BOSTON – January 21, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Boston
Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang in announcing that the district’s
graduation rate for the class of 2015 achieved an historic increase, rising four
percentage points from the previous year to reach an all-time high of 70.7 percent.
“I am tremendously proud of the hard work by our students, teachers and
administrators to raise our graduation rate to new heights,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am
confident that when students receive a BPS diploma they will be well-equipped with
the skills and knowledge for their next steps in college, career and life. I look
forward to continuing to build on our progress to raise the graduation rate for
students and create across-the-board excellence in our public school system.”
The overall four-year graduation rate for the BPS class of 2015 stands at 70.7
percent, representing a 4 percentage-point gain from the 2014 rate of 66.7 percent
and continuing an upward trend since 2006, when the figure was just over 59
percent, according to new data released today by the Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education (DESE).
The DESE data also shows that over the past ten years BPS has shrunk the
graduation-rate gap between white and black students by nearly two-thirds, and
reduced by half the gap between white and Latino students.
Meanwhile, the four-year cohort graduation rate for black students has risen over
the past decade by more than 13 percentage points, climbing from 55.7 percent in
2006 to 69.6 percent in 2015. Latino students also saw an accelerated improvement
of more than 13 percentage points, increasing from 50.6 percent in 2006 to 64.3
percent in 2015. Over that same time period, the four-year cohort graduation rate
for white students improved by 5 percentage points, increasing from 70.6 percent in
2006 to 75.8 percent in 2015.
School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill credited BPS initiatives, such as the
renewed focus and investment in early intervention with 8th and 9th-graders;
increased use of technology in the classroom; and a broader scope of options for
students to access evening, summer, and online educational programs, with helping
achieve these successes.
"These results come from an intense, multi-year effort on behalf of the District, our
teachers and school leaders, and many of our external partners," said O'Neill, who
helped spearhead the creation of the Opportunity and Achievement Gap Task Force.
"They also include an understanding and commitment on our part that we only truly
succeed when our youth are prepared to then go on to their careers and/or to
successfully graduate from college."
Superintendent Chang praised the ongoing collaborative work between BPS and
partner organizations for keeping our students engaged and ready to embark on
college and careers.
"Our recent creation of a high school office within BPS seeks to not only leverage our
high school redesign work but also redouble our efforts to completely close our
opportunity and achievement gaps," Dr. Chang said. "Ensuring that our students
graduate within four years is a critical priority of BPS. But we cannot stop there. We
must continue to improve the rigor of our classroom instruction so that all of our
students have access to high-quality education. We must also continue to expand
our support systems to better serve all students who need additional time to
complete their secondary education."
The district also showed impressive gains for students with disabilities (SWD). Since
2006, the four-year graduation rates for SWD students rose by almost 15 points, to
51.5 percent, with much of that gain – 10 percentage points – occurring since
2014. Similarly, for male students, who typically graduate at lower rates overall
than their female counterparts, graduation rates climbed to 66 percent, marking an
almost an 14 percentage point gain over the past decade and a 6 percentage point
increase over the past year.
Among BPS high schools, the Jeremiah E. Burke – the first high school in
Massachusetts to exit turnaround status – achieved significant improvements in its
graduation rate, rising by 27.6 percentage points in the last 10 years, from 43.5
percent to 71.7 percent, and 10 percent percentage points since 2014.
Eight Boston high schools achieved graduation rates of 85 percent or above, meeting
the state's accountability target. They include: Boston Latin School; New Mission
High School; John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science; Boston Latin
Academy; Another Course to College; Fenway High School; Boston Community
Leadership Academy; and Quincy Upper School.
Another Course to College, Boston Community Leadership Academy, Burke High
School, and New Mission High School also stand out for making some of the district's
largest one-year and ten-year graduation gains.
BPS Drop-Out Rates
Over the past year, Boston's four-year cohort dropout rate fell from 18.5 percent in
2014 to 15.4 percent in 2015. In addition, BPS's annual dropout rate for students in
grades 9-12 remained relatively steady in 2014-15 (4.4%). More detailed and school-level information here.