Boston Opportunity Agenda

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Read the Boston Opportunity Agenda's Fourth Annual Report Card.

The Boston Opportunity Agenda is a public/private partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, the city’s leading public charities and many local foundations to ensure that all Boston residents have access to the education necessary for upward economic mobility, civic engagement, and lifelong learning for themselves and their families. We fervently believe that by combining our resources, expertise and influence around a single agenda, we will have a greater impact on Boston’s cradle-to-career educational pipeline.

While Boston has many exciting programs and organizations that focus on providing opportunities for individuals, the Boston Opportunity Agenda is a long-term partnership focused on achieving system change that will ultimately affect all Boston residents.  It is with this in mind that in 2014 the leadership of the Boston Opportunity Agenda expanded the focus of our work to include not only Boston Public Schools, but also Catholic and Charter schools located in Boston.

Over the past several years, the Boston Opportunity Agenda member organizations have used three organizing principles to guide our collective work and network structure. The partnership is governed by the CEOs of each member organization who identify strategic issues facing our educational pipeline in whole or in part, formulate the Boston Opportunity Agenda priorities and strategies, and provide a call to action for community stakeholders.

Goals and Benchmarks

The education pipeline begins by building a solid education foundation for all of our city’s children and continues through the entire K-16 education system, effectively preparing Boston’s students for high school and college graduation and success in our workforce.  It extends to adults, including parents and immigrants who have missed or been denied opportunities for education and job training in order to prepare them for jobs with family-sustaining wages.

The Boston Opportunity Agenda has set goals and benchmarks at critical points along the education pipeline in order to track the health of our educational systems.  Working with the Boston Indicators Project and the Boston Public Schools Office of Data and Accountability, the Boston Opportunity Agenda annually publishes a report card detailing progress against the goals using data from the Boston Public Schools and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  In 2014, we expanded our K-12 pipeline goals to include Catholic and charter schools in Boston.  This represents 93% of the school age population in Boston and gives a better picture of how all learners are progressing.

The Boston Opportunity Agenda Approach

The Boston Opportunity Agenda is dedicated to ensuring that all of Boston’s residents have the opportunity to acquire the education they need to find work in the region’s knowledge economy and help them lead secure, fulfilling lives.
 
While Boston has many exciting programs and organizations that focus on providing opportunities for individuals, the Boston Opportunity Agenda is a long-term partnership focused on achieving systemic change that will ultimately impact all Boston residents. Our partnership is driven by three organizing principles:

  1. Keeping key performance measures in public view is critical to driving change.
    Accurate and timely data is both a call to action and an accountability mechanism. We will hold ourselves accountable for the change we wish to see by regularly reporting progress on key metrics. Through our annual report card, forums, evaluations and community dialogues, we aim to educate ourselves and the Greater Boston community about our challenges, progress and collective impact.
  2. Our investments must produce immediate gains and long-term system change.
    Boston Opportunity Agenda investments are designed to expedite the positive educational outcomes for underserved individuals currently in the education pipeline and to use the continuous learning from those investments to make policy and funding recommendations that will generate large scale system change. Our investments also focus on building networks and delivery systems rather than increasing the capacity of a single organization or program.
  3. Collective impact is required to achieve our goals.
    Creating long-term systemic change is not for the faint of heart or the lone ranger. Only by mobilizing the nonprofit, philanthropic, business and governmental communities to align resources and increase efficiency and effectiveness will we ensure the overall success of Boston’s educational pipeline.
     

The Boston Opportunity Agenda partner organizations have used these principles to guide our collective work and network structure. The partnership is governed by the CEOs of each member organization who meet on a monthly basis to discuss our progress, priorities, strategies and outcomes.
 

Priority Initiatives

To achieve its goals, the Boston Opportunity Agenda is investing in a set of initiatives along the education pipeline. BOA investments are designed to expedite the positive educational outcomes for underserved individuals currently in the education pipeline while surfacing the long-term changes that must be made in our systems to ensure success for all. Our investments also focus on building networks and delivery systems rather than increasing the capacity of a single organization or program.

  • A Strong Educational Foundation
  • On Track for High School Graduation
  • High School Completion
  • Post-Secondary Attainment

 

To learn more about becoming a Boston Opportunity Agenda partner or investor at any level please contact Kristin McSwain at Kristin.McSwain@bostonopportunityagenda.org.