The EAC voted to approve this model on February 25. This model will be presented to the Superintendent and Boston School Committee for consideration along with the ELL and SWD overlays and middle school pathways.
This model ensures every family has high-quality schools on their list of options, as well as all walk zone schools (within one mile from home). It also adapts to changes in school quality and popularity over time and ensures a match between supply and demand.
How does it work?
BPS uses MCAS data to chart two years of overall academic performance of students in Mathematics and English in each school (grades K-5) and the rate of academic growth. Each school is given a total score based on these metrics, with overall performance counting for 2/3 of the total, and growth counting for 1/3.
From here, we group our schools into four tiers:
- Tier I: The top 25 percent of schools in BPS
- Tier II: The middle 26-50 percent of schools
- Tier III: The middle 51-75 percent of schools
- Tier IV: The remaining schools.
Every family will get a customized list of schools based around their home address (a “home-based list”). For Home-Based: A, every family’s list would include the closest two schools from Tier I, as well as the four closest schools from Tiers I and II, then the six closest schools from either Tier I, II or III. In some cases, these schools would be the same, meaning a student would have six school choices. In other cases, for example if a family lives very close to many schools but lives far from a high-quality school, it could be many more. The average number of schools on a family’s list would be about eight, in addition to citywide options. The list would also include all the schools in the family’s walk zone (within one mile from home).
To ensure a match between supply and demand, we also look at three years of demand data to determine schools that can usually seat any student who requests it, regardless of performance. These schools are called “capacity schools,” and may also appear on a family’s choice list. Sometimes, these are Tier I or II schools – other times, they are Tier III or IV. Every family is given the option to choose from the three closest capacity schools.
After learning about each school, families rank the schools they prefer their child to attend and are assigned to a school based on seat availability. Sibling preference and walk zone priorities would continue in the assignment process, just as today.
The Hernández K-8, Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School and UP Academy Charter School of Dorchester would be citywide options, available to all students. All high schools would remain citywide, just as today. Mission Hill K-8 would be offered as a local option for families in Mission Hill and parts of Roxbury.
For additional background on the Home-Based model, read the Closest Types Overview.