Facts and Figures
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 54,000 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 2018 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 2018 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 2018 4-year graduation rate of 75.1 percent was the highest it has ever been—up 17.2 points since 2007.
- 4-year graduation rates for Black students have risen from 54.2 percent in 2007 to 76.4 percent in 2018, out-pacing the district's increase for all students by 5 percentage points.
- 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 nearly doubled in the past 10 years, increasing from 1,666 students in 2008 to 3,100 students in 2018. Along with greater access to AP courses and exams, 51.3% of students receive a qualifying score of 3 or higher.
- Nearly 17,000 additional students now have access to arts learning opportunities during the school year, compared to nine years ago. 96 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 2018—from 26 to 63 percent, respectively. The district has seen even greater gains in the percentage of pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students receiving arts instruction two or more times per week, from less than 10% in 2009 to 65% in 2018. High school students meeting the MassCore graduation requirement in the Arts has increased to 61%.
- The percent of students who pass all grade 10 MCAS tests on the first attempt has risen from 39 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2018. Passing all grade 10 MCAS tests is part of the state graduation requirements, known as the Competency Determination.
- In the 2018-2019 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 2019-2020 school year, BPS will be implementing ELT in a total of 62 schools serving over 25,000 students since the Schedule A ELT agreement was implemented in Fall 2015.
- One in five students attends one of our award-winning summer learning initiatives -- nationally recognized for excellence in summer learning in 2013.