School Types

  • There are 123 schools in the BPS portfolio in 2020-2021. They include traditional district schools, exam schools, pilot schools, Horace Mann charter schools (also called in-district charter schools), Turnaround schools, and Innovation schools.

    Exam Schools

    Admission to our three award-winning exam schools—Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, and O’Bryant School of Math and Science—is based on students’ scores on a national entrance exam plus grade point average.

    Pilot Schools

    Our 21 pilot schools have flexibility around hiring, budget, and curriculum. The Boston Public Schools' pilot schools are the result of a unique partnership launched in 1994 among Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Boston School Committee, superintendent, and the Boston Teachers Union. The pilot schools were explicitly created to be models of educational innovation and to serve as research and development sites for effective urban public schools. Pilot schools are part of the school district but have autonomy over budget, staffing, governance, curriculum/assessment, and the school calendar to provide increased flexibility to organize schools and staffing to meet the needs of students and families.

    Horace Mann Charter Schools

    Our six Horace Mann charter schools are innovative, semi-autonomous schools that are approved by both the Boston School Committee and the Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education and funded by Boston Public Schools. They are also called in-district charter schools.

    Turnaround Schools

    State authority granted in 2010 allowed BPS to rapidly intervene in our lowest-performing schools by changing staff, increasing class time, and adding new supports for students. With these flexibilities, these "Level 4" schools can access new tools to rapidly improve performance. In 2013, two Level 4 schools became Level 1 schools (the highest level possible) after just three years of Turnaround effort. 

    Innovation Schools 

    BPS was among the first districts in the state to open an Innovation school in 2011, transforming an underperforming school with new leadership, autonomy, and flexibility. In 2012 we opened a dual language (English/Spanish) Innovation high school and began transforming our technical vocational high school. We now have eight Innovation schools in 2015-2016. Learn more about accountability levels on the DESE website.

    Alternative Programs

    Newcomers Academy at Boston International High School and several similar programs help students new to the United States get a strong start in the Boston Public Schools. Other programs serve students who are over-age or off-track, who need to go to school at night, have disabilities, and have disciplinary issues.

    Other School Choices in Boston 

    Boston families have a variety of school choices, including schools inside and outside of the BPS network. BPS helped launch the Boston Compact in 2011, which brings traditional district, charter, and Catholic schools together to share best practices and help all students succeed. To learn about all of your school options, please visit