Fall enrollment expected to be the highest in eight years
BOSTON – New figures indicate more families are choosing the Boston Public Schools, with an eight percent increase in students requesting Kindergarten (K2) seats for this fall. This year, 289 more families requested a K2 seat during the first round of registration as compared to last year. If trends continue, next year’s BPS enrollment will be at its highest level in eight years with a total enrollment of 58,271.
“It’s clear that our improvements to school quality are attracting more families to our city’s public schools,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Today our graduation rate is the highest it has ever been and we have brought arts, athletics, outdoor learning opportunities and extended days back to our schools. We are excited to welcome so many new families this fall.”
In addition to the enrollment increase, BPS has also made it easier for families to know earlier which school they will attend. Last year 344 incoming Kindergarten families made school choices but did not receive any of them after the first round of school registration, thereby left “unassigned.”
Superintendent Carol R. Johnson led an effort to correct this situation and, under a new process, families are now given the option of asking the District to assign their child to the closest available school if they do not receive one of their original choices. As a result, no students were left unassigned after Round One (compared to 344 last year) and just 50 students declined the opportunity to be automatically assigned to a school and do not have an assignment.
“Our work has been to make our schools more welcoming and the school choice process easier,” said Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “We want all our families to get one of their school choices, but when they don’t, now they at least know that we have a place for them in a school they can visit and explore to see if it’s right for their child. This is a major step forward and there is more to come.”
Families will receive school assignment notifications in the mail beginning this weekend. These assignments are being made under the existing three-zone school assignment system, which the Boston School Committee voted this week to replace with a new Home-Based model beginning next year. The new model will help more students attend schools close to home and will increase the chances a family will be assigned to one of their top-choice schools.
The Boston Public Schools, the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves more than 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 128 schools.