Wildcats Can't Wait
Coalition for a New Winter Hill Community Innovation School (WHCIS)

We Need a New School Building!

Security camera footage showing concrete falling in a central WHCIS stairwell. (Source: Boston 25 News.)

In the evening of Thursday, June 1, 2023, Winter Hill families received news that school would be closed the following day due to structural damage: concrete falling in a stairwell.

The school was closed for the rest of the school year and students were hastily dispersed to sites throughout Somerville and Medford after missing 4 days of learning.

But educators and parents have been pleading with City Hall for years for comprehensive attention to their school building.

Now families and educators are being split apart for the 2023-2024 school year, and likely much longer, with PK and K to be hosted at Capuano Early Childhood Center and grades 1–8, our autism program, and our program for new immigrant middle schoolers to be hosted at the dilapidated Edgerly building, both located across a major highway from the school's neighborhood. The school community is being held hostage indefinitely by a total lack of urgency and dedication to opacity from City of Somerville government.

Our children and their educators regularly encounter:

water-damaged walls • broken toilets and drinking fountains • mold
rodent infestation • extreme heat • insufficient ventilation •  poor internet connectivity
crowded conditions • broken elevator • roofs and ceilings caving in

The walls are so thin that students have to be quiet when neighboring classrooms are taking tests.

There are counselors providing legally mandated IEP services inside converted closets.

This is no way to receive an education!

The Problem

The Winter Hill school building has been in disrepair for years. Parents and educators have been pleading with city hall for over a decade for dedicated attention and funding for comprehensive fixes, and now it's clear the building is beyond salvageable. Our children and educators should not have to deal with water-damaged walls, broken toilets and drinking fountains, mold, rodent infestation, extreme heat, insufficient ventilation, poor internet connectivity, crowded conditions, a chronically broken elevator that makes learning spaces inaccessible to students and educators, roofs and ceilings caving in, and most recently, the school being closed suddenly and indefinitely after an incident of falling concrete. Our city leaders must take swift and equitable action to secure a safe and stable school building for our students and staff.

Immediate Asks

✒️ Write to Mayor Katjana Ballantyne (mayor@somervillema.gov) and your City Councilor* 🖋️

We are asking the community to email elected officials no later than June 21, 2023. June 21 is the City of Somerville's "cut night" at which City Councilors have the opportunity to remove items from Mayor Ballantyne's FY24 budget (City Council cannot add budget items). Please use this opportunity to show support for WHCIS students and staff by demanding:

City Councilors by Ward (Neighborhood):

Ward 1. Matt McLaughlin: mattforward1@gmail.com

Ward 2. J.T. Scott: jtscott@somervillema.gov

Ward 3. Ben Ewen-Campen: benforward3@gmail.com

Ward 4. Jesse Clingan: aldermanclingan@gmail.com

Ward 5. Beatriz Gomez Mouakad: gomezmouakad.ward5@gmail.com

Ward 6. Lance Davis: lancedavisward6@gmail.com

Ward 7. Judy Pineda Neufeld: judyforward7@gmail.com

In addition to the Councilors for your own Ward, we encourage you to contact all At-Large Councilors (who cover the whole city of Somerville) as well as sending us a copy of your letter at WHCISbuildinginfo@gmail.com.


Willie Burnley, Jr.: wburnley@somervillema.gov

Charlotte Kelly: ckelly@somervillema.gov

Kristen Strezo: strezoatlarge@gmail.com

Jake Wilson: jwilson@somervillema.gov

* Determine your Ward number and City Councilor based on your address. You can email the entire City Council at citycouncil@somervillema.gov (but it might be helpful to note your address or Ward). Our School Committee representatives also love to receive email from constituents!