Over the last year more than 5,000 of you have shared your ideas, concerns and comments with the External Advisory Committee and the School Committee. Together, we have built something new. On March 13, the Boston School Committee voted to approve the Home-Based model for student assignment. This plan will go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.
Starting in January, 2014, BPS will use a new assignment policy based on a Home-Based plan for students in kindergarten through grade eight. It was developed by an external committee with community input. It does away with zones and helps students attend quality schools, closer to home.
The Home-Based school choice plan uses a student’s home as the starting point. We offer families the options closest to where they live (within one mile for elementary grades). Where we have concerns about the MCAS quality of the schools nearby, this plan offers additional choices a little farther away. The Home-Based plan:
- Increases the chances that a family will receive one of their top school choices
- Increases equitable access to quality schools overall
- Ensures every incoming kindergarten child has quality schools from which to choose
- Cuts the average distance a child travels to school by 40 percent
- Offers sibling priority to help brothers and sisters attend the same school
- Offers additional, citywide choices for all families, and
- Connects elementary schools to middle schools through voluntary pathways.
High schools remain citywide.
Before registering in January, families will participate in our School Choice season using the Home-Based plan:
- We will offer a customized list of school choices for every family based on their home address. It includes every school within one mile of their home plus, as needed, nearby schools that have the highest levels of MCAS performance and growth. This ensures that every family has access to high quality schools, no matter where they live.
- The list may also grow, as needed, to ensure that families have the opportunity to apply to options for K0, inclusion and more, as well as to ensure we can offer every child a seat in a school on his or her list. These schools will be called “Option Schools.”
- Every family will have at least six schools to choose from; most will have an average of 8-14 choices.
- Families may also select any citywide school.
- As with the previous three-zone plan, we can’t guarantee that an applicant will be assigned to one of his or her top choices – but all applicants for K2-grade 8 will be assigned to a school on their customized list. Due to limited seating, we also cannot guarantee a school assignment to K0 or K1, just as before.
- More information about School Choice tools and activities will be available in October.
The Home-Based plan is designed to make sure every family has high-quality schools on their customized lists. We have grouped our schools into four MCAS Tiers according to how students performed MCAS tests for the past two years. We take into account both overall performance and improvement. Every family has at least two of the highest-scoring schools (Tier I – the top 25%) and at least four schools that are in the top half of MCAS performance (Tier I and Tier II) on their customized lists. Tier III is the bottom 51%-75%. Tier IV is the bottom 25%. We know that families look at many factors beyond MCAS to decide whether to choose a school, and we are working with the community to develop a better long-term measure of quality.
For English Language Learners and students with disabilities, the Home-Based plan works a little differently, creating community clusters of school choices to help ensure that students can enroll in schools that offer quality programs closer to home.
The Home-Based plan offers more predictability and gives parents a better opportunity to get to know their school choices in advance. This means families can learn more about schools earlier, which can strengthen connections between schools, students and families.
Interactive tool: To explore what the Home-Based model might provide as options for a new elementary school student, use our interactive mapping tool. (Here’s a list of city public computing centers if you’d like to share this tool with someone who does not have internet access)
On February 25, the EAC voted to approve the Home-Based/A model and present it to the Superintendent. The Superintendent brought it before the Boston School Committee for consideration. You can read her remarks here. This model includes the ELL and SWD overlays as well as middle-school pathways.
To offer your feedback to the School Committee, send an email to email@example.com.
For more information on these plans and background on the process, check out answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Click here to see a neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis summary and here for the full report from the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative.
- Community meeting presentation
- Meeting handouts: English (1) (2) | Spanish (1) (2) | Cape Verdean Creole (1) (2) | Chinese (1) (2) | Haitian Creole (1) (2) | Portuguese (1) (2) | Somali (1) (2) | Vietnamese (1) (2)
- Meeting flyers: English | Spanish | Cape Verdean Creole | Chinese | Haitian Creole | Portuguese | Somali | Vietnamese
What these options improve:
- More equitable access to quality: The new options better distribute access to quality schools for students across the city.
- More predictability: The new options help families explore their school choices and have more certainty about which schools their child could attend. More families have access to K-8 schools and elementary schools are linked to middle school pathways.
- Greater convenience: The new options help children attend schools closer to home, while still providing citywide options.
- Continued diversity: The new options aim to protect the socioeconomic diversity we value here in Boston.
- Better placement of specialized programs: English Language Learners and students with disabilities will have appropriate programs in schools nearby through our new overlay system.
What remains the same:
- Sibling preference remains a priority, and younger siblings of current students will be able to select the school their older sibling already attends.
- Walk zone schools are always in a family’s choice set.
- Current students don’t have to change schools: The assignment changes would take effect for incoming students beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
BPS is also improving school quality. We have already taken many steps together to improve the quality of schools and offer better options for families and are taking additional steps to ensure every school is one every family would be happy to choose. Explore them here.
Elements of all proposals:
- Grandfathering of all students and sibling grandfathering. Under any plan, current BPS students may choose to stay in their assigned school and may be joined by their younger brothers or sisters
- Sibling priority and walk zone access are maintained in all proposals (walk zone is a one-mile radius from home, even if it is across a zone boundary)
- More K-8 pathways: Every student would have access to K-8 pathway school(s) in their menu of options
- More predictability and closer to home: Families can know more about the schools they can select with assurance they have more equitable access to quality; this could attract new families to BPS
- More school options will be possible – including in-district charters, Innovation schools, dual language and inclusion programs
- Create between six and eight new in-district charter and Innovation Schools to address quality concerns in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park
- Convert a high-quality Allston-Brighton school to a regional option
- Committed to identifying space for a downtown school, so that downtown families have a great school option close to home.
- Earlier hotline activation to move students off waiting lists and into schools faster
- Offer option for incoming K2 families to be assigned to the closest available school in Round One if they don’t receive one of their choices