Classroom at the Workplace: MCAS


Classroom at the Workplace: MCAS is an innovative program combining a paid summer job or school year career exploration program with MCAS preparation classes in biology, mathematics, and English for students who have failed the exam.

Passing the MCAS is a Massachusetts requirement for graduation. For the hundreds of 11th and 12th grade Boston Public School students struggling to pass the MCAS, the prospect of leaving high school without a diploma is daunting. Without a diploma, they will earn nearly $500,000 less over their lifetime than high school graduates. The stakes are high. Unfortunately, many students entering their senior year must choose between MCAS preparation and the financial and developmental benefit of a summer or school-year job. Classroom at the Workplace: MCAS Prep addresses this need.

Summer Program: During the summer, students receive paid release time from work to take classes at or near their worksite for two hours each morning for seven weeks. Following class, students report to their jobs and utilize their academic skills in an employment context, implicitly connecting academic and employment success.

School-Year Program: During the school year, students attend MCAS preparation classes two days a week and participate in career exploration activities once a week for six to eight weeks. Career exploration activities include financial literacy, guest speakers, mock interviews, and site visits to employers. The school year program is most effective as a supplement to the summer program so that students can continue preparing for the MCAS up until the retest date in November or March.

Class Structure: Classroom at the Workplace students attend small classes of 10-15 students led by a Massachusetts certified teacher. Teachers are supported by a subject-specific instructional coach who assists with lessons and guides curriculum development.

As part of Classroom at the Workplace, students interact with several mentoring adults – their teachers, workplace supervisors, and PIC Career Specialists. This approach to work and learning provides students with viable income, academic support, and professional skills development with Boston employers representing the city’s major economic sectors: financial services, healthcare and education, and various community-based organizations.  

Interested participants or partners should contact Hilary Brayton at or (617) 488-1335.