FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Abby Silverman | 978-273-3875
Partnership Between the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Lynn Public Charter School and Public District School, Shows Students that College is in Their Future
LYNN, MA (June 21, 2023): The second year of a three-year pilot program between KIPP Academy Lynn Public Charter School, Lynn Public Schools, and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation (BCSF) is coming to an end. The program, called Pursuing Pathways presented by Amtrak, is a three-year collaboration to share best practices and expertise around college and career readiness. The cohort includes a total of 26 students – 13 students from KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate (KALC) and 13 students from Lynn Classical High School (LCHS) – all of whom identify as BIPOC students, and some who identify as English Language Learners (ELL). The students entered the program their sophomore year and will be graduating high school in 2024. The goal of the program is that at least 80% of the participating students will choose a post-secondary path that is right for them, thus increasing the likelihood that they index above the national average in graduating from college within six years.
In early 2020, BCSF launched the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice initiative to address racial injustice and social inequities in the Greater Boston area, with an emphasis on combating issues that impact Black and brown communities, including inequities in education. As part of this initiative, BCSF approached KIPP Massachusetts about a potential partnership with a neighborhood public school to increase college graduation rates among BIPOC students.
BCSF’s intention was to create a program as part of the team’s newly formed 10-year racial equity fund, Boston Celtics United for Social Justice. Other KIPP schools across the country have implemented similar programming, and KIPP Massachusetts was excited for the opportunity to collaborate. The partnership between KIPP Academy Lynn Public Charter School, Lynn Public Schools and BCSF launched, and the Pursing Pathways presented by Amtrak program has been successful, particularly because of the leaders of the two school districts. Former Lynn Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Tutwiler, and current KIPP Massachusetts Executive Director, Nikki Barnes, focused on what they have in common versus what is different. Interim Superintendent Deb Ruggiero has picked up the partnership right where Dr. Patrick Tutwiler left off. The two leaders center their staff, and the program, on the foundational belief that the students in Lynn are all of our children and they all deserve to thrive.
Dr. Tutwiler comments on the partnership: “LPS and KIPP leadership already communicated routinely on many matters related to the work. When the opportunity was presented to partner more substantively – to learn, plan, and deliver together with our teams for the benefit of students, we were all in. The outcomes validate the effort and partnership.”
The Pursuing Pathways presented by Amtrak program covers a wide variety of topics, including: career exploration, post-secondary options, critical consciousness, the college admissions process, standardized testing, systemic oppression, post-secondary wish lists, financial aid, liberatory mindsets, letters of recommendation, college applications, and personal statements. As of the second year of the program, 100% of the students in the cohort said that they do want to go to college and 100% of the students have at least 4 colleges or universities on their wish list. All 26 of the students also took part in a field trip to Howard University, one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the country, located in Washington, D.C. The trip was a component of the multi-day excursion funded by a BCSF grant, and coordinated by KIPP where students had the opportunity to tour a college in the Greater Washington D.C. area. Leveraging the appeal of Celtics basketball as a hook for the experience, KIPP worked with BCSF to host students at a Celtics road game, which included a player welcome, as well as facilitated a cultural immersion activity in the form of a private tour of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Pursuing Pathways students taking part in a campus tour of Howard University
KIPP Massachusetts Executive Director, Nikki Barnes, comments on the partnership: “It has been an absolute joy to work with and learn from my Lynn Public Schools colleagues. Together we have created an opportunity for Lynn students from both of our districts to begin their path to a life of choice.”
Many of the students who participate in the Pursuing Pathways presented by Amtrak program commented that prior to the program, they had not put much thought into what they wanted to do after high school, or even if college was for them. The information, encouragement, and support system that the program provided them has left the students feeling confident about their post-secondary desires, with many students even considering attending college outside of Massachusetts, something they had not considered beforehand.
Interim LPS Superintendent, Deb Ruggiero, comments on the impact the program has had on the Lynn students: “The partnership between KIPP, LPS and BCSF just shows that when we put the student in the center, anything can happen.”
Students from KIPP Academy Lynn and Lynn Classical High School in the Pursuing Pathways Program pose with Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (Left Photo) and former Boston Celtics player Brian Scalabrine (Right Photo) at the T.D. Garden before a game in March 2023.
“This program fits well into the construct we created when we established Boston Celtics United,” said Dave Hoffman, Boston Celtics Senior Vice President of Community Engagement. “We know team basketball is winning basketball on the court, and it is no different in our community outreach. To bring together youth service institutions who are experts in the field is part of our role. Ultimately if we can help facilitate the sharing of best practices across academic institutions, then we are doing our part to positively impact outcomes for young people on a systemic level.”
Next school year the program will enter the third, and final, year of the partnership. Students who joined the Pursuing Pathways presented by Amtrak program as sophomores will be seniors. The program will begin to focus on more individualized counseling with students and families, college applications, financial aid applications, scholarships, as well as creating programmatic resources and the long-term impact on students and their families. KIPP Academy Lynn Public School, Lynn Public Schools and BCSF are excited to see what pathways the cohort of 26 students take, and what the future holds for future partnerships between the parties.