Special to the Times-Free Press
Boston Public Schools and the Boston Schools Fund, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance educational equity in Boston by providing access to high-quality schools, are proud to announce this year’s recipients of the Boston Schools Fund PEAK (Partnering with Educators to Accelerate Knowledge) Grants at the Rafael Hernández Dual Language K-8 School in Roxbury. PEAK Grants will provide schools with funding to focus on two important goals: improving student outcomes and increasing the use of high-quality instructional materials with integrity.
The first cohort of schools to receive PEAK Grants for the 2022-23 school year will include the Adams Elementary School in East Boston, the Sumner Elementary School in Roslindale, and the Rafael Hernandez Dual Language School in Roxbury. These PEAK Schools, including the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester, will receive a combined $420,000 in funding over this school year and receive technical assistance and coaching from national expert partners. The PEAK Grants (Partnering with Educators to Accelerate Knowledge) will invest over $2.3 M to improve school quality in up to 12 Boston Schools over the next three years with targeted support of high-quality instruction and aligned professional learning. The funds, of up to $100,000 per year, will be split between vetted technical assistance providers and direct funding for schools.
“It is truly an honor to have so many dedicated partners throughout our community,” said Superintendent Mary Skipper. “Like I always say, it takes a village to build up Boston Public Schools and I want to thank all of our partners, especially BSF, for understanding the importance of community and philanthropic involvement. It will take all of us to make BPS a better place for our students and I am proud to see the sheer amount of support we have here in Boston.”
Reaching 1,586 students in its first cohort, BSF plans to grow the PEAK Grants program to at least two new cohorts of 3-4 additional schools in 2022-23 and 2023-24. BSF and Boston Public Schools will partner in monitoring progress, and evaluating key outcome indicators for students and schools in the program.
“We’ve been following the research and data closely for years, and we know what is at stake,” said Boston Schools Fund CEO, Will Austin. “When schools utilize high-quality instructional materials – and educators are supported and trusted – student academic outcomes improve.”
Each school’s initial focus this year is in service of improving student outcomes as determined by their success in both their school-specific programmatic goals and other metrics such as MCAS, MAP testing, and enrollment data. Partners strategically work with school leaders and teachers to build their capacity to effectively use high-quality instructional materials over time. The PEAK Grant for the Hernandez School is made possible through the Boston Schools Fund’s partnership with the Canizales Group and will focus on the biliteracy curriculum and will implement benchmark advantage curriculum for students from kindergarten through second grade. In addition to BSF, initial funding for the PEAK Grant program is being provided by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Plymouth Rock Assurance, Someone Else’s Child Foundation, and the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation.
“Community support is crucial to the success of our students,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Jeri Robinson. “Partners like BSF help us to make an indelible mark on our community and have such a positive impact on the lives of countless children. On behalf of the entire BPS family, I cannot stress enough how grateful we are to BSF and how we look forward to our continued partnership.”
Since its founding in 2015, the Boston Schools Fund (BSF) has invested $20 million in grant funding, impacting 50 Boston schools and 20,000 Boston children. PEAK Grants are BSF’s second generation of grants aimed at improving school quality for historically underserved students, including Black and Brown students, English Learners, and students with disabilities.
“Educators and students need the support of our community to thrive,” said President Jessica Tang of the Boston Teachers Union. “Grants like these help our schools to provide the learning and growth opportunities our students need and deserve, so they can attend schools they are proud and excited to be a part of.”
To date, BSF’s grant support for Boston Public Schools has totaled just under $4M over seven years since BSF’s founding in 2015.