Accepting the recommendation of Commissioner Mitchell Chester, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted today to expand Boston Prep's enrollment by 300 students, from 400 to 700. This expansion will enable Boston Prep to provide high-quality educational options to more students within the city of Boston, while also strengthening the school's programs and operations.
Under the existing charter school cap, a total of 335 seats were made available to charter schools within the city of Boston. Seven schools applied for seats, and after a careful review, the vast majority of the seats, 300, were awarded to Boston Prep. In his review, Commissioner Chester assessed each school's evidence of success of the academic program, organizational viability, and faithfulness to the terms of the charter. In his recommendation to award seats to Boston Prep, Commissioner Chester referenced the school's "consistent and high quality" academic success over the past twelve years, lengthy wait lists for enrollment, organizational strength, and "evidence of capacity" to serve additional students.
Boston Prep's 300 additional seats will be added over a five year period, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, with approximately 50 seats being added per year. The school will continue to serve grades six through twelve and will maintain the primary points of admission in grades six and nine. By the 2021-2022 school year, Boston Prep will serve 700 students, with just over 100 students in each graduating class.
Boston Prep's new permanent home, set to be completed this spring, has been designed with flexibility in mind, with the ability to adapt spaces to meet the needs of students over time. This flexibility will allow Boston Prep to accommodate an increased number of students in the 2017-2018 school year. The school's leadership is actively working with the Board of Trustees and the community to determine next steps and ensure a smooth transition as the student population continues to grow.
This expansion has benefits for both students and families as well as Boston Prep as a school. Most importantly, expansion is meeting the great demand of Boston families for high-quality educational options. In Boston Prep's most recent admissions lottery in March 2016, only 7% of students who applied for admission were granted a seat. The great demand was most stark in ninth grade, where only 4% of applicants were admitted. We are excited that more families will now be able to have access to the programs they are seeking at Boston Prep.
For Boston Prep, expansion allows us to deepen and strengthen our work by enabling us to meet three main goals: (1) expanding the diversity of our programmatic offerings for students, (2) creating more opportunities for collaboration and design among faculty, and (3) positioning Boston Prep to be a more sustainable organization long term. Boston Prep’s expansion will enable Boston Prep to offer a larger variety of courses and richer programming, including more challenging, targeted, and interdisciplinary courses, benefitting both students and teachers. Moreover, the efficiencies of scale gained from increasing the size of the student population paired with the long-term cost benefit of the school's move to our new permanent home will enable an even more stable financial future for Boston Prep.
Boston Prep is deeply grateful to Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for their confidence in our record of success and for the opportunity to grow. We are excited to begin this period of expansion and to welcome more students and families into the Boston Prep community.
If you wish to enroll your child in Boston Prep's growing student population, please visit our enrollment page to learn more about our admissions lottery and submit your application.