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.
Established as a Commonwealth Charter School in 2013, Pioneer Charter School of Science II (PCSS II) enrolls 370 students in grades 7-12, with a student body that is roughly 75% students of color (versus just over 30% for the Saugus Public Schools). Even during the pandemic, PCSS II has maintained exceptionally high attendance rates. PCSS II achieved a 100% graduation rate for its Class of 2020, with MCAS scores significantly above the state and city averages. PCSS II was recently ranked #4 of all Massachusetts public high schools by U.S. News and World Report.
Beginning in 2018, the Boston Foundation and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy have developed and released a case study on the effective practices of the prior year's Pozen Prize winner. The 2017 report looked at how the Winter Hill Community Innovation School in Somerville and the Paul Revere Innovation School in Revere underwent rapid school improvement by supporting students’ social, emotional, and intellectual needs, using school-based decision-making to accelerate student learning.
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
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
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
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
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
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