Health careers school to move here

December 9, 2011
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The Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (EKA), a unique Boston Public Schools charter high school—is scheduled to move into the former Farragut School building next year.

The school’s 9th and 10th grade classes will move into the building at 10 Fenwood Rd. The school’s upper-grade classes will remain at its current location on the Northeastern University campus.

The school move is part of Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) 2012 Facilities Plan, which was approved by the school board last month.

EKA’s enrollment will go from 220 to 400 over the next four years under the plan, somewhat easing the strain on its 796-student wait-list, said EKA Headmaster Caren Walker Gregory.

Founded in 1995 as a partnership between BPS and Northeastern University, the school was named after Kennedy after the senator died in 2010.

“It’s a place for students to prepare themselves to realize their dreams of becoming doctors, nurses, researchers, social workers” or any one of about 350 health care professions, Walker Gregory told the Gazette.

When students enter in the 9th grade, “They are usually thinking doctors or nurses,” she said. But, through partnerships with Northeastern University and Longwood Medical Area institutions—most notably Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)—they are exposed to a wide array of career options, she said. The school has a 91.5 percent graduation rate, and 90 percent of the students go on to college, according to the BPS website.

One major bonus of the move to the Hill is that the school will be a stone’s throw from BWH and the rest of the LMA. That will mean students can walk there for internships and other programs. And it will hopefully mean the school can strengthen its relationship with BWH and other local partners, including the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, she said.

“Now we can literally walk across the street,” Walker Gregory said.

The building will also undergo some renovations. State-of-the-art laboratories will be installed and at least some of the classrooms will be fitted with digital “smart boards”—white boards with Internet connections that teachers and students can also write on, and save their work.

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