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Snapshot of Bowdoin-Geneva's public school students

Students in this neighborhood attend more than 100 different public schools in Boston. As a group, they consistently underperform compared with the rest of the city and state.
Individual, neighborhood, and school characteristics all influence students’ performance in school. Do students live in poverty? Do they have a learning disability? Are they still learning to speak English? Do they feel safe at school as well as in the neighborhood they call home?
Attendance
The attendance rate for students living in Bowdoin-Geneva is about 91 percent, which is just below the city and state average. Boston has a goal of a 90 percent attendance rate at all of its schools, said Kamal Chavda, Boston Public Schools assistant superintendent of research and assessment.
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Once a school meets the 90 percent goal, administrators “can focus on who’s not attending,” Chavda said. “We’re talking about those students with other issues — homelessness, severely disabled students, chronic absenteeism.”
Dropouts
The dropout rate for students from Bowdoin-Geneva is lower than Boston as a whole.
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Bowdoin-Geneva students underperform in most metrics, except when it comes to dropout rate. The lower figure could be partially explained by the strengths of the schools they attend.
Performance
Students living in Bowdoin-Geneva consistently score lower than the city and state average on standardized tests. Students from the neighborhood perform particularly poorly in math in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, with 38 percent scoring in the "warning or failing" category in 2012.
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The prevalence of violence in Bowdoin-Geneva may have impact on academic achievement. “If a student doesn’t feel safe in a neighborhood, then a student is not going to do well,” Chavda said.

SOURCE: Boston Public Schools

Alvin Chang and Akilah Johnson/Globe Staff

State approves plan for Salem’s Bentley School to become a charter

Salem’s Bentley School, one of the lowest achieving public schools in the state, will become a charter school next fall.

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded two new charters, choosing Bentley, a K-5 elementary, and the UP Academy Charter School of Springfield. Both will be Horace Mann charter schools, funded by the local school districts but run by an independent board.

The Salem school will be called the Bentley Academy Charter School.

“The in-district charter gives us an opportunity to focus — and I think in a stronger way — on some of the needs of the students in that school,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who also chairs the School Committee and supported Bentley’s shift to a charter.

For the last four years, Bentley has struggled with academic achievement.

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