A small charter school in Massachusetts is sending a team to the Division 3 state championships. The school has no gym. The coach is the custodian.

The story has a great lead:

SPRINGFIELD — Someone was shaking him. Reggie Morris pried open one eye, looked at the clock — 6:30 a.m. — then glared at his mother in utter disbelief. “Get up,” Isabelle Morris said. “And put these on.”

She tossed him a pair of navy blue shorts and a white shirt.

“You’re starting at your new school in an hour and a half,” she said.

New school? It was Aug. 11. What kind of school held classes in the summer?

“I’ll tell you on the way,” she said.

There was plenty to tell. Isabelle explained to her son that she was concerned about his choice of friends. She was afraid he was slipping away from her, toward the junkies on the corner, and she couldn’t allow that to happen. Without telling him, she had filled out an application for New Leadership, a charter school in Springfield founded by the Urban League with hopes of rescuing underperforming city kids. Reggie would attend classes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. He would wear a uniform every day. He would go to school 24 Saturdays a year. He would be required to take a training course in conjunction with the Army National Guard.

“No way, Mom,” Reggie said. “I’m not going.”

Reggie went.

About Joanne


  1. I’m originally from (a tiny suburb of) Springfield. Some of their charter schools are good, but I’d actually heard bad things about New Leadership. I remember when the city opened a new Science & Technology high school. There were no operating computers, and the gangs realized that a new school would be less likely to give them trouble, so it actually was the worst high school violence-wise for a while.

  2. Jack Tanner says:

    Fabulous classic Boston Globe unsubstantiated racism claim that the kids faced prejudice because they were an inner city school playing in division 3. No attributions to the claim but I guess it’s just a given that it happened. Whoops –
    Rockland 63-60.

  3. D. Cooper says:

    I applaud what this school has done for these kids. And although there was no mention of costs or funding, I wonder what they might have been. But, isn’t it a sad commentary; the great lengths that we need to go through to keep kids out of jail. It ought to be a no brainer, not requiring such gargantuan efforts. The problem is, this needs to be done on such a large scale that it becomes next to impossible. I’m not saying don’t try, but as you can probably see from the article the mothers (as usual) are the ones left alone to make this happen.Unfortunately, mothers such as these are few and far between.