On Sept. 23, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker helped unveil the new $20.4 million campus at Springfield Prep Charter School at 2071 Roosevelt Ave.

The governor delivered opening remarks along with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Founder and Executive Director Bill Spirer, Springfield Prep Assistant Principal Shawna Mitchell and founding student Cyrine Fioklou. According to the governor’s press release, the 50,000 square-foot location offers renovated facilities along with a college preparatory curriculum, subject-specific rooms and an innovative two-teacher model for classrooms. The school received funding from MassDevelopment and Boston Private to complete its development.

Spirer jumpstarted the ribbon-cutting event by recognizing the communal effort behind the new facility. “This is a special moment. It takes a huge amount of people to do a project like this and build a community like this. A building doesn’t make a school, it’s the people that do,” said Spirer. The executive director spotlighted the staff members, donors and parents that made the new school a reality, with Spirer calling parents the “most important partners,” in advocating and providing on students’ behalf.

In his remarks, Baker took time to reflect on the school’s glimmer of sunshine amidst the trials and tribulations of the pandemic. “As a guy who has been incredibly sad and distressed about so much of what the last 18 months has been about for kids, I will walk with this day and this place… in my mind and my memory. It will help me feel optimistic at a point in time where that has been enormously challenging,” said Baker.

During her speech, Polito showcased the prosperous learning environment that Springfield Prep Charter has developed. “The curriculum you have here is obviously second to none, but what I really think you’re doing here is teaching students how to think. The critical thinking, the problem solving, the collaboration, the self-respect, the encouragement and the sense of confidence these students have in the classroom is amazing,” said Polito.

From starting as a kindergarten teacher to becoming the Elementary Assistant Principal, Mitchell reflected on her six-year journey with the school. “Part of the reason I moved from New York City to Springfield, Mass. is because this school called me,” said Mitchell. Fioklou also shared her experiences growing up with the school, charting the numerous locations the ever-expanding school traversed through before opening their new doors.

Readers can learn more about Springfield Prep Charter School and their mission at https://www.springfieldprep.org/.