Introduction to the BGA Strategic Plan
It is hard to think about strategy in the moment we find ourselves in. The twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice thrust an urgency in our daily lives that forces us to acknowledge and address real suffering happening daily in our community. The relentlessness of these moments risk closing us off from our purpose- limiting our mission by focusing only on the moment. It is exactly these times, though, where a strategy is critically important; a strategy provides the pathway for how our community moves forward- envisioning a more just and healthy future- where students play leading roles in advocating their values. It offers us hope for a better tomorrow, and the steps we need to take to get there. But most important, it reflects the values of our community. It reflects how our decisions- in times of joy and struggle- guide our work to enliven the creativity and broaden the horizons of our students. It is for that reason I am honored to share with you the following strategic plan for Boston Green Academy.
Founded in 2011 as an in-district Horace Mann Charter school, Boston Green Academy (BGA) today serves over 500 students in grades 6-12, from every neighborhood in the city of Boston. As Boston’s only school focused on sustainability, we are proud to prepare the next generation of leaders for success in college and green careers, and our recent adoption of a Massachusetts Chapter 74 Career Technical Education program in Environmental Science, and our 2019 Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award reflects both our ongoing commitment to excellence and our nationally-recognized best practices. Our academic progress has reflected our growth as well. Since 2011, we have raised graduation rates by 30%, reduced dropouts 75%, and doubled the college acceptance rate to 90%. For our work, BGA is now recognized across the district as one of the most successful Boston Public School secondary schools that does not select students.
Seeking to build on this success, BGA undertook a comprehensive planning process in the fall of 2019. BGA engaged deeply with stakeholders across the community including students, parents, faculty, community partners, funders, and board members. Our goal was to envision a best-in-class school- one that celebrated our successes, and acknowledged the work required to grow and address challenges. The initial phase of that work, concluding in March 2020, reflected the collective vision of our community over the next five years.
As the pandemic and the cultural awakening of racial injustice our country emerged over subsequent months, our planning committee wrestled with how the vision adopted in March reflected a changed world. Do we change our plan? Do we start over? How do these challenges change our approach to educating students? In the end, our values provided the framework for our most important work ahead. True, while the twin pandemics may change the equation of how we implement our work day-to-day, our objectives- those principals reflecting the work and our values- remain constant.
I am so proud of the work our community has done- and continues to do- to support our students and families during an incredibly difficult moment. Time and again, I have seen the passion, empathy, and joy our educators bring in supporting the holistic needs of our students whether in a classroom, or behind the screen. I am equally proud even amidst that chaos, they created this beautiful strategic statement that gives us our next steps to welcome diverse students of all abilities, educate and empower them to succeed in college and career, and prepare them to lead in the sustainability of our community and world.