Explore the Initial BPS Proposals
The proposals below are about more than lines on a map. They will help students attend schools closer to home and will connect elementary schools to middle and K-8 schools nearby so students can know more about the school they can attend next.
- Families would apply to schools within their Home Zone and walk zone and could also select citywide schools as options.
- BPS would place the most common programs required by students with disabilities and by English Language Learners in schools closer to where these students live.
- BPS will offer options outside of a student’s Home Zone to which they may apply. UP Academy, Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, and Hernández K-8 would be available as citywide options.
- BPS proposes to create new K-8 programs at the Blackstone (South End), Condon (South Boston), Hennigan (Jamaica Plain), Mattahunt (Mattapan) and Trotter (Dorchester) Schools.
- High schools will remain citywide under our proposals.
- Any new plan would be phased in, which means the school choice process for the 2013-14 school year will be similar to what families are used to today.
- Current families will be grandfathered in to a new system, meaning a student can remain in his or her current school even if it is eventually not in a new assignment zone. Cross-zone yellow bus transportation would continue to be provided through at least 2019 (and will always be provided for students who require transportation as part of their individualized education plan). Sibling preference would be available for schools in a child’s home zone, including their walk zone. BPS also proposes that younger siblings could select out-of-attendance-area schools through the 2019-20 school year if their older brother or sister already attends that school, and the EAC has endorsed this proposal.
- Walk zone schools are defined as any school within a one-mile radius of a student’s home. These would still be available to a student under any zone-based plan even if a school is across a boundary line.
BPS considered many different arrangements for the general education school choice system. These arrangements would fit within middle school pathways. In addition, we propose to create new assignment patterns for English Language Learners in program seats and for Students with Disabilities.
In addition, BPS is considering potential changes to our assignment priorities:
- The percent of seats set aside in a school for students from within the walk zone may increase above its current 50%. (The walk zone definition as a one-mile radius from a home to a school would not change, nor would the existing sibling preference priority.)
- We propose to offer a higher assignment priority for students whose only walk zone choices are of lower quality as measured by MCAS score growth and overall performance (High Support Schools) or Level 4 status (Turnaround Schools). These students would have a greater opportunity to access a different school outside their walk zone.
This model would assign students directly to the school closest to them, with adjustments for capacity and programmatic options. In this model, families would not make school choices and students would receive their assignment based on their address and specific programmatic needs. If the capacity at the closest school is full, then the student would be assigned to the second closest school, and so on:
(average distance to school in the no-zone model would be 0.47 miles)
The next group of models would use a school choice system.
Students living in a zone would apply to any school in their Home Zone or within their walk zones, even if that school is across a boundary. Students could also apply to citywide options.
Inside every zone is a pathway. Elementary school students would feed into middle school and K-8 Schools. If a student moves into the district after 5th grade, they would be eligible to apply to any middle school or K-8 within their middle school zone boundary. All high schools would remain citywide just as today.
Sibling preference and walk-zone preference would still apply. If a school is across a boundary line from a students’ home but within the one-mile walk zone, (same as today), that family could still apply to the school and receive walk-zone enrollment preference.
Middle school pathway
All of these zone structures would be connected through a middle school pathway system. Elementary schools would feed into middle and K-8 schools. Families could apply to other middle or K-8 schools, but BPS would not necessarily provide transportation.
We are also proposing new school choice systems for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners. These systems are designed to work in partnership with the general education system:
Students with Disabilities
This includes Autism, Learning Disabled, Emotionally Impaired, and Intellectually Impaired. Other lower-incidence SPED programs would be distributed around the city.
This means students with the most common-incidence disabilities would have options close to home.
BPS would place these programs in schools depending on the specific needs of students living within each zone.
Just as today, BPS and families would work together to develop and approve Individualized Education Programs to ensure every student receives the services that are best for them and receives appropriate transportation to and from school.
English Language Learners
At least one school within each zone would offer customized programs for English Language Learners who live in the area.
This plan would also create clear pathways between elementary and middle schools, as well as K-8 schools, to provide more certainty for students.
Under this plan, ELL programs would be located in schools where the need for these programs is the greatest.
As context for this proposal, please take a look at the maps below. The maps show the rough home locations of BPS students with limited English proficiency (LEP) for school year 2011-2012: all students; Arabic; Cape Verdean; Chinese; Haitian-Creole; Portuguese; Somali; Spanish; Vietnamese
Be sure to check out the additional community proposals as well.