Boston Public Schools
An “exam” or choice college preparatory school for students in grades 7 – 12, the John D. O’Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science draws a diverse mix of students from across Boston, serving students traditionally under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and math careers and facilitates strong and caring relationships between teachers and students.
With one of the most rigorous educational programs in Boston and an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), O’Bryant students complete at least four years of math (including pre-calculus) and four years of science (including biology, chemistry, and physics). Promotion from grades 9 – 12 requires a literary research paper; the school emphasizes writing as a learning tool. Other key practices include “start-up” activities to maximize time on task, differentiated instruction, individual and group research projects, exposure to a range of multi-cultural literary and cultural experiences, and a hands-on, inquiry approach to science. Headmaster Steve Sullivan attributes the school’s appeal to students to its diversity of programs as much as its STEM focus.
Strong and supportive relationships between teachers and students help keep students motivated. Nearly 90 percent of O’Bryant students in the last graduating class went on to four-year or community college study; the remainder found employment or entered the military or vocational training.
NBRS program staff created the videos “More than a Number”: The Power of Relationships, about personalized learning, and Math, Science and Technology: Inspiring a Way of Thinking, about the school’s focus on STEM.