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Excellence and Equity for All: Unlocking Opportunities for Off-Track Youth in Boston Public Schools

May 1, 2018

In 2007, Boston Public Schools commissioned a report from EY-Parthenon to examine how the district was serving youth who were off-track to graduate from high school. That examination of the dropout pipeline revealed a serious need for improvement and was followed by investments in some crucial areas, and in alternative education in particular, to better serve our youth. Since then, significant efforts have been made by BPS and by the Boston community as a whole to support all of our students not just to graduation, but also to a fruitful life after high school. Thanks to these concerted efforts, the BPS four-year graduation rate has risen from 57.9% in 2007 to 72.7% in 2017. Over the same time frame, the annual dropout rate has fallen from 7.9% to 3.6%. But these improvements are not enough. This second report updates our understanding of how our secondary schools support our youth who are off-track to graduate. The results of this study support what we suspected: (1) some of our own policies are contributing to the inadequate service for our youth and (2) our practices are not yet sufficiently developed to prevent students from falling off-track or to help them recover fully if they do. 

Breaking Down Silos to Put Students on the Path to Success: The Promise of Early College in Massachusetts

December 1, 2016

This report assesses the potential impact that early college high schools could have on student outcomes in Massachusetts. This report follows a call from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Higher Education (the Boards) at a joint session in January 2016. The two Boards share a priority of seeking strategies to help advance an important, fundamental goal in our state: more students, especially low-income students and those who are potential first-generation college-goers, completing a postsecondary credential and being prepared to succeed in careers and in life.This final report both summarizes the findings of the research in the Commonwealth and across the country, and proposes a framework for a Massachusetts Early College Initiative that could extend our state's leadership in public education.

Evaluating Evaluations: Using Teacher Surveys to Strengthen Implementation

April 22, 2013

Substantial progress has been made in the last several years in establishing meaningful teacher evaluation systems in K12 education, creating the foundation for improving teacher performance. Evaluating teachers is necessary but not sufficient, however, to improve instruction toward the ultimate goal of increasing student achievement. The evaluation reform movement will have failed if these more rigorous evaluations do not translate into system-wide improvements in teacher effectiveness within the next five years. To convert evaluation information into more effective teaching, teachers, principals, and system leaders need to embrace a culture of ongoing, two-way feedback and a commitment to continuous improvement.