Setting a Context for Shared Decision Making

Boston Public Schools Master Plan
Boston, Massachusetts

BuildBPS was launched in September 2015 by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston School Committee, and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang. The project included developing a 10-Year Educational and Facilities Master Plan to provide a strategic framework to align future facility and school system improvements with the educational vision and curriculum developed by the School Committee and Superintendent’s office. The Master Plan charts a road map and strategic planning framework for educational programming and major capital investments in the Boston Public Schools. 

The focus of the Master Plan was to illustrate capital planning opportunities based on the adequacy of each school’s educational framework coupled with the conditions of the facilities themselves. Along with this information, the team considered city-wide demographics, sustainability readiness, emergency preparedness, transportation, and partnerships with businesses, institutions and organizations alike. The plan also includes a financial component, which presents proposed funding strategies and possible courses of action.

In January 2017, Mayor Walsh announced that the city of Boston would invest $1 billion into school construction and renovation projects, including BuildBPS. The master plan establishes priorities for making this historic investment to foster greater student success.

Click here to view the BuildBPS Master Plan.

The Home of Many Firsts

Founded in 1647, BPS is the oldest school district and the 73rd largest in North America. It is home to 56,520 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and 10,255 staff members, including approximately 6,900 teachers, 1,500 aides, and 850 administrators. Today, BPS is considered one of the most diverse school districts in the nation, with students coming from more than 140 countries, and 50% of the student body is reportedly bilingual. 

The Boston Public Schools district is the home of the nation’s first public school (Boston Latin School, 1635), public elementary school (Mather Elementary School, 1639), and public high school (English High School, 1821). As well, BPS is regarded as one of the highest-performing urban school districts in America.

BuildBPS Mapping District
BuildBPS Discussion SMMA

What does the BuildBPS Master Plan include?

BuildBPS is composed of two main components, including a written plan and a digital dashboard. It specifically includes important updates to the district’s vision for student learning and instruction and the results of critical studies and compiles data that serves as the basis for setting priorities for new investments in BPS school buildings. The plan also presents a set of principles regarding the planning and design of schools.. These principles guide the City’s and the District’s capital projects over the next decade and outlines the next phase, which focuses on deeper community engagement to guide decision-making. Finally, this plan frames the options for financing the next ten years of capital improvements.

BuildBPS is going to transform the way we plan, build, and renovate school facilities. It’s going to unlock everything else we need to do to prepare students for 21st-century success.

Martin J. Walsh, Mayor

Data Visualization & Analysis Tool

In line with Mayor Walsh’s vision for analytics and the leveraging of data, the concept of a data dashboard was introduced by SMMA to encompass all building reports, digital assets, and various data visualizations. The BuildBPS Dashboard, which is housed on a web-based platform, provides the community with a complete overview of the district and individual school data, as well as analysis tools. Analysis tools and data visualizations offer insight into the conditions of school buildings and educational environments, helping users understand the relationships that BPS buildings have with one another and the City in general. The design of the BuildBPS Dashboard allows for the continuous updating of data.

BuildBPS Dashboard

An interview with the City of Boston's Chief of Education, Turahn Dorsey from October 2017