Background on the President’s Trip to TechBoston Academy
On Tuesday, March 8th, President Obama will be joined by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in visiting TechBoston Academy in Boston, Massachusetts, where he will continue to build on his State of the Union call for America to out-educate the competition to win the future. The President will visit a classroom and speak to students, faculty, and partners of the school as well as local and national education, business, and philanthropic leaders about the shared responsibility that government, businesses, philanthropists, and communities have to promote effective and innovative education strategies that will prepare American students to compete in a 21st century economy.
TechBoston Academy incorporates technology into every classroom, provides access to cutting-edge curriculum, and establishes partnerships with philanthropic and business leaders to provide its students a powerful educational program.
- TechBoston Academy is a 6th – 12th grade pilot school within the Boston Public Schools. The Boston Pilot Schools Initiative serves as an innovative model for education reform established by the school district, with greater autonomy to decide what’s best for students. As a pilot school, TechBoston Academy has greater control over staffing, curriculum, instructional program, and the school day.
- TechBoston Academy fully integrates technology throughout all of its academic courses, to better engage and personalize learning for its students.
- TechBoston Academy offers a 21st century curriculum. Their instructional program provides additional learning time and opportunities for real-world internships, preparing students early for college success.
- TechBoston Academy was founded in September 2002 with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Boston Foundation. In September 2009, TechBoston Academy expanded to include grades 6 to 8 (a lower academy) to serve more students.
- TechBoston partners with the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR), a program operated by the Boston Plan for Excellence and the Boston Public Schools. BTR is an effective residency-based teacher preparation program that recruits and prepares effective teachers in high-need areas, and provides intensive and ongoing support in their first years of teaching, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, Boston. It is supported by a Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and is one of 49 winners of the Investing in Innovation fund.
TechBoston benefits from strong community and business partners, including:
- Gates Foundation and Boston Foundation, which were both instrumental in creating the school
- Cisco, which supplies wireless infrastructure for every classroom and training for teachers on Cisco Networking Academy
- Microsoft, which has sponsored workshops for educators and provided software and industry certification program opportunities
- IBM, which has provided computer donations for teachers and been a partner for student shadowing and conferences
- Harvard University, which has a partnership where faculty members share educational research and data to improve teacher and student experience
- Lenovo, HP, and SMART Technologies, which have all provided technology (laptops, printers and smartboards for classrooms)
- Google, which has made TechBoston a pilot site for the use of technology applications to enhance communication and the sharing of student work
- The TechBoston graduation rate is 82% (compared to an average graduation rate of 63% in the Boston Public School district). TechBoston graduated its first class in 2006, and 92% of that first graduating class went to college.
- More than 94% of TechBoston graduates are attending 2 and 4 year colleges and universities (85% of whom are first generation college students).
- TechBoston Academy students score proficient/advanced on the 10th grade English Language Arts and Mathematics Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests at rates of 55% and 65% respectively.
- The daily attendance rate is 94%.
Academic Requirements and Supports:
- TechBoston Academy supports a 21st century curriculum, with rigorous graduation requirements, including 4 years of science, 4 years of math (Pre-Calculus, Calculus, or AP Calculus) and 4 years of technology. Courses at TechBoston include Biotechnology, Forensic Science, Entrepreneurship, and Computer Science. The school also offers industry certifications in Microsoft Office, Adobe, and Cisco Networking.
- TechBoston and its partners offer internships at local companies, and offers all students the opportunity to take challenging honors and AP courses, regardless of test score history. The school also requires community service hours for graduation.
- Core technology requirements include classes in web development, digital art, media arts, and other similar areas.
- Every student from grades 8-12 is provided a state-of-the-art laptop and technology is integrated into all academic courses, for example with students designing technology-based presentations, developing websites, and creating videos.
Innovative Teaching and Learning:
- The school features an effective and involved staff dedicated to providing the students the best education possible. The majority of TechBoston faculty have advanced degrees and dual content/special needs/ ESL certifications.
- TechBoston has a strong commitment to continuously improve its instruction for students. It invests 257 hours each year (approximately 40 days) in professional development and weekly collaborative planning time, providing teachers the opportunity to share and observe lessons, and review student data to improve instruction.
- TechBoston operates on an extended day program as a key strategy to promote academic achievement, personalize learning, and promote enrichment. The school day for all students lasts from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., and an extended block until 4:15 p.m. for sports, clubs, one-on-one learning time with faculty, and extra academic support. Classes are 60 minutes long. Many students participate in internships or summer help sessions in July and August.
- TechBoston students apply through the Boston Public School’s choice lottery system (any student can apply) and reflect the community demographics.