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The Pozen Prize for Innovative Schools

An annual prize recognizing schools that consistently boost students’ achievement through innovative models, programs and practices

About the Prize

The Pozen Prize for Innovative Schools was created by Boston Foundation donors Robert and Elizabeth Pozen to recognize schools that consistently boost students’ achievements through innovative models, programs and practices. 

Each year, a subset of Greater Boston autonomous schools -- pilot, innovation, Horace Mann and Commonwealth Charter schools -- that meet a set of quantitative standards for student performance are invited to apply for a prize of up to $75,000. Applications are reviewed by a panel, and finalists are given the opportunity to host a visiting team to demonstrate their innovative practices. Each May, the prize is awarded at the Boston Foundation, with a runner-up chosen to receive $10,000. In addition, the winner and runner-up are highlighted in publications and blog posts designed to catalog some of the remarkable innovations going on in schools across Massachusetts.

Pozen Prize logo
Pozen Prize announcement
Pozen Prize co-founder Robert Pozen with administrators and teachers from 2019 Prize winner Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School.

2022 Pozen Prize Winner: Carlton Innovation School

Carlton Innovation School class
Photo provided by Carlton Innovation School

On Monday, May 9, 2022, Robert Pozen and the Boston Foundation hosted the annual Pozen Prize announcement, and the awarding of the 2022 Pozen Prize for Innovative Schools to the Carlton Innovation School in Salem, Mass

The Carlton School became an Innovation School in 2012, with a mission to meet the needs of each student in a systematic and rigorous manner using a continuous progress approach to learning. It serves roughly 240 students in Grades K-5.  The school strives to provide intensive, personalized instruction to all students, allowing them to learn at their own pace and demonstrate mastery of standards when they are ready. The school allows students to enroll in Kindergarten and move between grades at the end of each trimester as they master learning and demonstrate developmental skills and social and emotional readiness.

In 2022, the focus of the prize competition was on district schools in Greater Boston that serve elementary and middle school grades and have an autonomous status – whether as pilot, innovation, or Horace Mann in-district charter schools. The Patrick Lyndon Pilot School in West Roxbury, a Grade K1-8 pilot school in the Boston Public Schools, was selected as runner-up, receiving a $10,000 prize.

Recognizing Best Practices

Cover of Rennie center report
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School Autonomy in Action

Since 2018, the Boston Foundation and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy have been developing and releasing case studies on the effective practices of the prior year's Pozen Prize winner. You can find the most recent case studies here.

Pozen Prize Honor Roll

Pioneer Charter School of Science II logo
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2021: Pioneer Charter School of Science II

Pioneer Charter School of Science II combines high academic expectations and rigorous coursework with a focus on student and family support that proved exceptionally important during the years of the COVID-19 pandemic

Read the prize announcement
Banneker Charter logo
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2019: Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School

The Banneker's rigorous STEM curriculum, built on high expectations and student supports, is interwoven with a rich student program called “The Banneker Experience."

Read the prize announcement
Kennedy Academy logo
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2018: Edward Kennedy Academy for Health Careers

The Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers leverages its status as a Horace Mann Charter School within the Boston Public Schools to create a powerful and effective alternative to traditional vocational programs.

Read the prize announcement
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2017:  Winter Hill Innovation School

Winter Hill has modeled a number of innovations that have since spread to other Somerville schools, including inclusionary practices for students with autism, school-wide use of Responsive Classroom, and the incorporation of school climate surveys in school improvement plans.

Read the prize announcement
match education
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2016: Match High School

Part of the Match Charter Public School in Boston, Match combines a supportive culture and academic rigor to drive successful outcomes for its diverse student body.

Read the prize announcement
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2015:  Brooke Charter Schools

Widely recognized for its stellar academic performance, the Brooke schools were recognized for using their autonomy to create positive learning environments that set students up for excellence in high school and beyond.

Read the prize announcement
boston prep logo
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2014: Boston Preparatory Charter School

The first year of the Pozen Prize focused on high schools, and Boston Prep in Hyde Park captured the prize for its quantitative success and innovative support model that supports students in middle school, high school and even after graduation into college.

Read the prize announcement