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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.