Return to Headlines

BPS Graduation Rate Hits All Time High, Drop Out Rate at All Time Low

BOSTON – Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Superintendent John McDonough in announcing that the Boston Public Schools (BPS) graduation rate has hit a historic milestone with newly released data showing the district’s graduation rate at the highest-level in recorded history. Data released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shows the 2014 four-year graduation rate for BPS stands at 66.7 percent up from 65.9 percent in 2013, continuing an upward trend since 2006 when that figure was just over 59 percent. The data also shows the district’s annual dropout rate has dipped to a record low at 3.8 percent.
“This good news is a testament to the hard work of our students, teachers, school and community leaders,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am proud of our accomplishments, but I know the work is far from done. We must continue to invest in and strengthen our schools so that every young person has the opportunity to succeed.”
Mayor Walsh and BPS, working with the partnership of the School Committee and the Superintendent have invested in strategies aimed at improving outcomes for Black and Latino male students. Since 2006, the four-year graduation rate for black students increased more than 10 percentage points to 65.8 percent, while Latino students saw an increase of more than 9 percentage points to 59.8 percent.
The district also showed impressive gains for English Language Learners (ELLs). Since 2006, ELL students four-year graduation rates increased by 7.4 points to 61.4 percent, showing a 1.3 percent increase over 2013.  Along those same lines, Boston International High School, an educational setting designed to support students who have newly arrived in the United States, has increased graduation rates from 31 percent to 61.5 percent in eight years, with a 16 percent percentage point gain over 2013.
“Today we celebrate the hard work of many -- and acknowledge that the road ahead is long,” said Interim Superintendent John McDonough. “I want to thank our high school headmasters, teacher teams and guidance counselors who work tirelessly every day. What you are doing is working.”
Graduation rates rose or remained above 85 percent, the state’s four year cohort target, in eight high schools: Kennedy Health Careers Academy, Boston Latin School, O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Fenway High School, Boston Latin Academy, Boston Arts Academy, New Mission High School and Lyon Upper School.  Making some of the districts largest gains however, were Boston International High School, Boston Adult Technical Academy, and Dorchester Academy.
Boston’s drop out rate dropped below 4 percent for the first time in history. At 3.8 percent the drop out rate for 2014 is the second consecutive year that the district has achieved its lowest dropout rate on record. This good news extends to all students across all demographic groups, including English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and low income students.  Ten schools have less than a 1 percent drop out rate, while another eight schools have fewer than 4 percent dropping out.
“As proud as we are of the increase in graduation rates, it is the decrease in drop-out rates that warrants special attention and celebration,” said Boston School Committee Chair Michael O’Neill. “We could not have achieved this record low without the exceptional efforts of many key partners, working alongside passionate school leaders and staff to re-engage those who have returned to BPS, or without providing additional supports for those at risk of dropping out.”

“It is worth noting that since focusing on this key population of both recent drop-outs and those most at-risk of dropping out, in a strategic and focused way 7 years ago, Boston has now collectively cuts its drop-out rate in more than half – and in doing so has created programs that have become national models of success.  Yet, we do not lose sight of the fact that even while leading the nation in best practices, this still means that approximately 700 youth per year are unable to continue their education and we will not rest till all of our students are able to move forward and succeed with post-secondary pathways.”
BPS has invested in “graduation for all” strategies that include more ninth grade transition supports; the Re-Engagement Center; the expansion of the BPS Credit Recovery program; the Success Boston initiative, which helps students determine whether they are on-track for graduation and college admission; and an expansion of BPS summer learning programming.  
For more detailed and school-level information, visit