2017 by the Numbers

  • $26 million invested since 2002

  • 22,000 Boston students reached each year

  • 125 school partners

  • 95% of K-8 BPS students receive weekly, year-long arts education

  • 68% of BPS high school students receive arts education

School Solutions Seed Fund

In 2015, the School Solutions Seed Fund invested $335,000 in good ideas for urban school improvement. In its inaugural year, the Seed Fund supported 10 pilot projects with $10,000 investments each. Based on early success, five of those projects received Expansion Grants to continue their promising work. Expanding projects range from early interventions for English language learners to culturally relevant supports for young men of color and video assisted teacher peer learning.

Prior to 2015, similar school-based investments were made through EdVestors’ Urban Education Investment Portfolio, a hallmark of our early work connecting private philanthropy to public schools.

The Urban Education Investment Portfolio:

  • Provided the early stage funding for a number of non-profit led initiatives that have expanded their impact across multiple schools in Boston, including Teach Plus’ T3 Initiative, Boston Debate League, and the Achievement Network (formerly Massachusetts Public School Performance).
  • Enabled district-wide initiatives such as Credit Recovery to expand and lead to citywide change. Thanks to BPS’ Credit Recovery initiative, Boston has seen an increase in BPS high school graduates since 2008.
  • Supported some of the most rapidly improving schools in Boston.

School on the Move Prize

In 2015 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the School on the Move Prize, honoring Dorchester’s Jeremiah E. Burke High School with the $100,000 Prize. The Burke is the first high school in Massachusetts to exit turnaround status, with student proficiency in English Language Arts and math more than doubling over the last four years. We also released a research report in partnership with the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, Staying the Course, reflecting what we’ve learned about sustaining school improvement over 10 years.

Improving Schools Initiative

After three years, the Improving Schools Initiative saw two of three partner schools improve student proficiency in math, English Language Arts, or both. One school moved from Level 3 to Level 1 in the state accountability system in 2014. In 2016, we will release a report on what we’ve learned about the inherent complexity of school improvement work – particularly in urban districts – that influences the ability of schools and partners to work together to successfully increase student achievement.

BPS Arts Expansion

Through BPS Arts Expansion, 17,000 more BPS students now receive arts, compared to 2009. Thanks to our public and private partners working together over the last six years, Boston has emerged as a national leader among urban districts working to expand arts education. As we implement Phase 3 (2015-2018), we seek to make even more progress with arts expansion at the high school level while building sustainability of expanded arts education in Boston.

Zeroing in on Math

In 2015, Zeroing in on Math launched to dramatically increase student achievement in middle grades math. So far, we’ve invested in eight schools piloting technology-based math interventions in the classroom to help teachers close student skill gaps, reaching 1,600 students. Next year, we plan to double the size of this “blended learning” intervention cohort of schools. We are also exploring potential strategies related to teacher professional development and coaching, content knowledge and other curricular experiments. We just announced our first group of Math Teaching Fellows, a group of dedicated math teachers from local district and charter schools who will help inform developing work in Zeroing in on Math while deepening their own professional learning. Zeroing in on Math will replicate all of our best strategies for systemic change developed and proven through BPS Arts Expansion.