Systemic Improvement Plan
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the City of Boston, and Boston Public Schools, together, outlined an agreement in June 2022 to strengthen District-wide processes by identifying systems and practices that will lead to positive results for our students. While BPS has made a lot of progress, persistent challenges remain. The City of Boston and BPS agree that urgent action must be taken to address the long-standing challenges facing BPS.
The City of Boston and BPS agreed to undertake the following initiatives and to be held accountable for reaching the goals outlined in the systemic improvement plan. The initiatives are in the following areas:
- Student Safety
- Special Education
- English Learners
- Transformation Schools
Please see the full report attached here.
The following deliverables are due by mid-August, 2022.
Support the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students and ensure a safe school environment.
- By August 15, 2022, begin using an improved, robust system for managing, responding to and resolving complaints from parents and guardians.
- Respond in a timely manner to complaints received from DESE’s Problem Resolution System (PRS), including allegations of bullying, as outlined in the Complaint Procedures Guide.
- Commission an independent student and staff safety audit to assess safety protocols at schools and make recommendations to ensure safe learning environments for all students across the District, including an evaluation of coordination and communication between BPS and BPD. The audit will be conducted by an individual or entity mutually agreed upon between Boston/BPS and DESE.
Undertake a deep redesign of BPS special education services, with policies, procedures, and training to ensure that all students learn in the least restrictive environment, and that all students, regardless of disability status, get the services they need. Building options for students in the least restrictive environment must be the foundation of special education in every school. BPS is committed to inclusionary practices that directly address disproportionate placement of students of color in substantially separate programs.
- By August 15, 2022, engage an entity or team of individuals mutually agreed upon between Boston/BPS and DESE who have a proven track record of success working in urban school districts and who will work with a sense of urgency on improving special education services. The entity or team will meet with the Special Education Parent Advisory Council and other stakeholders, and will make a set of recommendations to the Superintendent.
- By August 15, 2022, BPS will provide DESE its plan for how the district will accomplish the work described in this section until the senior leadership positions are filled.
- By August 15, 2022, develop an updated policy and procedure manual on special education. BPS will train staff on effective implementation of the policies and procedures as part of the professional development provided at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
- From August 15, 2022 through June 30, 2023, engage a McKinley Schools Working Group that will include the head of the McKinley Schools; a student at the McKinley Schools; a Boston School Committee member, selected by the Chair; and one representative from each of the following: DESE, SpEdPAC, the Boston Teachers Union, and the School’s Parent Council. The Chair of the Working Group will be jointly selected by the Superintendent and DESE. The Working Group will be charged with implementing the recommendations of the McKinley Schools Intervention team and guiding the Needs Assessment phase of the building renovations proposed in the city’s FY23-27 Capital Plan.
Create a safe, effective, and responsive school transportation system, with immediate reforms to improve on-time school bus arrival rates and eliminate uncovered bus routes (i.e. bus routes that are scheduled but not run).
- Immediately begin implementing the operational reforms negotiated between BPS and the school bus drivers’ union, ratified by the union on May 24, 2022, to improve on-time arrivals and eliminate uncovered bus routes.
- Achieve a district-wide school bus on-time arrival rate of 95% or better each month. The on-time arrival rate includes all scheduled bus routes.
- Ensure 99% of BPS school buses will arrive at school within 15 minutes of the start of the school day.
- Report on-time arrivals rates to DESE each month, beginning in August 2022 (in order to capture information inclusive of all bus routes, including approved special education school bus routes, charter school bus routes and any uncovered routes).
- By August 15, 2022, launch a diagnostic evaluation of the current BPS transportation system in order to analyze efficiency, performance, equity, and cost. The diagnostic should yield recommendations for route and schedule planning and optimization as well as updated service parameters.
Provide welcoming, safe, healthy, energy-efficient, and inspiring environments for students and educators that are conducive to teaching and learning.
- By August 15, 2022, use the district’s new Building Dashboard, including ongoing updates, to review all school bathroom facilities and implement a district-wide plan for necessary renovations. BPS will renovate student facilities in at least 15 schools within FY 2023. The selection of schools will be driven by student need and will seek to avoid disruption to other construction projects underway. Such renovations will be subject to inspection by DESE.
Provide high-quality services to all English learners, particularly English learners with disabilities, including rigorous, age-appropriate curricula, enrichment programs, and access to advanced coursework and dual language programs.
- By August 15, 2022, develop a system to ensure that all English learners, including English learners with disabilities, receive all appropriate instruction and appropriate access to grade level content instruction. This should include a process for monitoring the quality of ESL and content instruction for English Learners, across program models (DEI, dual language, newcomer, etc.).
- By August 15, 2022, complete the BPS Strategic Plan for Multilingual Learners that outlines steps for expanding access to native language instruction and literacy, including for students with disabilities and present the Plan to the Boston School Committee as soon as possible during the 2022-2023 school year, but no later than October 12, 2022. The Plan shall include specific action steps related to bilingual, dual and heritage language, sheltered English immersion, and English as a Second Language programming.
- Report compliance levels of the City’s successor agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Put in place the necessary systems and internal controls at the central office and school levels to ensure transparency and accurate data reporting.
- By August 15, 2022, an independent auditor will be hired by DESE to analyze BPS data on a regular basis, will be provided office space in BPS and will receive full access to all BPS data across all academic and operational functions. The allowable scope of the data auditor’s access will include all source data and supporting documentation relating to data certified by BPS to DESE. In addition, all source data and supporting documentation relating to transportation services, facilities, student assignment, and internal BPS complaints concerning students safety and bullying will be considered in the scope of access provided to the data auditor. Additional data access requested by the data auditor outside of these areas will be jointly determined by DESE and BPS; this provision, however, does not alter BPS’ obligation to respond timely to DESE’s requests for data, documentation and other information made in the ordinare course (e.g. inquiries from DESE’s Office of Professional Practices Investigations, Problem Resolution System, etc.). This independent auditor will meet on a regular basis jointly with DESE, the City and BPS, and the auditor’s review and analysis will be available to the City, BPS, and DESE.
Establish enhanced accountability measures.
- Mayor Wu, the City of Boston, and BPS will make regular reports on the matters set forth in this Systemic Improvement Plan to the Boston School Committee, and to the Boston community. The first regular report shall occur before August 31, 2022.
- The City of Boston, BPS, and DESE will engage in a collaborative process to set any additional outcome metrics for the Systemic Improvement Plan.
- The Mayor of the City of Boston, the BPS School Committee Chair, BPS Superintendent, and the Commissioner of the Elementary and Secondary Education, or their designees, will meet on a monthly basis during the first year of this plan and every other month during subsequent years to discuss the priority initiatives.
- BPS will continue to work in collaboration with DESE on developing a Performance Management System for all BPS schools.