Research & Insights / Educators invest the entire school community in the vision for the school
Educators invest the entire school community in the vision for the school
EdVestors’ School on the Move Prize serves to highlight the strategies of Boston’s most improving schools. Through years of research, EdVestors and the Rennie Center have identified key practices that enable schools to improve and sustain progress. The ten schools in consideration for the 2022 School on the Move Prize exemplify these practices in their pandemic recovery efforts.
Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston leverages partnerships through their nationally recognized Community Hub School model, which seeks to remove non-academic barriers to learning. The model relies on a close partnership with the school and the YMCA: 4 YMCA employees work full time coordinating the community hub program at the school, in addition to multiple YMCA-employed paraprofessionals. In addition, GPA works with 30+ community partners during the school day, summer, and for after school programs that provide over half of students with thousands of hours of extended learning time.
Families are an integral part of the school community. With the hub school model already set up pre-pandemic, GPA provided meals, vaccines, holiday gifts, and clothing to hundreds of families. GPA strengthens connections by hiring family members and former students as teachers and support staff. In reflection of GPA’s strong relationships with families, the school’s unusually high attendance rate and low chronic absenteeism rate persisted during the pandemic.
Another Community Hub School, Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, uses partnerships to prepare students for college and careers. Students receive one-on-one tutoring from Boston Partners in Education and CityYear. Through their capstone, juniors write college essays with 826 Boston and receive college preparation support from HERC. The Burke’s strong partnerships with local colleges provide seniors with individualized application and FAFSA advising as well as the opportunity for dual enrollment courses, with targeted support for English language learners and students with disabilities. The Burke’s biotechnology career pathway connects students with industry partners to open up access to Boston’s life sciences sector.
To increase AP participation and success for Black, Latinx, and low-income students (who make up much of the Burke’s population), teachers and administrators partnered with Mass Insight to test improvement ideas in short Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. Local professionals of color spoke with AP students about their careers. The school established an academic support center and study periods for AP students. Seniors currently enrolled in AP classes met with sophomores to increase their belief in their ability to succeed in AP courses in the future. Student surveys and enrollment numbers showed promising results from these strategies.