Proposals aimed to improve student assignment unveiled
Boston Public Schools (BPS) has unveiled five maps that detail different options the city could adopt in an effort to dramatically change the way in which pre-K through 8th grade students are assigned to schools throughout the city. The proposals are the latest and perhaps the most significant step forward in the process to improve school choice, urged by Mayor Thomas M. Menino during his State of the City address in January. The overhaul aims to ensure students are attending schools closer to home to help create stronger communities.
- LIST OF COMMUNITY MEETING DATES AND LOCATIONS
- EXPLORE THE PROPOSALS USING AN INTERACTIVE MAP
- TAKE AN ONLINE SURVEY ABOUT THE PROPOSALS
The proposals range from a map with no zones, which would assign students to the school closest to their home with an available seat, to a map that breaks the city into 23 different assignment zones. Other options include a six zone system, a nine zone system, and an 11 zone system.
“I’m pleased that each of these options is influenced by what we heard from the residents of Boston,” said Mayor Menino. “The quality of our schools has improved greatly in recent years, and now is the time to make a change that will help build stronger communities in our city.”
Mayor Menino and Superintendent Carol R. Johnson were on hand at the Lilla Frederick Middle School in Dorchester as the proposed maps were unveiled to the community during a meeting of the external advisory committee (EAC), a 27-person committee appointed by the Mayor to examine the way in which students are assigned to schools. The group includes parents, community leaders, educators, and students.
For the past several months BPS has engaged more than 2,700 residents in conversations on what a new student assignment plan should look like. The EAC also offered input to the BPS team that worked on creating the proposed options.
Beginning Thursday, September 27 BPS will ask residents for feedback on each of the proposals during a month-long series of community meetings (the full list can be found online at www.bostonschoolchoice.org). The feedback gathered will help shape the final proposal that is put forward. In November the EAC will vote on a final recommendation to send to Superintendent Johnson. Dr. Johnson will then review the recommendation and submit a final proposal to the school committee, which will vote on a final plan in December. The new student assignment system would go into effect during the 2014-2015 school year. School selection for the 2013-2014 school year will occur using the current assignment system. Student assignment to high schools would not change under any of the new proposals.
“Our proposals are about more than lines on a map,” said Superintendent Johnson. “These options will help students attend schools closer to home and will connect elementary schools to middle and K-8 schools nearby so families will have more predictability about where their child will attend school next.”
The options presented tonight include features such as:
- Families could apply to schools within their home zone while also allowing them select citywide schools as options.
- BPS would place the most common programs required by students with disabilities and by English Language Learners in schools closer to where these students live.
- BPS will offer options outside of a student’s home zone to which they may apply. UP Academy, Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, and Hernández K-8 would be available as citywide options.
- BPS proposes to create new K-8 programs at the Blackstone (South End), Condon (South Boston), Hennigan (Jamaica Plain), Mattahunt (Mattapan) and Trotter (Dorchester) Schools.
More information on the effort to improve school choice can be found at www.bostonschoolchoice.org.