The Boston Opportunity Agenda is entering into its sixth year as a public/private partnership between the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and the city's leading public charities and foundations. With a continued focus on combining resources, expertise, and influence around a single agenda we know we will have a greater impact on Boston's cradle-to-career educational pipeline. The Boston Opportunity Agenda is pleased to share more information about its guiding principles and strategies which have facilitated its accomplishments to date and will drive work going forward. 

Boston Opportunity Agenda: Driven by Three Guiding Principles

1. Data drives change: Keeping key performance measures in public view is critical to driving change. Accurate and timely data is both a call to action and an accountability mechanism.  We will hold ourselves accountable for the change we wish to see by regularly reporting progress on key metrics and encouraging the use of common metrics across the pipeline.
2. Our investments are designed to incubate solutions and must produce immediate gains and long term system change. By making a limited number of data-driven and research-based investments, we can:
  • Expedite the positive education outcomes for underserved kids currently in the system; and
  • Tackle challenges in the education pipeline and use the continuous learning from those investments to recommend large scale system changes.
3. Collective impact is required to achieve our goals. By mobilizing the nonprofit, philanthropic, business and governmental communities to align resources and increase efficiency and effectiveness, we ensure the overall success of Boston’s educational pipeline.

Strategies for Driving Change

A. Report Card
We publish an annual report card to keep progress against the metrics in public view, as well as to provide an accountability mechanism across schools. Our 5th annual report card will be released in early 2016. 

B. Build and Support Community Action Networks
We bring together groups of cross-sector organizations to:
  • Build new networks (philanthropy, schools, nonprofits, faith based organizations, content experts, evaluators).  Each network focuses on finding solutions to gaps identified in the pipeline. 
    • Examples: Summer Learning and Opportunity Youth
  • Support and strengthen existing networks.  We partner with existing networks to help drive the work forward. This ranges from bringing additional members to the table, pushing the data work forward, or placing the work in the context of the education pipeline.
    • Examples: Thrive in 5 and Success Boston

C. Investment: Invest in Capacity

  • We identify targeted, strategic opportunities that can:
    • unlock potential
    • remove obstacles
    • change the public conversation
      • Examples: School assignment funding for data analysis and public outreach, high school redesign 

Current Networks

1. Thrive in 5
Thrive in 5's mission is to ensure that children of all races, ethnicities, incomes, abilities, and languages have the opportunities and support they need for success in school and beyond. Thrive in 5 focuses on creating sustainable change in organizations, communities, policies, and systems by developing and supporting effective approaches, investing in capacity building, and advocating for policy and systems change to achieving positive outcomes for at-risk young children and their families. For more information on Thrive in 5, contact Jane Tewksbury

2. Summer Learning
Boston After School & Beyond and the Boston Public Schools have co-managed efforts to expand summer learning access. The Boston Opportunity Agenda has invested, along with the City of Boston, the Wallace Foundation, and other key funders, for more than 1,5000 new program slots to address the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher income peers that is explained by unequal access to summer opportunities. Boston's approach to summer learning addresses the knowledge, skills, and experiences young people need to acquire in order to succeed in school, college, work, and life. Schools draw on the strengths of teachers and leading program to allow for full-day integrated learning experiences. For more information on Summer Learning, contact David McAuley. 

3. Opportunity Youth Collaborative
The Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative is made up of 80 different partners, including local community-based organizations, the Boston Public Schools, philanthropy, city and state agencies, and postsecondary institutions. The Opportunity Youth Collaborative was first co-convened by the Boston Opportunity Agenda and the Boston Private Industry Council through funding from the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund in 2013. This past May, the Collaborative was one of seven community collaborative grantees to receive three-year grants of $240,000-$270,000 to dramatically improve education and employment outcomes for opportunity youth. For more information on the Opportunity Youth Collaborative contact Tahina Barlatier.

4. Succes Boston
Success Boston is Boston's citywide college completion initiative. Together, the Boston Foundation, the Boston Public Schools, the City of Boston, 37 area institutions of higher education led by UMass Boston and local nonprofit partners are working to double the college completion rate for students from BPS. Success Boston was launched in 2008 to address the steady increase in college employment, which was not matched by completion rates. Together, the partner organizations implemented a four-part strategy: getting ready, getting in, getting through, and getting connected- to ensure our youth are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and achieve a degree that will allow them to thrive in the workplace. In October 2014, the Corporation for National and Community Service award the Boston Foundation with a grant of $2.7M to expand the efforts of Success Boston. This Social Innovation Fund expands Success Boston's Coaching for Completion transition coaching model from 300 to 1,000 students annually.  For more information about Success Boston, contact Elizabeth Pauley.
BOA Board of Directors

Reverend Ray Hammond, Chair

Rahn Dorsey
City of Boston

Jim Canales
Barr Foundation

Robert Beal
The Beal Companies, LLP

Dr. Tommy Chang

Boston Public Schools

Paul S. Grogan
The Boston Foundation

Debbie Rambo
Catholic Charities

Barry Shrage
Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Katie Everett
The Lynch Foundation

Alex Cortes
New Profit Inc.

Nick Donohue
Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Chancellor Keith Motley
University of Massachusetts Boston

Mike Durkin
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
BOA Community Action Networks
Community Action Networks are essential to how we drive change and often the highlight of our monthly newsletters. Current networks that the Boston Opportunity Agenda works with at each stage along the education pipeline are:

Early Education: Thrive in 5 

On Track: Summer Learning Project

High School Completion: Opportunity Youth Collaborative

College Completion: Success Boston
Copyright © 2015 Boston Opportunity Agenda, All rights reserved.

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