Middle School Pathways

Middle School Feeder

BPS proposes to link elementary schools to middle schools to provide predictability and clear pathways for all students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Students attending elementary schools would be offered priority to a seat in their feeder middle school; they could also select other options.

K-8 options and K-8 pathways have proven popular with families and students. Since 2004, BPS has expanded the number of K-8 schools from 14 to more than 25 today, and has created new pathways to create a seamless K-8 experience for more students. We are now exploring the feasibility of additional K-8 conversions, which must take overall school performance and capacity into account as we experience an increase in enrollment in our early grades.

The Middle School Pathway proposal would build on the successful Roslindale K-8 Pathway, which parents helped BPS create several years ago. In the Roslindale pathway, students attending any of six elementary schools are offered a priority to attend the Irving Middle School; this priority is below sibling preference but is higher than walk-zone preference in the assignment algorithm.

This six-school pathway would continue under the Middle School Pathway proposal and the concept would be replicated across the District. Our proposal also assignment priority for a student attending a BPS elementary school for a seat in the middle school it feeds into – this priority would be below sibling preference but above walk-zone preference in the assignment algorithm. This would ensure predictability for students all the way through the 8th grade, when they could select any citywide high school.

Students entering 6th grade could also select other middle schools or K-8 schools if they desired to forgo their guaranteed seat. At this time, the exact mechanism for this process and the schools a student could select from would depend on the overall choice plan selected by the EAC and approved by the Boston School Committee: For example, if a 10-zone model is adopted, a student might be able to select any 6th grade program within their zone or walk zone (under the 10-Zone proposal, every zone contains at least one K-8 school); if a Home-Based model is adopted, the student’s list might be tailored to their home address based on quality and capacity.

Advanced Work Class

The BPS Advanced Work Class program offers an accelerated academic curriculum to students in grades 4, 5 and 6. Student participation is by invitation only and is based on a student’s scores on an eligibility test. Only certain schools offer an AWC program, so BPS allows students to change schools to access the program if they are eligible. Under the proposed models, BPS would do two things to ensure any qualified student can continue to access an AWC program. First, BPS would work to place more AWC programs in schools that already have students who are eligible for the program either in that school or living nearby; and second, BPS would allow students to transfer schools so they could access an AWC program even if that school is outside a student’s home zone or choice set. For example, if no school on a student’s choice list has AWC programming but the student qualifies for the program, then that student could transfer to a school outside his or her choice set and BPS would provide transportation.

For additional information about Middle School pathways, click here.