DSNI Charter School: Making Things Happen


Two years ago, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), FBB’s Q4 2014 Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary, partnered with education charity BPE to launch the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School.

The Dudley Street School is, in true DSNI style, working to provide all children in the Dudley neighborhood with a high quality education. At launch, the school’s goal was to serve the full range of students in the neighborhood, ensuring that every child reached proficiency in reading by the third grade.

The school was also BPE’s first Teacher Academy: a school modeled on the medical practice of teaching hospitals, allowing “teacher residents” to work side-by-side with experienced teachers. These residents have the opportunity to “implement research-based practices, examine their impact on student learning, and refine instruction until every child is successful,” writes BPE.

The Dudley Street School takes an innovative approach to education, questioning conventional wisdom and ensuring that all students are able to access the time and support they need to achieve. The school makes use of an extended day and school year, with more adults available to the children, to provide each child with the maximum possible support. Families are encouraged to become part of the daily life of the school, and participate in data-based decision-making with staff and school partners. Partnerships with other neighborhood organizations also provide children with arts education, physical education, and socio-emotional support.

This approach has achieved remarkable results. At the end of its first year, the Dudley Charter School could track noticeable improvements among its students. “Early literacy is one of the strongest predictors of long-term success, yet only a third of Boston Public School students currently reaches this benchmark,” writes the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School Board of Trustees in its first annual report, Making It Happen. “Our first group of prekindergarten through grade one students presented a full range of skills and needs, and by the end of Year 1, 70% were on grade level with prereading and early reading skills. The rest were well on their way.”

The percentage of kindergarten and first graders reading at or above grade level increased from 29 to 54%, and 74% of students made at least one year of growth. “With this kind of momentum, and plans in place for children who need a boost, we are on track to meeting our goal of 100% reading proficiency by the end of third grade,” writes the Dudley Charter School.

Innovative programs like these are the reason Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to support the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative with our first Compassionate Impact Grant. Keep up with them on Facebook and find out more about the the Dudley Charter School on its dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts.