Student Achievement Soars Across the Board

 The recently released 2011 MCAS results confirm a continuing increase in student achievement, in the same year that our El Sistema music program added three hours of music to the students school day. Thanks to the hard work of students, teachers, and parents, the percentage of students proficient or advanced in math jumped by 23 points, putting us now 8 points above the state average. Science jumped by 34 points, and English Language Arts rose steadily by two points, making us approximately even to the state average. Our grade three class was ranked number 5 out of 87 elementary schools in Boston, with fourth and fifth grade also in the top 20.

In addition to these quantitative gains, there have been so many signs of student achievement that a test cannot measure. Through Expeditionary Learning students experience being scientists, authors, historians, and even sailors. They not only build the skills and knowledge of each discipline, they learn to put themselves in a new mindset and look at the world through different eyes. The measure of this is in the collaboration and leadership 5th and 6th grade students demonstrated aboard the sailing ship Roseway on Monday, as they traveled on location to study the Boston Harbor Islands. That day, their math lessons in cartography and compass work helped them to find their way home.

Through music they learn to embody their learning, to connect their hearts to their heads and to their hands. This has never been more evident than on the stage of the Strand Theatre last Sunday, when the Dudamel orchestra stood before an audience of 250 and passionately performed four memorized pieces, in collaboration with the dancers of BalletRox.

However we choose to measure it, our students are achieving. Our thanks go out to our hard-working students, dauntless teaching staff, dedicated parents, and impassioned supporters whose generosity sustains our efforts. Together, we are shaping the future and preparing our children for lives of beauty, service, and accomplishment.