Ellis Mendell School
Boston Public Schools
When Julia Bott took leadership at Ellis Mendell School 11 years ago, she quickly observed that the school’s traditional approach to general and special education instruction was producing disproportionately negative outcomes for students of color. Ever since, she has set out to transform the school toward an authentic culture of inclusion by working closely with teachers, students, families, and the broader community to articulate a vision, identify problems of practice, and learn from successful inclusion models. Through a years-long process involving comprehensive assessments, planning, and stakeholder input, Mendell has successfully transitioned to an integrated model in which “students of all ability levels are authentically engaging in standards-aligned, rigorous learning opportunities in the general education setting and families are authentically engaged as co-leaders and educators in [the] community.” Simultaneously, Bott has led the refinement of the school’s approach to instructional planning, fostering a culture of achievement through precise, data-driven assessments, with a particular focus on ensuring that disadvantaged students are experiencing growth at pace with their peers. Thanks to her efforts, Mendell has risen from being on the cusp of underperformance to being a top-performing school within Boston Public Schools. Bott serves on a district-level Inclusion Task Force and Advanced Work Planning Committee to support schools across Boston in pursuing inclusive instruction practices. She holds an M.Ed. in Administration and a B.A. from Boston College.