Mass. High School Dropout Rate Is Lowest In Decades

Massachusetts’ high school dropout rate is the lowest it has been in over three decades.  (Allison Wood/Wikimedia)

Massachusetts’ high school dropout rate is the lowest it has been in over three decades. (Allison Wood/Wikimedia)

Last school year’s high school dropout rate was the lowest that Massachusetts has seen in more than three decades, officials announced Tuesday.

Statewide, around 500 fewer students dropped out in the 2013-2014 school year than the year before, bringing the dropout rate to 2 percent. However achievement gaps still persist between students along race and class lines. Read More →

Storm Closes School Districts Across The State

Massachusetts residents are bracing for a winter storm, like in this file photo from January 2014. (Jesse Costa/WBUR/File)

Massachusetts residents are bracing for a winter storm, like in this file photo from January 2014. (Jesse Costa/WBUR/File)

April showers bring May flowers. January nor’easters bring, well, another nor’easter.

After a light storm this weekend, Massachusetts residents are bracing for a major nor’easter that could deposit up to 3 feet of snow in some areas of the state — and schools and districts are preparing accordingly, with schools throughout the state closing Tuesday.

Read More →

Week Ahead: Scheduled Events In Education

Our weekly roundup of top education events in the state:

On Wednesday, January 28 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. New Bedford Public Schools hosts “New Bedford Public Schools Building an Excellent School System” at Wheelock College-Campus Center, 150 Riverway in Boston. New Bedford Public Schools is hosting an Education … Read More →

Report: Schools, Partners Must Do More To Address External Barriers To Academic Success

A new report finds that Massachusetts students would benefit from an increased attention to non-academic barriers to academic success. It also recommends expanded access to preschool programs and high school curricula that blends with credit-bearing college courses. (David Goldman/AP)

A new report finds that Massachusetts students would benefit from increased attention to non-academic barriers to academic success. (David Goldman/AP)

Out-of-school factors account for two-thirds of the achievement gap between low-income students and their peers, with childhood poverty as the single largest factor to consider, a new report on Massachusetts education details.

The annual Condition of Education in the Commonwealth report released Thursday from the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, a Boston-based research non-profit, says that it is time for state and local communities to devote more attention to developing effective student support models that address student needs outside of the school building.

“This has been a challenge for our educational system that has been emerging for the past two decades,” said Chad d’Entremont Executive Director of the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy and co-author of the report. “In particular high-needs students, those in poverty, continue to struggle.” Read More →

Legislation Could Pave Way To Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Supporters of universal pre-kindergarten will unveil new legislation to implement access to full-day preschool and kindergarten across the state (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Supporters of universal pre-kindergarten will unveil new legislation to implement access to full-day preschool and kindergarten across the state (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Only about one-third of 3- and 4-year olds statewide currently receive public assistance for early education, but new legislation may change that.

Supporters of universal pre-kindergarten unveiled new legislation Tuesday to implement access to full-day preschool and kindergarten across the state.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, the bill’s lead sponsor, calls universal pre-kindergarten an investment in education and a smart economic move. Read More →

Week Ahead: Scheduled Events In Education

Our weekly roundup of top education events in the state:

On Wednesday, January 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Young Education Professionals-Boston hosts “YEP-Boston & Education Pioneers Happy Hour at Meadhall, 4 Cambridge Center in Cambridge. Join us on January 21st from 5:30-7:30pm at Meadhall for an informal networking event … Read More →

Commission To Review Whether Mass. School Districts Get Enough Funding

For the first time in over 10 years, a state commission will examine the formula that determines how much money Massachusetts's school districts need to provide students with an adequate education. (David Goldman/AP)

For the first time in over 10 years, a state commission will examine the formula that determines how much money Massachusetts\’s school districts need to provide students with an adequate education. (David Goldman/AP)

Could we be working with an outdated, ineffective and, ultimately, wrong method of calculating the amount of money school districts need?

Some Massachusetts policy analysts think so. Now, the state Legislature has a group working to officially answer that question.

The Foundation Budget Review Commission, created by the Massachusetts Legislature last year, will examine the school finance law that determines how much money Massachusetts’ local and regional school districts need in order to provide students with an adequate education. Read More →

School Committee Roundup: Marshfield, Chelmsford, Braintree, Pawtucket

(Wikimedia)

(Wikimedia)

This is what’s happening right now in school districts across the state:

Marshfield: Hold The Bus On Seat Belts

The Marshfield School Committee declined to come to a concrete decision regarding putting seat belts on the town’s school buses. They will revisit the matter later this year, The Marshfield Mariner and Pilot Ledger reports.

The committee discussed the matter at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 13, following a decision by the state attorney general’s office in December to reject the Town Meeting article passed last year requiring three-point belts be installed on the town’s school buses. Read More →

5 Questions With Hstry’s Thomas Ketchell

Thomas Ketchell, CEO and Co-Founder of Hstry. (Courtesy of Hstry)

Thomas Ketchell, CEO and Co-Founder of Hstry. (Courtesy of Hstry)

Think you know what kind of tweets Paul Revere would have had on his midnight ride? Or the 140 character thought process of Franz Ferdinand the morning leading up to the Austrian archduke’s assassination? How about a timeline of events during World War I from the perspective of a young infantryman?

Well, then you’re in luck.

Using a platform designed to mimic social media, a Back Bay ed-tech startup makes it possible for students, educators and interested onlookers to create and share timelines just like those.

Hstry, a digital learning tool, allows users to produce interactive historical timelines equipped with text, video, audio, and quiz questions. The group plans to officially launch the tool in time for SXSWedu, South by Southwest’s education conference, in March.

Hstry is one of the increasing number of local ed-tech startup companies and was rated one of BostInno’s 10 Ed-Tech Startups to Watch in 2015 . Nationally, the education technology sector has seen a 212 percent increase in investments over the last five years. Read More →

Federal Guidelines For Teaching English Language Learners Highlight Access, Civil Rights

A new set of federal guidelines highlight the civil rights of students learning English to have equal access to education and academic opportunities. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

A new set of federal guidelines highlight the civil rights of students learning English to have equal access to education and academic opportunities. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Students learning English as a second language and not yet academically proficient in English – otherwise known as English Language Learners (ELLs) – make up almost 30 percent of Boston’s student population.

The federal government now has an eye on these students with a set of national guidelines for English Language Learners released Wednesday.

“English Learner students exhibit a deep desire to learn and engage in their classrooms, yet often face multiple barriers in their quest to do so,” said acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta in a statement. Read More →