Boston Day and Evening Academy
I get support and love. I get encouragement to do better. I found a better me.
FACTS & FIGURES
Alternative Public Charter High School
ELL or Primary Language other than English
Students with Disabilities
Free or reduced lunch
Economically disadvantaged (as assessed by whether a family is accessing services, such as Section 8 housing, food stamps, and Medicaid)
A SENSE OF BELONGING. OF BEING VALUED. OF BEING TRUSTED. OF BEING KNOWN. That is what you feel when you enter the halls of Boston Day and Evening Academy (BDEA).
That is no small feat. The learners who attend BDEA are there precisely because they didn’t “belong” in their traditional high schools. For one reason or another, they were considered “off-track.” Many are overage for high school; others dropped out because of family or life circumstances. Some were held back, yet didn’t feel they were being supported to move forward. Each BDEA learner arrives with a sense of being excluded—with a longing to find a “home.” And, what BDEA offers is just that—a community that will believe in them, challenge them, and support them to be the people they know they can be.
This all starts with a focus on transitions and a recognition that they can be bumpy. BDEA learners are coming from situations—like becoming a parent at sixteen—that make it difficult for them to get their bearings. So, everything about BDEA is designed to provide the structures and supports needed for them to feel confident in the path ahead.
Learners spend their first four days at BDEA in “orientation”—a time when their educators can get to know them. Educators delve into who each kid is as an individual and as a learner: where they’re coming from, where they are in their learning, and where they want to go. This is the foundation upon which BDEA builds their socially embedded culture.
An eleven-week seminar (or one trimester at BDEA) follows these intensive orientations. Another structure designed to cushion the transition, the seminar is an opportunity for learners to get to know each other and figure out what it means to learn in a competency-based system. At BDEA, there are no grades of any kind. Instead, content areas are broken into 11-week modules—each with associated benchmarks against which learners demonstrate their competence. So, they progress according to their skill development, not their age or time spent in a seat. During the seminar, they identify their starting points—what skills and knowledge they are coming in with and which module they’ll begin with.
This emphasis on ensuring smooth transitions doesn’t end there. Each learner emerges from their 11-week seminar with their own Roadmap to Graduation. This tool accompanies them along their journey through BDEA and beyond. From the very beginning, learners are asked to think about post-graduation—what will they do after BDEA? How will they ensure they are ready? These questions come up early for a reason. By the time each learner leaves BDEA (whether that happens in one or four years), they are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and habits to answer them.
Don’t worry—that’s not all. A transition coordinator stays in touch nine months after graduation to provide advice, support, and encouragement as learners embark on their next adventures. And, from feeling cast out or “off-track,” these learners are taking the world by storm.
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