Research & Insights / At Quincy Elementary, a Curriculum with a Global Perspective
At Quincy Elementary, a Curriculum with a Global Perspective
This year, EdVestors held an open call for the School on the Move Prize, seeking the stories of Boston Public Schools that are creating and continuously improving learning environments where all students thrive. Eight semifinalists have been selected to advance to the next round, and three finalists will be celebrated at the School on the Move Prize Ceremony on November 8. Regardless of the outcome, each semifinalist has a story that we can learn from.
Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown has been tasked with no small feat: serving over 700 students from preschool to fifth grade. With the elimination of Advanced Work Classes that tracked students into different levels by test scores, the school committed to providing challenging instruction for everyone in heterogeneous classrooms.
Boston’s largest elementary school was looking for a change. Teachers asked for a new curriculum that was aligned with state standards, one with supplemental materials they didn’t have to create from scratch. They also wanted more autonomy to test out creative strategies. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program, an inquiry-based model designed for international schools, offered both. But no Boston Public School had adopted it before.
With a cosmopolitan population—nearly half of all students are English language learners, and Quincy is one of few schools with a Chinese sheltered English immersion program—a curriculum with a global focus made sense. Students were already taking a second language, a requirement of IB, with Mandarin classes starting in K0.
The transition didn’t happen overnight. It took five years. Quincy consulted with families, using engagement strategies that met parents where they were: a Chinese-speaking family liaison and classroom WhatsApp groups. Teachers engaged in intensive IB training. Each grade-level team has a designated Content Expert for each subject who supports their fellow educators.
Quincy credits this thoughtful implementation for their steady rise in MCAS scores. Student achievement is high, but more importantly, so is growth. Between 2018 and 2022, the school’s Student Growth Percentile increased 13 points in both English and Math. With a rigorous curriculum, a global perspective, and a large yet tight-knit community, Quincy Elementary is a school on the move.
Read about 2023 School on the Move semifinalist Rafael Hernández Dual Language K-8 School here.