Over the past twenty years, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) has been transformed from a failing school district to one of the most renowned urban public school systems in the country. We educate more than 56,000 students in 125 schools — 74 percent of the school-age children who live in Boston.
We are proud to be one of the most diverse school districts in the nation. Nearly one in every two students speaks a language other than English at home, and our students come from 139 different countries. One in five BPS students has a disability, and half are economically disadvantaged.
On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as the “Nation’s Report Card” – Boston students’ performance is on par with the national average for all public schools, including suburban schools, in grade 4 Reading and in grade 8 Mathematics. This is the first time since measurements began that any urban school district has met this mark in two subjects and grades. Since 2007, the BPS four-year graduation rate has steadily increased, reaching its highest rate ever in 2016 despite more demanding standards required by the state for graduation; and the percentage of ninth-graders who dropped out before graduation decreased to its lowest point ever for the 2015 Cohort.
BPS is the home of many firsts in the nation: first public school (Boston Latin School, 1635), first public elementary school (Mather Elementary School, 1639), first public school system (1647), first public high school (English High School, 1821).
- Our 2016 4-year graduation rate of 72.4 percent was the highest it has ever been—up 14.5 points since 2007.
- 4-year graduation rates for African American students have risen from 54.2 percent in 2007 to 69.3 percent in 2016.
- The 4-year graduation rate for students with disabilities increased 14.5 percentage points from 2014 to 2016 and is at an all time high of 55.6 percent.
- BPS offers pathways to graduation to students who may have dropped out through our Re-Engagement Center, one of the first of these centers in the nation, and our summer graduation programs. The Re-Engagement Center, a joint initiative between the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Private Industry Council, re-enrolls more than 400 dropouts annually, and has helped to cut the number of dropouts in half since 2005.
- The number of students taking an AP exam has doubled in the past 10 years, increasing from 2,078 students in 2005 to over 4,500 students in 2016. Along with greater access to AP courses and exams, 42% of students receive a qualifying score of 3 or higher.
- More than 17,000 additional students now have access to arts learning opportunities during the school year, compared to eight years ago. 95 percent of students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth receive at least weekly, year-long arts instruction—up from 67 percent in 2009. The number of high school students receiving any arts instruction has more than doubled from 2009 to 2016—from 26 to 68 percent, respectively. The district has seen even greater gains in the percentage of students receiving arts instruction two or more times per week, from 10% in 2009 to 55% in 2017. High school students meeting the MassCore graduation requirement in the Arts has increased to 59%.
- The percent of students who pass all grade 10 MCAS tests has risen from 57 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2015.
- In the 2017-2018 school year, we will offer full-day pre-kindergarten education for over 2,500 four-year-olds, up from 700 seats in 2005.
- Expanded Learning Time (ELT) is one of the key ways in which the district hopes to provide a high-quality education for all. Schools in BPS can expand the day though the Schedule A initiative, having turnaround status, or becoming an autonomous school. In the 2015-2016 school year, 53 schools had ELT for all students. BPS is currently conducting non-evaluative research with the American Institutes for Research to better understand how these schools are using their extra time to increase positive student outcomes.
- One in five students attends one of our award-winning summer learning initiatives -- nationally recognized for excellence in summer learning in 2013.