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Home Base Plan:

This year, BPS will begin to use a new Home-Based school choice plan for early education, elementary and K-8 schools. Under this plan, a student’s home is the starting point. We offer families the school options within one mile of their home. Where we have concerns about the MCAS quality of schools nearby, this plan offers additional choices a little farther away, as well as schools with programs that would otherwise not be on their list. The new choice plan offers sibling priority as well as citywide choices for all families. Under the new Home-Based plan, elementary schools are connected to middle schools through voluntary pathways, guaranteeing assignment from kindergarten through grade 8.

Welcome Centers (WC's):
There are three Welcome Centers and two Satellite Centers (East Boston in and Mattapan). Staff at any of the three locations (or the satellite offices) can explain your choices, help you register for school, address concerns about transportation, or address anything you may want to ask before or after your child enters school.

Clusters: Many of our English language learners and students with disabilities (SWD) are assigned to a school that has a program designed specifically to meet their academic needs. The Home-Based plan creates community clusters of school options to ensure that these students can enroll in schools that offer quality programs closer to home.

Extended Day: The standard school day for grades 1-5 is six hours. For grades 6-8, it is six hours and 10 minutes. Some schools have longer hours, referred to as “extended day.” “Extended day” may also refer to kindergarten programs that are a full, six-hour day. Nearly all BPS kindergarten programs are now extended day. Just a few schools still offer the half-day kindergarten classes that were standard 20 years ago.

Inclusion: In an inclusion classroom, children with disabilities are placed in a general education class with non-disabled peers. The teacher, who is certified in special education, adjusts the curriculum to meet the individual needs of all children.

MCAS Tier: We have grouped our schools into four tiers according to how students performed on MCAS tests for the past two years. We take into account both overall performance and improvement. Every family has at least two of the highest-scoring schools (Tier 1, the top 25%) and at least four schools that are in either Tier 1 or Tier 2 (the top half of MCAS performance) on their customized lists. MCAS Tiers 3 and 4 are in the bottom half. Tier 4 is the bottom 25%.

Charter Schools:
These public schools are NOT part of the BPS system. They are overseen by the state Department of Education. For a list and more information, call (781) 338-3227 or visit MA Department of Education 

Early Education Centers (EECs) and Early Learning Centers (ELCs):
These BPS sites offer K0 or K1 through 1st grade and include free before- and after-school care. Seats in these centers usually fill up in the first round of registration in January.

Home Schooling:
Some parents prefer to teach their children at home, which is legally allowed, as long as you get approval from the Boston School Committee by calling the BPS Alternative Education Department at (617) 635-8035.

There are a very small number of seats available for children who will be 3 by Sept. 1 (called K0). Most of these seats are filled by children with special needs or by siblings of current BPS children.

* Remember that a school day is six hours (typically 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM,  8:30 AM to 2:30 PM or 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM). Be sure the school's hours fit your needs, including its after school options, and also be sure to have a back-up child care plan. Seating is not guaranteed for K0 and K1, and most schools do not host after school services for children under five. For additional pre-school and Head Start program options call Child Care Choices of Boston at (617) 348-6641.

BPS is expanding its kindergarten programs for four-year-olds (called K1). BPS currently has 76 K1 schools with 2,400 seats available. Seating in these programs is still limited and assignment for K1 cannot be guaranteed.

This is full-day (6-hour) kindergarten for children who are 5 by September 1. BPS guarantees a school seat for every child who registers for K2. Make sure you check off the K2 Guarantee Box when you register.

Through this program, minority students from Boston attend school in more than 30 suburban school districts at no cost and with transportation provided. The wait list for this program may be long. Call (617) 427-1545.

Pilot Schools:
Part of BPS, these public schools help parents, teachers and school administrators try out new education strategies to share with other schools.

School Preview Time (SPT):
This is the period from November through January when Boston Public Schools invite you to see what they have to offer before you register your child. You can get a schedule starting in November at any BPS Wecome Center, any public library, or here at the Countdown to Kindergarten website.

Surround Care: All elementary schools have an academic school day of at least 6 hours. A few schools, such as the Lyon and the early education schools, have free before-school and after-school care from early morning to late afternoon. This additional time beyond the regular school day is called surround care.







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