High School Selection
Finding a “Best Fit” High School
Each of our four Middle School Academy (MSA) sites, Curley K-8 School, Frederick Pilot Middle School, Mario Umana Academy, and McCormack Middle School, held successful High School Packet Nights in early November – an annual ritual and integral part of the support that Tenacity provides students and families.
At Packet Night, 8th grade students and their families receive comprehensive, personalized packets of information, applications, and recommended high schools as well as support from both Tenacity MSA staff and members of Tenacity’s College Prep team to answer any and all questions about choosing, ranking, and enrolling in a high school.
The goal of Packet Night is to help guide each student towards finding a “best fit” high school – someplace where she/he will thrive that supports their interests and identity development.
When building a list of recommended schools for each student, the key is determining where the right conditions exist for students to make the most of their opportunities and increase their engagement with learning. These conditions might be academic factors, such as unique curricula or specialized programs. For others, the decision might be influenced by location. Or it might have to do with extracurricular programming: a robust student activities program, intramural or varsity sports, or the arts.
Why is this important? Boston Public Schools (BPS) offers 33 different high school options, each of which includes a wide variety of programs, strengths and challenges. All BPS high schools are city-wide, which means that every student living in Boston is eligible to apply for any BPS high school. There is no automatic path from a particular middle school or K-8 to a particular high school, which means it is both an opportunity point and a potentially overwhelming process to navigate for students and their families.
The Boston high school choice process is a lot like shopping for and applying to colleges. Visiting schools to get a feel for what the campus and daily life are like is an important step and certain schools require students to submit an extra application to be considered for admission. These applications may include an essay, teacher recommendations, and/or an audition. Plus there are Boston’s three exam schools, charter schools, and private schools to consider.
Not only do Tenacity staff arrange visits and take students to see schools throughout Boston, they also compile and keep tabs on all of the application requirements and deadlines to help students stay on track for schools in which they are interested.
It is a complex process that combines the efforts of both the MSA and College Prep staff, who work in concert to help students identify and ultimately land at a “best fit” school where they will flourish and grow.
How to Register for an Exam School
The application process for exam schools will open on Monday, November 23, 2020, and will run until December 31, 2020.
Current Boston Public School students are not required to complete an application or submit any information for inclusion in the eligibility pool. The district will consider all students (excluding current exam school students) that meet the minimum eligibility requirements and families will be notified of their student(s) eligibility by email and telephone. BPS students that meet the eligibility criteria and would like to be considered for an exam school invitation will need to rank their school choice preferences during the school choice process in January 2021.
Students attending private, parochial, and commonwealth charter schools are required to complete a registration application, which will include verification of Boston residency and authorization to release the child’s grades to BPS. Parents will need to rank their school choice preferences during the residency verification process.
There are two ways to submit an application:
- By computer: Pre-register here and schedule an appointment here to complete the process with a registration specialist at a later date. Please select ’Pre-Register for BPS’ from the side menu and click the first option if you have never registered any child for Boston Public Schools, or select the second option if you already have an Aspen account.
- By phone: Call 617-635-9010 and complete the application with one of our registration specialists.
See the BPS Registration Document Checklist to ensure you have all the necessary documents to register for Boston Public Schools.
The only things that Tenacity students need to do is to have at least a “B” average in Math and ELA and have met or exceeded expectations on the MCAS last year. They should then rank the schools in their ranking form. Current BPS students don’t need to “apply”. The application is for private school/out of district charter school students.