Roughly two-thirds of Boston Public Schools improved from last year, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) annual accountability report for schools across the state. The report designated the Boston Public Schools (BPS) as making “substantial progress towards targets.”
BPS is within the medium range among the other districts of Massachusetts, from which 64 districts are evaluated as “meeting or exceeding the targets,” 218 districts as making “substantial progress categories,” and 124 districts that are in lower categories or not classified.
The report shows that, in most categories, the BPS maintained their performance from previous years, with increased achievements in mathematics and science in non-high school grades.
There was a sharp decline in the performance of the lowest-performing high school students in the BPS, largely due to their lower achievements in the English language. The year 2019 also saw increased drop-out rates among high school students in BPS. Academic achievements and growths are calculated using the results from the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), a standardized test administered to students in public schools and some private schools..
The report also shows the performance of different demographics that are created based on race and disabilities, among other factors. In most subgroups, there was an overall increase in the annual criterion-referenced percentage, with the “students with disabilities” subgroup improving by 17 percent, the greatest among all subgroups. The performance of high school students in the multi-race, non-Hispanic or Latino subgroup has decreased significantly—specifically in mathematics and science performance, in addition to overall high school completion.
“While we celebrate the schools making progress today, we must urgently focus our efforts on supporting those in need of more intensive support and attention,” said Brenda Cassellius, BPS superintendent, in a statement. “We need nothing short of high-quality learning environments where children are learning and thriving in every classroom.”
Two BPS schools are designated as “school of recognition” for their high growth, namely Nathan Hale Elementary School in Roxbury and the Winship Elementary School in Brighton. According to the press report of the BPS, the Winship Elementary School was designated to be among the lowest 20 percent schools in the state when its current principal, Mona Ford Walker, took over in 2016. Now, for the second year in a row, the school has been recognized for its improvement. Including Nathan Hale and Winship,14 other schools in the district are designated as “meeting or exceeding targets.”
The William Channing Elementary School in Hyde Park was previously designated as “in need of broad/comprehensive support,” which is the lowest category, previously known as “turnaround,” according to the press report of the BPS. The school is now designated as making “substantial progress towards targets.” There are eight schools that are still designated as “in need of broad/comprehensive support,” with none of them being newly added to the category this year.
“I’m proud of the great strides we’re making to ensure that every school across the district is preparing our students in the best possible way for their bright futures ahead,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09, in a statement.
“With this good news of more improvements being made, I want to recognize the educators, administrators and support staff in our schools, who we owe a debt of gratitude for the amazing work they do. They go above and beyond to make sure our students receive a high-quality education and are given the greatest opportunity to excel in school.”
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor