Project BOOST (Building Options and Opportunities for Students) is a program targeted at late elementary, middle and high school students who have demonstrated academic talent but come from disadvantaged neighborhoods where they do not have the opportunity to develop their talents. Project BOOST’s main goal is to help participating students gain admission to quality high schools upon completion of the project (eighth grade). “Quality high school” is defined as competitive and specialized high schools, including local educational option schools and private schools, as well as independent schools (both commuter and residential) and parochial schools.
To accomplish this goal, Project BOOST provides students with academic and cultural enrichment experiences, test prep services, academic guidance, and community service opportunities. All of the schools we serve have low-income students from diverse communities. Whereas many other enrichment programs accept only the “best and the brightest,” Project BOOST admits students with mid-range test scores who demonstrate a commitment to success. Project BOOST is designed to serve the school and communities needs and can be integrated into the school day, afterschool and even includes activities on nights and weekends.
Project BOOST fosters cross-grade collaboration through its “feeder pattern” model that pairs elementary and middle schools together to serve cohorts of students as they progress from the fourth through the eighth grades. This collaboration helps create alliances that extend beyond implementation of Project BOOST. It helps them address such issues as providing continuity in instruction and the social/emotional wellbeing of students as they transition from the elementary to middle school and into high school.
The experiences that students gain in these programs are often life-altering for them in many ways. Among the aspects of the programs that students remark on are the unique experiences that they feel are otherwise beyond their reach, the value of gaining one-on-one mentoring and guidance, a sense of increased self-esteem, gaining positive values, and a recognition of the importance of academic commitment and achievement. Examples of partnerships include but are not limited to: