New initiative aims to increase college success rates and interest in STEM fields in area high school students

by Patrick Rosso,

Students at 10 Boston Public Schools will have a leg up on the competition in math and science after the schools were recently included in the Boston High School College Success Network, which will use an expanded version of Mass Insight’s Mass Math + Science Initiative.

Developed by the education reform non-profit, the initiative will help focus students’ success and expand their skills in the sciences, generating interest in the technology fields and promoting higher educational achievement, said a release from the Mass Insight.

“One of the most important investments in our future is the investment in the students of Boston,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “The partnership between BPS, Mass Insight and the corporate community is a step in the right direction to expand opportunities for young people and develop tomorrow’s talent.”

Close to 6,500 students in the ninth-12th grades will be part of the program, including South Boston’s Green Academy and Dorchester’s Burke High School.

“If we are going to set the high standards, not for just some, but for all, we have to build the culture that expects all kids to perform at very high levels,” Superintendent of Boston Public Schools Carol R. Johnson, said in a statement.

The new academic programing will work to shape pupil success in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, including AP and PreAP teacher training, and partnerships between community schools.

The Burke will also partner with two neighborhood middle schools to help generate interest and understanding of the STEM fields at an early age.

“Our MMSI graduates have proven that when a school sets high standards and helps young people meet those standards, students can achieve college success,” William Guenthe, CEO and founder of Mass Insight, said in a statement. “We’re now starting earlier with 9th and 10th grade students to prepare more students for Advanced Placement courses.”

The Mass Insight program will also work closely with the already in place BPS’ Success Boston program, which aims to improve college graduation rates for BPS students.

In addition to support from Mass Insight and BPS, the initiative will also continue its partnership with corporate and private groups, exposing students to companies currently working in the fields.

“Thanks to the State Street Student Partners program, my AP Statistics class was able to go and learn about how we could apply what we learn in class in the professional field,” Jennifer Madrid, a senior at East Boston High School, said in a statement. “This opened up our minds to see what we have never really thought of before.”

The schools included in the 10 Boston High School College Success Network: Boston Community Leadership Academy, Boston Green Academy, Brighton High School, Burke High School, Community Academy of Science & Health, East Boston High School, E.M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, Excel High School, New Mission High School, and O'Bryant School of Math and Science.