Boston Public Schools

Boston Public Schools
2300 Washington Street,
Roxbury, Boston, MA 02119

United States
District information
Type Public
Grades K-12
Established 1647
Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang[1]
Schools 120 (2014-2015)[2]
Budget $1,332,439,836 total
$20,247 per pupil
Students and staff
Students 54,312 (2014-2015)[2]
Teachers 4,228.9 (2014-2015)[4]
Staff 4,352 (2009-2010)[5]
Student-teacher ratio 12.8 to 1 (2014-2015)[4]
Other information
SAT scores
494 verbal
511 math
1005 total (2016-2017)[6]
Website Boston Public Schools

Boston Public Schools (BPS) is a school district serving the city of Boston, Massachusetts, United States.


The district is led by a Superintendent, hired by the Boston School Committee, a seven-member school board appointed by the mayor after approval by a nominating committee of specified stakeholders.[7] The School Committee sets policy for the district and approves the district's annual operating budget. This governing body replaced a 13-member elected committee after a public referendum vote in 1991.[8] The superintendent serves as a member of the mayor's cabinet.

From October 1995 through June 2006, Dr. Thomas W. Payzant served as superintendent. A former undersecretary in the US Department of Education, Payzant was the first superintendent selected by the appointed School Committee. Upon Dr. Payzant's retirement, Chief Operating Officer Michael G. Contompasis, former headmaster of Boston Latin School, became Interim Superintendent, and was appointed superintendent in October 2006. Dr. Manuel J. Rivera, superintendent of the Rochester City School District, had agreed to become the next superintendent of the BPS, but instead accepted a post as deputy secretary for public education for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. In June 2007, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Carol R. Johnson as the next superintendent, beginning in August 2007. Dr. Johnson had served as superintendent of the Memphis City Schools since 2003. Dr. Johnson's tenure ended in summer 2013, and John McDonough served as interim superintendent until July 1, 2015.[9] Currently the superintendent is Dr. Tommy Chang.

The mayor and Boston City Council have control over the overall appropriation for the Boston Public Schools, but the School Committee has control over how funding is allocated internally, and has control over policy.[10]

List of Superintendents

  • Dr. Thomas Chang (2015–2018)
  • John McDonough (2012–2015) Interim
  • Dr. Carol R. Johnson (2007–2012)
  • Michael G. Contompasis (2006–2007) Interim
  • Dr. Thomas W. Payzant (1995–2006)
  • Lois Harrison-Jones (1991–1995)
  • Dr. Laval S.Wilson (1985–1991)
  • Robert R. Spillane (1981–1985)[11]


BPS is the oldest public school system in America, founded in 1647.[12] It is also the home of the nation's first public school, Boston Latin School, founded in 1635.[12] The Mather School opened in 1639 as the nation's first public elementary school,[13] and English High School, the second public high school in the country, opened in 1821.[12]

In the mid-1970s, conflict raged in Boston's schools over forced busing of students. The state had enacted the Racial Imbalance Law in 1965, requiring school districts to design and implement plans to effect racial balancing in schools that were more than 50% "non-white". After years of consistent failure by the Boston School Committee to comply with the law, the U.S District Court ruled in 1974 that the schools were unconstitutionally segregated, and implemented as a remedy the busing of many students from their neighborhood schools to other schools across the city.[12] The busing aroused fierce criticism among some residents — from 1974 there were a great many protests at Boston schools, some of which turned violent, and in 1975 the Boston Police Department stationed uniformed officers in South Boston High School, Charlestown High and other schools.[14] An exodus of the city's white residents to the suburbs or private schools followed. In 2012, 13% of Boston public school students were white and 22% middle class or affluent.[15]

In September 2006 the district won the Broad Prize for Urban Education. The national prize, sponsored by philanthropist Eli Broad, includes $500,000 in college scholarships to graduates from the winning district. In most years since the prize program began in 2002, Boston has been a finalist, earning $125,000 in scholarships each year.


In 2017 the district's schools began using the Gall-Peters map projection instead of the Mercator map projection on the grounds that the latter misrepresents the sizes of continents along the Equator.[16]

Student assignment policy

Boston Public Schools (BPS) operates schools throughout the city of Boston. BPS assigns students based on preferences of the applicants and priorities of students in various zones.[17]

Since 1989, the city has broken the district into three zones for elementary- and middle-school students. High schoolers can choose any school throughout the city, since they can ride public transportation.[18] Due to the geography of East Boston, for all grade levels each child in East Boston is guaranteed a seat at a school in East Boston.[17]

In 2013, the Boston School Committee voted to begin a new school choice system for the 2014-15 school year and beyond. The new plan, called "Home-Based," measures schools through a combination of MCAS scores and growth, which are grouped in four tiers. Every family has at least two schools within the top tier, four in the top half of performance, and six in the top 75%. Families also are able to list any school within one mile of their home. The plan was first approved by an External Advisory Committee made up of parents, academic experts and community leaders. It was developed by an academic team from Harvard and MIT, which volunteered for the project after hearing about the community process in 2012. The District launched a website,[19] to help the community follow the process and contribute.


Early Childhood Education

These schools offer programs starting at either age 3 (K0) or age 4 (K1) and ending in either the first or third grade.

  • Baldwin Early Learning Center (Pilot)
  • East Boston Early Education Center
  • Ellison/Parks Early Education School
  • Haynes Early Education Center
  • West Zone Early Learning Center

Elementary Schools

  • Adams Elementary School
  • Bates Elementary School
  • Beethoven Elementary School
  • Blackstone Elementary School
  • Bradley Elementary School
  • Channing Elementary School
  • Condon Elementary School
  • Chittick Elementary School
  • Conley Elementary School
  • Dever Elementary School
  • Dudley Street Neighborhood School (Charter)
  • Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy
  • Ellis Elementary School
  • Everett Elementary School
  • Grew Elementary School
  • Guild Elementary School
  • Hale Elementary School
  • Haley Elementary School
  • Harvard/Kent Elementary School
  • Henderson Elementary lower school
  • Henderson Elementary Upper school
  • Hennigan Elementary School
  • Holland Elementary School
  • Holmes Elementary School
  • Kennedy, J. F. Elementary School
  • Kennedy, P. J. Elementary School
  • Kenny Elementary School
  • Lyon High School
  • Manning Elementary School
  • Marshall Elementary School
  • Mason Elementary School
  • Mather Elementary School
  • Mattahunt Elementary School
  • McKinley Elementary School
  • Mendell Elementary School
  • Mozart Elementary School
  • O'Donnell Elementary School
  • Otis Elementary School
  • Perkins Elementary School
  • Philbrick Elementary School
  • Quincy Elementary School
  • Roger Clap Innovation School
  • Russell Elementary School
  • Sumner Elementary School
  • Taylor Elementary School
  • Trotter Elementary School
  • Tynan Elementary School
  • Winship Elementary School
  • Winthrop Elementary School

K-8 Schools

  • Boston Teachers Union School K-8 (Pilot)
  • Curley K-8 School
  • Donald McKay K-8 school
  • Edison K-8 School
  • Eliot K-8 School
  • Greenwood (Sarah) K-8 School
  • Hernández K-8 School
  • Higginson/Lewis K-8 School
  • Hurley K-8 School
  • Jackson/Mann K-8 School
  • Kilmer K-8 School
  • King K-8 School
  • Lee K-8 School
  • Lyndon K-8 School (Pilot)
  • Lyon K–8 School
  • Mario Umana Academy
  • McKay K-8 School
  • Mildred Avenue K-8 School
  • Mission Hill School (Pilot)
  • Murphy K-8 School
  • Orchard Gardens K-8 School (Pilot)
  • Perry K-8 School
  • Roosevelt K-8 School
  • Tobin K-8 School
  • Warren/Prescott K-8 School
  • Young Achievers Science and Math K-8 (Pilot)

Middle Schools

6-12 Schools

  • Dearborn STEM Academy
  • Henderson Upper School
  • Josiah Quincy Upper School (Pilot)

High Schools

K-12 Schools

Exam Schools

The following schools serve students in grades 712 and admit students based on their grades and the Independent School Entrance Examination.

Former Boston Public Schools

See also


  1. "Office of the Superintendent / Office of the Superintendent".
  2. 1 2 "Enrollment Data (2017-18) - Boston (00350000)".
  4. 1 2 "Teacher Data (2013-14) - Boston (00350000)".
  5. "Boston Public Schools at a Glance 2009–2010" (PDF). Boston Public Schools. February 25, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 10, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  7. School Committee Members Nomination and Appointment Procedure, BPS Website Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Founding Legislation: Chapter 108, BPS Website Archived July 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Archived August 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. External Actors and the Boston Public Schools—The Courts, the Business Community, and the Mayor Archived October 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  11. "Robert R. Spillane, Boston Public Schools superintendent in early 1980s, dies at 80 - The Boston Globe".
  12. 1 2 3 4 About Boston Public Schools Archived October 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. United Nations Associate of the United States of America (UNA-USA)
  13. "Notable Events in Massachusetts History".
  14. Boston: Preparing for the Worst TIME Sep. 15, 1975 (Subscription required.)
  15. Dana Goldstein (10 October 2012), Bostonians Committed to School Diversity Haven't Given Up on Busing The Atlantic
  16. "Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion". The Guardian. 2017-03-19. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  17. 1 2 "Student Assignment Policy Archived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.." Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on April 15, 2009.
  18. WBUR,
  19. Archived 2013-08-17 at the Wayback Machine.
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