Boston Prep was one of three finalists for the prize, which was created by Boston Foundation donors Robert and Elizabeth Pozen. Robert is a former top executive of Fidelity Investments and MFS Investment Management, who now serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School and a Senior Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Elizabeth is a retired psychotherapist who is now focusing on her career as a figurative artist.
“Boston Preparatory Charter Public School demonstrates its commitment to quality education not just with its stellar MCAS scores, which rank among the best in the state, but with a school culture that places a premium on both academic achievement and strength of character,” said Robert Pozen about Boston Prep’s selection. “The school’s focus on ethics and character education help make it a model for schools across the state to learn from, even as school leaders strive to improve even further.”
“We are fortunate in Greater Boston to have a number of charter public schools that set a high bar for academic success,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “All three of the charter high schools chosen as finalists rank highly in academic achievement, but what tipped the balance for Boston Prep in the eyes of the committee was the school’s ability to demonstrate a collaborative learning environment for students and staff, and a commitment to success that extends beyond the student’s career at Boston Prep into higher education and beyond.”
Boston Prep, which opened in 2004, accepts students from the city of Boston through an open lottery system. Boston Prep graduated its first students in 2011. The school notes that 100 percent of its graduates in 2011-14 were accepted to a four-year college and 100 percent of graduates enrolled in college in the fall after their senior year. 98 percent of the school’s 10th-graders scored proficient or higher on the 2013 MCAS in English/Language Arts, and 99 percent scored proficient or higher in Math. The school had its charter renewed by the state for the second time in 2014.
Students at the school are supported throughout not just their high school years, but into their college careers through alumni surveys designed not only to ensure Boston prep alumni have the supports they need to succeed getting through college, but also to give school leaders another lens through which to view the effectiveness of the school’s programming in preparing students for higher education.
“We’re deeply honored to be recognized by the Pozen Prize Committee for our work over the past decade to offer strong academic and ethical growth opportunities to Boston’s youth,” said Sharon Liszanckie, Executive Director of Boston Preparatory Charter Public School. “Our integrated middle school, high school, and graduate support model is designed to ensure our students are succeeding in college, and we’re thrilled to be able to shine a light on the relentless hard work of our students, faculty, and families that have led to our results to date.”
The three finalists – Boston Prep, MATCH Charter Public School of Boston and Pioneer Charter School of Math and Science of Everett – were selected on the basis of a quantitative analysis of their academic excellence as determined by their proficiency and growth scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test, as well as a comparison of the demographic makeup of each school’s student body relative to the overall district in which the school was located. The Pozen Prize Selection Committee focused the 2014 competition on charter public high schools, with the expectation that subsequent years will focus on different grade levels.
Applicants for the prize also filled out a detailed application that focused on their instructional program design, goals, staff, student recruitment, and demonstrated best practices that could be shared with other public schools to advance the overall performance of schools across the state. The three finalists were also required to further discuss their students’ college readiness and teacher recruitment and retention in a second qualitative application.
The three finalists then each hosted a visit from members of the Pozen Prize Selection Committee, whose recommendations played a critical role in the ultimate prize determination.
Of the $80,000 prize, Boston Prep is required to use $5,000 toward the sharing of institutional best practices.