Improving Graduation Rates for Massachusetts Students Whose First Language Is Not English
In recent years, Massachusetts has made progress increasing its high school graduation rate from just below 80 percent to 86 percent. Despite these large gains, challenges remain. Students whose first language is not English (FLNE)—a group that includes English Language Learners (ELL)—account for 30 percent of all young people who leave school without a diploma in the state. While Massachusetts has engaged in considerable work to improve educational outcomes for ELL students, the challenges that these young people and their families face go beyond academic English acquisition and require a more comprehensive approach.
Through support from the GradNation State Activation initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), led by its Office of College and Career Readiness, will create a state-level coalition of up to 10 school districts to improve high school graduation rates for FLNE students. These districts—which account for nearly 66 percent of all FLNE students who left school without a diploma—will be provided grants to serve as demonstration sites for the planning and implementation of innovative programs and policies. ESE will facilitate a learning community in which the districts will receive professional development and training, share ideas, and collaborate with state and community partners.