This expansion enables ACC to serve families and students even earlier.
(Hyde Park, MA) On Friday, October 19th, Another Course to College submitted a letter to the Boston Public School Superintendent Laura Perille proposing an expansion to enroll 7th and 8th grade students for fall 2019. ACC wants to be part of the solution for BPS and for families across the City. ACC’s proposal letter is co-signed by families, faculty, and leading local partners including the GE Brilliant Career Lab, Company One Theater, and the Menino Arts Center.
In the letter, Headmaster Michele Pellam stated, “Another Course to College was founded in 1976 by faculty members from UMass Boston, who sought ‘another course’ to higher education for students shut out of the city’s exam schools and under-prepared for college by the district schools they attended.” Pellam continued, “We serve students in a unique small-school environment to enable college preparation for underserved students. We want to close achievement gaps, get students on track to graduate on time, and access college by expanding ACC to the 7th and 8th grades.”
ACC is a full-inclusion school that offers the rigors of a college preparation with supports for English language learners and students with special needs and with no barriers to entrance. ACC integrates technology and entrepreneurship into the curriculum to prepare students with 21st century skills with the BUILD program and maker-space technology and also proudly offers the arts from grades 9-12.
Brian Purvis from the General Electric Brilliant Career Lab has worked closely with ACC to see their impact. He describes, “Another Course to College uses a unique approach to learning that immerses students in their studies by supporting a project/problem based pedagogy with cutting edge digital fabrication techniques. This dedication to a school model that provides an education that is “future proof” can only be improved by adding additional exposure for students to opportunities for innovation.” He continued, “Having worked in partnership with Another Course to College in my role as Educator: Manager of Instruction for the GE Brilliant Career Lab, I have seen first hand how Another Course to College’s thoughtful design of their academic program impacts the lives of students. Expanding their footprint to include two additional grade levels can only serve to deepen the effectiveness of this model, and therefore the capabilities of students to thrive in the evolving workforce of the future.”
ACC is nationally recognized as a Teacher Powered School and has a high teacher retention rate with exemplary teachers, four of whom are award recipients of Boston Teacher of the Year. Teacher and alum Marina Gopie explains, “At ACC, differences are celebrated and students feel free to be themselves. I love the community we have at ACC, and is something I felt when I attended ACC as a student. Teachers pushed us to excel, but were also supportive of everything we did and who we were. I saw all the hard work pay off when I went to an HBCU. Twenty years later as a teacher at ACC, I strive to ensure my students feel that there are no limits on their success and that they are loved. ACC's community allows students to make connections with the majority of the adults in the building and allows them to access support from multiple places. I cannot imagine teaching at any other school and what a difference it will make for Boston students to start here in 7th grade.”
ACC requires students be accepted into college to graduate and was publicly recognized by the Boston School Committee in 2017 for graduation rates over 95% and a 100% graduation rate in 2018. Additionally, ACC students show 92% proficiency on their ELA 10th grade MCAS, while at BPS, only 81% do.
"My daughter came to ACC after struggling academically in another BPS school even after putting in extra time which left her with no space to engage in extracurricular activities. ACC helped revive her as a learner and it has been a joy to watch her curiosity and engagement return - and she's been able to participate in community service activities she's passionate about. Her teachers know and understand her and are able to challenge her in ways she enjoys and is responsive to” said parent Tammy Tai. She continued, “We are so thankful to the teachers and staff at ACC and excited for this high support, rigorous community-minded model to be available to students earlier, particularly during the middle school years which can be such a difficult transition time for a young person."
To grow, ACC would require no capital resources or physical expansion: their current space could easily accommodate an expansion from 9-12 to 7-12 to enroll students as early as fall 2019. Another Course to College looks forward to working with Mayor Walsh, the School Committee and BPS on turning the plan into action.