Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper kicks off the 2023 Big Cheese Reads series at the Mario Umana Academy K-8 in East Boston. (Photo Credit: BPS)

Press Release: The Big Cheese Reads Initiative Celebrates 20 Years of Connection with BPS

Boston, MA – April 26, 2023 – Boston Partners in Education (BPIE), a nonprofit organization that supports Boston Public Schools (BPS) students through academic mentoring services, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Big Cheese Reads career exploration initiative.

Established in 2004, the Big Cheese Reads connects middle and high school students with Boston leaders who visit BPS classrooms to discuss their career paths. The initiative exposes BPS students to a wide variety of potential careers and encourages them to see the real-world application of academic subjects.

“The Big Cheese Reads has been a shining example of the importance of directly connecting corporate and civic leaders with middle school students, who are their future workforce,” said Steven Biondolillo, whose firm Biondolillo Associates created the longstanding program. “Reinforcing the link between literacy and career success is utterly vital, and BPIE, through the Big Cheese Reads and other high-touch programs, has done an outstanding job.”

Initially developed as Boston’s “first CEO-driven career exploration campaign,” the Big Cheese Reads has continued to serve as a crucial bridge between Boston Public Schools classrooms and Boston’s workforce. To date, the Big Cheese Reads has introduced tens of thousands of middle and high school students to hundreds of Boston’s brightest corporate, civic, and community leaders. This year, BPS Superintendent Mary Skipper, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, and chef Joanne Chang were among the many city leaders to visit classrooms through the initiative.

“For 20 years, we’ve been proud of our role as community connectors through the Big Cheese initiative,” said Erin McGrath, BPIE Executive Director. “Our vision for the next 20 years is to become even more active participants in preparing students for their pathways to success after high school. We’re excited to evolve this initiative to meet the changing needs of our students and educators.”

In celebration of this milestone achievement, BPIE will host a special 20th Anniversary Gala on May 5, 2023 – The Big Cheese Class Reunion. You can learn more about the Big Cheese’s 20th Anniversary campaign here.

The Big Cheese Reads is also a corporate fundraising initiative, which supports all of BPIE’s weekly in-school academic mentoring programs. Funds raised through the initiative enable BPIE to recruit, train, place, and support more mentors in Boston Public Schools classrooms.

About Boston Partners in Education
Founded in 1966, Boston Partners in Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) through our in-classroom academic mentoring services. We are a longstanding and trusted partner of BPS, responding to the needs of students and their teachers. We prepare volunteers of all ages and backgrounds from Boston’s diverse neighborhoods to serve as academic mentors to students. Our trained academic mentors work with students directly in the classroom during the school day for at least an hour each week. This consistent support helps any student fill academic gaps and build the self-confidence necessary to achieve their goals.