Home-Based Plan

On February 25, the EAC voted to approve the Home-Based/A model and present it to the Superintendent.  The Superintendent brought it before the Boston School Committee for consideration, which approved the model in March for implementation in 2014.  You can read the Superintendent’s remarks here.  This model includes the ELL and SWD overlays as well as middle-school pathways.

For more information on these plans and background on the process, check out answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Click here to see a neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis summary and here for the full report from the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative.

Watch a video of the EAC Community Meeting from February 4.

What these options improve:

  • More equitable access to quality: The new options better distribute access to quality schools for students across the city.
  • More predictability: The new options help families explore their school choices and have more certainty about which schools their child could attend. More families have access to K-8 schools and elementary schools are linked to middle school pathways.
  • Greater convenience: The new options help children attend schools closer to home, while still providing citywide options.
  • Continued diversity: The new options aim to protect the socioeconomic diversity we value here in Boston.
  • Better placement of specialized programs: English Language Learners and students with disabilities will have appropriate programs in schools nearby through our new overlay system.

What remains the same:

  • Sibling preference remains a priority, and younger siblings of current students will be able to select the school their older sibling already attends.
  • Walk zone schools are always in a family’s choice set.
  • Current students don’t have to change schools: The assignment changes would take effect for incoming students beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

BPS is also improving school quality. We have already taken many steps together to improve the quality of schools and offer better options for families and are taking additional steps to ensure every school is one every family would be happy to choose. Explore them here.

Elements of all proposals:

  • Grandfathering of all students and sibling grandfathering. Under any plan, current BPS students may choose to stay in their assigned school and may be joined by their younger brothers or sisters
  • Sibling priority and walk zone access are maintained in all proposals (walk zone is a one-mile radius from home, even if it is across a zone boundary)
  • More K-8 pathways: Every student would have access to K-8 pathway school(s) in their menu of options
  • More predictability and closer to home: Families can know more about the schools they can select with assurance they have more equitable access to quality; this could attract new families to BPS
  • More school options will be possible – including in-district charters, Innovation schools, dual language and inclusion programs
  • Create between six and eight new in-district charter and Innovation Schools to address quality concerns in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park
  • Convert a high-quality Allston-Brighton school to a regional option
  • Committed to identifying space for a downtown school, so that downtown families have a great school option close to home.
  • Earlier hotline activation to move students off waiting lists and into schools faster
  • Offer option for incoming K2 families to be assigned to the closest available school in Round One if they don’t receive one of their choices

Home-Based Proposal

The EAC voted to approve this model on February 25. This model was presented to the Superintendent and Boston School Committee for consideration along with the ELL and SWD overlays and middle school pathways.

School mapFinal 2-4-6-3 1-17-13.v2[1]“The Home-Based Proposal” creates a list of schools for each student based on his or her family’s home address. In this model, each student has at least six choices based on school quality.

This model ensures every family has high-quality schools on their list of options, as well as all walk zone schools (within one mile from home). It also adapts to changes in school quality and popularity over time and ensures a match between supply and demand.

How does it work?
BPS uses MCAS data to chart two years of overall academic performance of students in Mathematics and English in each school (grades K-5) and the rate of academic growth. Each school is given a total score based on these metrics, with overall performance counting for 2/3 of the total, and growth counting for 1/3.

From here, we group our schools into four tiers:

  • Tier I: The top 25 percent of schools in BPS
  • Tier II: The middle 26-50 percent of schools
  • Tier III: The middle 51-75 percent of schools
  • Tier IV: The remaining schools.

Every family will get a customized list of schools based around their home address (a “home-based list”). For Home-Based: A, every family’s list would include the closest two schools from Tier I, as well as the four closest schools from Tiers I and II, then the six closest schools from either Tier I, II or III. In some cases, these schools would be the same, meaning a student would have six school choices. In other cases, for example if a family lives very close to many schools but lives far from a high-quality school, it could be many more. The average number of schools on a family’s list would be about eight, in addition to citywide options. The list would also include all the schools in the family’s walk zone (within one mile from home).

To ensure a match between supply and demand, we also look at three years of demand data to determine schools that can usually seat any student who requests it, regardless of performance. These schools are called “capacity schools,” and may also appear on a family’s choice list. Sometimes, these are Tier I or II schools – other times, they are Tier III or IV. Every family is given the option to choose from the three closest capacity schools.

After learning about each school, families rank the schools they prefer their child to attend and are assigned to a school based on seat availability. Sibling preference and walk zone priorities would continue in the assignment process, just as today.

The Hernández K-8, Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School and UP Academy Charter School of Dorchester would be citywide options, available to all students. All high schools would remain citywide, just as today. Mission Hill K-8 would be offered as a local option for families in Mission Hill and parts of Roxbury.

Elementary schools would feed into middle schools, much like the Roslindale K-8 pathway does today.

Explore more options for Students with Disabilities (SWD) and options for English Language Learners (ELL).

For additional background on the Home-Based model, read the  Closest Types Overview.