Welcome to School Year 2019-2020

Dear Bates School  Community,                     August 2019

It is with much joy that I send this letter to welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year. I have had the pleasure of working with Boston Public Schools for the last nine years. Last year I re-experienced firsthand the tireless work that goes on day after day to ensure that your children are safe, happy, and learning. In return, students at the Bates school work to meet the high expectations that you and their teachers have set for them. 

Our staff are eager to meet their new and returning students and kickoff what will be a great year of learning and growing. We look forward to hearing tales and stories of summer fun and sharing with students our own summer experiences. We are committed to supporting the academic and social emotional growth of your child and with your support we will have strong student leaders and a strong academic year.  

On a personal note, I am honored and excited to serve as the principal of the Phineas Bates Elementary School for a third year. As a dual language educator, I have a long history with teaching a second language and a personal history learning English as a second language. I have a strong belief in public education and a commitment to its purpose and goals. It is my career passion to lead with a team of dedicated teachers that work to ensure high quality education for all of their students. 

I am also eager to meet you all at events like the upcoming Popsicles with the Principal and at Family Council Meetings. I look forward to meeting and working with Bates families to ensure our students are thriving and succeeding.

This year, the Bates School will be adding a co-leader from Boston College’s Lynch Leadership Academy. Lynch Fellow, Antonelli Mejía, is eager and excited to join Team Bates and continue his work in supporting students, families, and teachers. See his bio:

Antonelli Mejía:Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Antonelli migrated to the United States in 2009 where he started his journey in Boston Public Schools as a student and later on as an ESL teacher, community coordinator and support counselor. He has a history of supporting students and families, particularly those who are recent immigrants to the country and are facing language barriers. In addition to his passion for working with students in the public district, Antonelli is also the founder of a nonprofit organization called, Herramientas Del Saber that aids educational readiness of students in his home country, the Dominican Republic. His experience in education has stretched between the charter and public school sector. Last year, Antonelli participated in the Aspiring Latino Leaders Fellowship Program, where he co-lead a consultancy project to increase family engagement for a school in the BPS district and recently served as a Lead School Culture Coordinator at the Up Academy Network, supporting school-wide systems to ensure the safety and positive experience for all students. 

Antonelli has collaborated in different projects with nonprofit organizations such as Educators For Excellence, where he co-wrote a research paper titled “Schools That Heal.” A research that proposed policy recommendations supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of students. Antonelli was also selected by the Univision Network, as one of three educators in the country for the “Nuestros Maestros” campaign, sharing his story to inspire other Latinos to pursue careers in education and become leaders in their communities. 

Antonelli holds a B.A. in Psychology and Human Resources from Boston College, and a Master’s of Education and Curriculum Training from Boston University.

This letter has much needed information for a solid start to our school year. If for any reason you need additional information or support please do not hesitate to contact us at 617-635-8064.

Arrival and Dismissal:

The Bates School hours are from 9:30 AM to 4:10 PM. It is very important that our students arrive on time and ready to learn. We know from experience and much research that the routines for all students are important to developing habits of work that they carry throughout their school career. Please also begin preparing your kindergartner and young students to enter school and to say goodbye to you. Whether you’re saying goodbye at home or at school, let them know you will see them soon and have a ritual for how to say goodbye (for example, fun handshake, 3 kisses and a whirl, 3 high fives…). This too will become their routine. The academic day begins at 9:30, but we all know that learning begins the moment a student enters the classrooms at 9:15. 

A safe and consistent dismissal is equally important. On the first day of school, please send a note with the plan for your child’s dismissal (walker, busser, or in the YMCA after school program). Dismissal begins promptly at 4:10 PM. Families should wait in the recess area at 4:05 to pick up their children on time. Changes in routine are discouraged because they cause confusion and have a higher risk for errors. Again, your child’s safe arrival is our priority. If there is an emergency requiring a change in dismissal plan please call the main office before 11:30 AM and send a note to your child’s teacher if possible.

Teachers will greet students outside on the playground on Thursday September 5th at 9:15 in the  morning. Kindergarteners will also be greeted outside on Tuesday the 9th at 9:15 in the morning by their teachers. Please wait with your child until this time. If your child is enrolled in the before-school YMCA program, you do not need to wait with your child.

For those of us with younger children in Kindergarten, research shows that it is best to say goodbye to your child at the playground and allow for teachers to transition them into the classroom. We know this can be challenging, but it is the best way to avoid separation anxiety. Some other tips to prepare our little ones include

  • Begin a dialogue about the transition (“Soon you’ll be staying with your teacher and new friends”).
  • Remind them of when you’ll see them at the end of the day to hear all about their first day.
  • On the day of, suggest that he wait in line to come in beside a special friend or near the teacher.


 The Bates School will no longer be a “uniform school”. This decision comes from multi-year conversations around equity with key stakeholders including our School and Family Council. 

Rodolfo Morales

Rodolfo Morales, Principal


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