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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Incubating Future Success Stories


Students from Boston Public Schools gather in the Campus Center to discuss life as college freshman.

Success Boston is an initiative dedicated to giving graduates of the Boston Public School system (BPS) the best resources available for a smooth and successful transition into university life. Although the organization focuses predominantly on students fresh out of high school, it caters to older freshmen and transfer students as well. The objective of this initiative, which is functional at UMB as well as other Boston-area schools, is to provide tools for success to any student in Boston who requires it.

Liliana Mickle, Special Assistant to the Vice Provost and Success Boston coach, explained in an interview that, due to the college graduation rates of BPS students revealed by the Private Industry Council, Boston mayor Thomas Menino mandated an initiative that prompted the founding of Success Boston in 2009. At the time of Success Boston’s conception, the college graduation rate of BPS alumni was less than 40 percent.

Mickle also stated that as a result, Menino requested the Success Boston program ensure that 50 percent of the BPS graduating class of 2010 graduate from college. The goal of the program is to move toward an 80 to 90 percent college graduation rate for BPS students.

Mickle described Success Boston as an amalgamation of different organizations with the same goal of getting kids into and through college. The nonprofit agencies that comprise it are Access, TERI, Hyde Square Task Force, Freedom House and Bottom-Line. The students who were a part of these organizations in their respective high schools were automatically recruited into Success Boston.

The organization focuses on the students fresh out of BPS and helps students work on three aspects of the initiative: getting ready, getting in, and getting through (graduating). Superintendent of the Boston Public school system Carol Johnson is in charge of the “getting ready” aspect, which entails preparing BPS students for college before they graduate.

The “getting in” phase is the process of making sure students are actually ready for college and are prepared to face college courses. The final hurdle, which is the “getting through” deals with the community and college agencies working in tandem to assist students all through their time in college, be it by finding them tutors, counseling or simply listening to their problems and facilitating a smooth and successful journey to graduation.

“Not everybody has someone older to lead them and provide them with the right information,” freshman social psychology major Jasmine Boyd-Perry said, recommending Success Boston to other freshmen. “Success Boston coaches know what’s current and are always willing to help out with your school issues if you’re dedicated.”

At UMB, the tool used to measure the effectiveness of the Success Boston program is called the “on track indicator” which utilizes two criteria-GPA and credit accumulation-to determine students’ progression toward graduation. In order to be considered “on track,” students must have a 2.5 GPA and an accumulation of 24 credits after their first year. In 2008, before Success Boston was founded, 26 percent BPS students were “on track” to graduate. After the introduction of Success Boston coaches in 2009, the percentage of BPS students on track to graduate rose to 36 percent. In 2010 Success Boston coaches became members of UMB faculty. The “on track” rate for BPS alumni rose to 41 percent.

“The team that has been put together for this project, and all the community agencies working together on this project, has partnered with the university really well and everybody that’s a part of that team is really dedicated to helping these students graduate,” Mickle said. “It’s a personal mission of mine to make sure that students from this institution are graduating.”