In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Jobs for the Future, the school district commissioned The Parthenon Group to conduct an extensive study about Boston's off-track youth. The results of the 10-month study helped develop strategies for dropout prevention, intervention and recovery.
The study revealed that there are four key risk factors that allow nearly three-quarters of likely dropouts to be identified no later than the end of the first year of high school:
Together, these populations represented nearly 75% of students from the Class of 2004 who eventually dropped out of school.
- Students with one or more 8th grade "risk factors": Students who can be identified based on having at least one of the following characteristics in 8th grade - (1) attendance rate below 80%, (2) two or more years overage relative to grade level, and/or (3) multiple 8th grade core course failures;
- Students with multiple 9th grade core course failures: First-time 9th graders who fail one or more of the following core courses - English, Math, Science, History;
- Substantially separate special education students: All students with a Substantially Separate SpEd designation at any point in grades 9-12, excluding students with severe disabilities who are not intended to receive a high school diploma; and
- Late entrant ELL students: ELL (English Language Learner) students who enter BPS for the first time during high school.
The Acceleration Agenda outlines a variety of strategies to support the goal of ensuring every BPS student earns a high school diploma, including:
- Credit Recovery sites after school and during the summer;
- Additional supports for students in special education programs and English Language Learners;
- An aligned pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 Literacy curriculum;
- Improved coordination and delivery of student support services.