About 60,000 students in Boston are saying goodbye to summer as they enter their first day of classes today. Among those out to welcome new students to a new school year this morning was Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. But just before making the rounds to some of the city's 125 public schools, Walsh talked with WGBH News about what students and parents can expect this year.
After numerous school bus delays last year, city and school officials have been working all summer to address that and other issues. Mayor Walsh said they are aiming to reduce the number of grade configurations to not only ease the stress on parents and students, but also to make bus routes more efficient.
The summer was busy with enhancements and upgrades to school buildings and programs, the mayor added. One of the biggest improvements: free breakfast for hungry students. Walsh says their new food service vendor, Revolution Schools, will provide students with healthier and higher quality meals. The breakfast service will be tested in 50 classrooms around Boston.
"Unfortunately, many of our kids coming to school are coming to school hungry which hurts their learning ability," Walsh said. "We're going to be looking into this program to see how we can make sure we provide more opportunities for our young people."
And as the mayoral race ramps up, Walsh said his re-election campaign doesn't influence how much attention he gives to the quality of education in Boston.
"I think that the parents that have kids in our district, they're seeing the changes in our district," he said. "They're seeing the good things that are happening in the district. I think that the idea of other people taking an eye and looking at our district, saying that Boston Public Schools can be competitive with charter schools — we can be."
Click the audio link above to listen to the entire interview with Mayor Marty Walsh.