Neighborhood House Charter School, a PreK-8 public school in Dorchester and one of the first charter schools in Massachusetts, is proud to be named a recipient of a 2015 School Award from COSEBOC, the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color. As described in an article by Education Week’s “District Dossier,” this prestigious award recognizes NHCS’ successful work creating a school where boys of color are able to succeed.
More than thirty-five percent of Neighborhood House’s students are Black or Latino boys, a group that has consistently lagged behind others in educational outcomes nationwide (National Assessment of Education Progress, 2013). We are extremely proud that, over the last three years, the proficiency rate for boys of color at NHCS has exceeded the rate for all students in Massachusetts by an average of 14 percent in math, 12 percent in language arts, and 8 percent in science.*
“Boys of color face many challenges within their neighborhoods and society, and so we put much more emphasis on social and emotional support than the average school,” says Kate Scott, Executive Director of NHCS. The school’s Student Support Team is alert to students’ well-being and exposure to trauma, responding directly in times of need and consistently teaching life skills like resiliency and perseverance. Students at every grade level participate in “social emotional learning groups,” in which they learn resiliencies and skills that help them cope with challenges in school and at home.
The academic curriculum places great emphasis on the common core standards while at the same time offering multicultural examples and experiences that are relevant to students of all backgrounds. And the investment is paying off. One sixth grade student at NHCS says, “My teachers respect me and they hold very high standards and expectations of me. At NHCS racism has never been a challenge.”
At the COSEBOC award ceremony in Memphis, Tennessee, hundreds gathered to share ideas and lessons from their work in schools educating boys of color. Family Outreach Coordinator Nicholas Shiggs-Quiroga and Second Grade Teacher Laura Brenner attended to accept the award on NHCS’s behalf. “We were listening to the speakers talking about parent involvement, cultural relevance, school climate, counseling … and we were nodding our heads, thinking, ‘Oh yeah, we do that!’” said Shiggs-Quiroga. “It’s great to be part of the national dialogue on educating boys of color, because it’s what I’m thinking about day-in and day-out, as I’m teaching.” added Brenner. As the school marks its 20th anniversary in 2015-16, the award is a fitting tribute to the hard work of its teachers and students.
*As measured on the MCAS end-of-year assessments
For more information, contact Bodi Luse, Director of Development, (617) 825-0703 x3290.