CHESP Summer Institute Boston Women through the Centuries ~ Lifting their Voices

Sidewalk History at its best. That’s how one teacher described the CHESP Summer Institute for Boston Public Schools high school educators. Based at the Old State House from July 11-15, 2005, the Institute was supported by a Learn and Serve America Community, Higher Education, School Partnership (CHESP) grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education. Credits for its design go to IMPACT II @ High School Renewal in collaboration with Boston Women’s Heritage Trail (BWHT), The Bostonian Society (TBS), Museum of Afro-American History (MAAH), and Adams National Historical Park.

Please join us in reviewing an exhilarating week of Learning about Boston Women in History.

Our home base at the Old State House feels like hallowed ground. The primary sources in its library can serve as fabulous resources. Climbing the tower was exciting, especially the view from the top. . . Charlestown High Teacher

Day 1 Welcomes, Overview, & Keynote Speakers: BWHT Vice President and The Bostonian Society’s Site Director Sue Goganian, BWHT President Sylvia MacDowell, BWHT Board Member and Author Susan Wilson, BWHT Board Member and Director of IMPACT II @ High School Renewal Barbara Locurto.

Susan Wilson’s enthusiasm and her The Literary Trail of Greater Boston will inspire many lessons for this fall’s project. . . East Boston High Teacher

Day 1 The Bostonian Society Council Chamber: Susan Wilson at Lunch Time Book Signing.

As a Jamaican of African background, I was particularly uplifted by Beverly Morgan-Welch’s presentation. I wish all Boston Public Schools students could hear her. . . English High Teacher

Day 2 Computer Slide Show Talk on African American Women and Tour of Joy Street and Museum of Afro American History: BWHT Board Member and Director of Development and Communications for MAAH Julie Crawford, National Park Ranger Horace Seldon, Executive Director of MAAH Beverly Morgan-Welch.

Horace Seldon is so informed. It was great learning about the African American women who lived on Beacon Hill. I would like more discussions about where race and gender connect. . . Excel High Teacher

Day 2 Joy Street Tour: All eyes on a historic site.

What a surprise to meet the ladies in Hear Us, the magnificent sculptures inside the State House. . . West Roxbury High Teacher

Day 2 Hear Us sculptures, Massachusetts State House: Charlestown High’s Valerie Wong and Karen Prussing admire plaque of Florence Luscomb.

I hope that Vera Johnson writes a book describing how students and teachers can develop neighborhood trails. . . Charlestown High Teacher

Day 2 Mendell Principal Vera Johnson details step-by-step directions for her student created West Roxbury Trail We Will Walk In Her Steps.

I felt as though I was really listening to Abigail, and I got a sense of what it was like to be a woman back then – difficult. . . Madison Park High Teacher

Day 3 Adams National Historical Park: Park Ranger Karen Yourell as Abigail Adams recounts her role in the American Revolution.

The simulated Continental Congress provides a wonderful model for classroom activities. . . East Boston High Teacher

Day 3 Adams National Historical Park: John Adams played by Re-enactor Henry Hicks listens to Delegates played by BPS Teachers.

Lucy, Abigail, Phillis: I’ll come to see you ladies on the Commonwealth Mall more often. Next time I’ll bring my students. . . Odyssey High Teacher

Day 3 Boston Women’s Memorial: Admiring Abigail, East Boston High’s Rich McDonough and Kathy Aborn, Burke High’s Joan Duane.

Sara Masucci gave me great ideas about public art debates. I’d like to take my AP language students to the Memorial and have them read Sculptor Meredith Bergman’s statement. . . Excel High School Teacher

Day 3 Boston Women’s Memorial: Speakers Sara Masucci. author of Boston Women’s Memorial Curriculum Writing For Change: The Power of Women’s Words, and BWHT Board Member and Executive Director Boston Women’s Commission Marie Turley.

Our walk through the Boston Public Library was quite an adventure. Not growing up in Boston, I’ve never been beyond the newer section. I especially enjoyed the Adams Collection. . . Charlestown High Teacher

Day 3 Walking to the Boston Public Library: BWHT Board Member Michelle Jenney describes the former First Spiritual Center and Exeter Theater.

Today’s lunchtime display showed how long Boston students and teachers have engaged in BWHT trails and activities. . . The Engineering School at Hyde Park Teacher

Day 4: BWHT Treasurer and Publications Specialist for the Boston Public Schools Gretchen O’Neill with a copy of her latest BPS issue of Connections.

All Phillis all the time! I cannot get enough information about her. I imagine her in the third row. Did she ever yearn to sit in the first? Another Course to College Teacher

Day 4 Tour of the Old South Meeting House: Nancy Holcomb shows a portrait of Phillis Wheatley.

I am impressed that Alma Wright chose living women for her Roxbury’s Women’s History Trail. . . The Engineering School at Hyde Park Teacher

Day 5: BWHT Board Member and Trotter Teacher Alma Wright shows and tells how she and her students developed a neighborhood women’s trail.

Funded by:

TeachNet Service Learning is administered by Boston Public Schools Affiliate IMPACT II @ High School Renewal.
Supporting TeachNet are Special Assistant to the Superintendent for High School Renewal, Kathleen Mullin; IMPACT II Affiliate Director Barbara Locurto; WebMaster Andrew Binns; Web Advisor Linda Younis, High School Renewal; School to Career Program: Linda Younis; Project Assistant Jean Gibran. For more information, email

Back to CHESP Home Page