During school year 2005-2006, 1,936 students left the Boston Public Schools (BPS) without a diploma. During the 2016-2017 school year, that number fell to 660, resulting in the lowest dropout rate in BPS history.
Now, the challenge is to reduce the dropout rate even further, while reaching out to BPS graduates who are not connected to the labor market or postsecondary education. The PIC organizes two collaborations in pursuit of these objectives— the Youth Transitions Task Force and the Opportunity Youth Collaborative.
In 2004, the Youth Transition Task Force was convened in order to lower the high school dropout rate. An early pilot dropout outreach initiative evolved into the Re-Engagement Center in 2009—a BPS-PIC partnership—that enrolls hundreds of dropouts annually, connecting them with appropriate school placements, both within the BPS and at nonprofit organizations. The REC has now brought over 3,300 students back to school.
In 2013, the PIC and Boston Opportunity Agenda co-convened the Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC). The OYC has expanded the re-engagement agenda to include disconnected high school graduates. It is part of a national network of communities developing strategies for engaging opportunity youth —16-24-year-olds who are out of school and out of work.
In 2017, personal struggles led Eric Bui to drop out of his senior year at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Eric did not attend school for nearly two years before deciding that he wanted to resume his education.
A caring adult referred Eric to the Re-Engagement Center (REC), where he was able to complete his studies online and graduate high school under the guidance of the REC’s teacher. But he did not stop there, and before his graduation, Eric had already begun working with a PIC Career, who helped him identify his next step: applying to the six-month Year Up IT training program. Eric was accepted and spent the next six months learning IT skills as well as professional skills such as business communications, email etiquette, public speaking, and resume and cover letter writing.
After completing the program, Eric was placed in a six-month internship at the Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT). He is now working on a contract basis as a Testing Associate for the HUIT Department of Identity & Access Management.
Thanks to the help of the PIC and its partners, Eric is on track to a career in IT. Eric says his time at the REC was a catalyst, allowing him to create positive changes in his life.Read Less>