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BPS and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative Launch Data-Sharing Agreement to Boost Student Success

Student information is confidentially shared to target support

BOSTON, MA - Monday, December 5, 2016 - The Boston Public Schools (BPS) today joined Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in announcing a pilot initiative that will focus on tracking and sharing targeted information about students who are experiencing homelessness. This pilot is made possible through a mutual data sharing agreement [PDF], which enables involved parties to confidentially exchange student-specific information that will provide insight into the students' engagement levels and potential target areas for support.

"Our city is growing and thriving and it's critical that we constantly build new partnerships and work collectively together to create stronger schools, families, and neighborhoods," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I am proud of Boston Public Schools' new partnership with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, making it possible for us to deepen our support for more students."

This pilot initiative will contain demographic information ranging from gender, age, race, which is informed by pre-recorded district data, as well as English Learner and Special Education statuses. In addition, by tracking and sharing targeted information about average daily attendance, suspension and graduation rates, standard examination scores, course enrollment and grades, this partnership intends to develop and maintain an even stronger system of support around student and increase student success.

This partnership seeks to serve approximately 2,000 students attending the Dearborn STEM Academy, Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, Burke High School, Orchard Gardens K-8 School, Winthrop Elementary, and the King K-8 School.

This partnership will be using a Mutual Data Sharing Agreement between a City of Boston entity and community organization. DSNI has a long history of working with BPS students and supporting community learning in BPS schools. As lead organization for the Boston Promise Initiative (BPI), DSNI collaborates with partners in the initiative, including those partners working within BPS schools and with BPS students.

"The school committee is appreciative of this new partnership with a well-respected community organization as DSNI that will band our community and our schools together," said School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill. "The well-being of our students is our number one priority and these efforts will allow us to better assist our children and families."

Working together, DSNI and BPS will track student academic and engagement outcomes for students enrolled in BPI programs. This will help determine the impact of BPI programs and identify the opportunity and access gaps within BPI schools. DSNI and BPS believe this formal partnership, set up through a Mutual Data Sharing Agreement, will help build a foundation for family, student, and community success.

"We believe that addressing the needs of students is integral to our work of building a vibrant, thriving community," said Juan Leyton, Executive Director of DSNI. "We are confident that this data sharing agreement will help to ensure that the work being done for children & youth after school and throughout our neighborhoods is aligned with their academic success."

As part of this work, DSNI and BPS will also collaborate with BPI partner Project Hope to begin identifying early warning indicators for students whose families are experiencing homelessness. Project Hope's No Child Goes Homeless campaign [PDF] creates a strong network of neighborhood partners, institutions, schools, and city agencies to provide crisis intervention, resources, and organizing support to ensure that no child in the Dudley Village Campus goes homeless. The ability to streamline and share real-time attendance data between BPS, DSNI, and Project Hope will greatly impact the ability to predict students and families who may need Project Hope's support in three schools in the Dudley Village Campus.

"I am grateful for BPS' partnerships with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Boston Promise Initiative, and Project Hope," said Superintendent Tommy Chang. "This new effort will focus on securely sharing individual-level data about at-risk students to target and streamline support, and ultimately build an even stronger community around our young people."

DSNI and BPS look forward to creating a data-informed community of support for students in the Dudley Village Campus and hope to expand upon this partnership in future years. DSNI and BPS are committed to using data to stay accountable to the residents of the Dudley Village Campus.

Please note that only students with appropriate parental/guardian consent will have any data shared, and data will be stored, secured, and shared only as mandated by FERPA and the Data Sharing Agreement parameters.