Op-Ed: Preparing Boston children to take the exam school entrance test

September 23, 2016
By

By Superintendent Tommy Chang

As we start the 2016-2017 school year, we are setting out to increase awareness of the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) for entrance to the city’s three examination schools, Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, and John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science, and highlight that these schools with premiere academic rigor are a viable option for Boston Public Schools students.

We must do all we can, as a city, and as a nation, to deeply engage our students and ensure they have access to every Boston public school. With that effort comes a responsibility to ensure that every Boston public school offers rigorous academic opportunities, and culturally and linguistically sustaining practices. This is one of several focus areas in the district’s strategic implementation plan, Stronger Schools, Stronger Boston: A Plan to Foster Equity, Coherence, and Innovation. We want nothing more than to provide quality curriculum and instructional guidance to further develop our children’s literacy, language, and knowledge base.

The deadline to register for this year’s exam is today, Sept. 23. Test accommodations are available by request for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Students must currently be in grades 6, 8 and 9 to take the ISEE. Interested candidates may obtain application materials from the Principal/Headmaster of his or her present school. Applications will also be available at the BPS Welcome Centers and all branches of the Boston Public Library during the third week in September.

New students are admitted at grades 7 and 9 at all three exam schools. The John D. O’Bryant also accepts new students for grade 10. As we continue to identify best practices to increase rigor in all schools, we are also committed to ensuring all BPS students can access the exam to strive towards passing the standardized test to gain entry into BPS exam schools.

This year, with the help of Mayor Walsh, we were able to expand the Exam School Initiative, a free study program for students seeking admission to the district’s three exam schools, from 450 seats to 750 seats. This will provide more equitable access to academic rigor for students from the district’s traditionally underrepresented schools.

The Exam School Initiative is a free preparation course offered to any student living in Boston who is eligible to take the “ISEE” exam to gain admission into the district’s exam schools. The annual expanded program began in August, and the annual program has been hosted at Boston Latin School since it began in 2000. Help us boost awareness for this exam by telling a neighbor or friend about the registration deadline, and how to get more information. More details on the ISEE can be found on our website at bostonpublicschools.org/exam or at Boston Public Schools Enrollment Planning & Support at 617-635-9512 [2]. We’re so excited for this school year! Thanks for helping us to spread the word.

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