Preparing our children to take the Exam School Entrance Test

As we start the 2016-2017 school year, we want to increase awareness of the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) for admittance to the city’s three examination schools, Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science, and also to highlight that these schools, with their academic rigor, are a viable option for Boston Public Schools students.

We must do all we can as a city and as a nation to deeply engage our students and ensure they have access to every Boston public school. With that effort comes a responsibility to ensure that every Boston public school offers rigorous academic opportunities, and culturally and linguistically sustaining practices. This is one of several focus areas in the district’s strategic implementation plan, “Stronger Schools, Stronger Boston: A Plan to Foster Equity, Coherence, and Innovation.”

We want nothing more than to provide quality curriculum and instructional guidance to further develop our children’s literacy, language, and knowledge base.

The deadline to register for this year’s exam is Fri., Sept 23.

Test accommodations will be available by request for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Students must currently be in grades 6, 8 and 9 to take the ISEE. New students are admitted at grades 7 and 9 at all three exam schools. The John D. O’Bryant also accepts new students for grade 10.

Interested candidates may obtain application materials from the principal/headmaster of his or her present school. Applications are also available at the BPS Welcome Centers and at all branches of the Boston Public Library.

As we continue to identify best practices to increase rigor in all schools, we are also committed to ensuring that all BPS students can access the exam to strive toward passing the standardized test to gain entry into BPS exam schools.

This year, with the help of Mayor Walsh and the Boston Latin School Association, we were able to expand the Exam School Initiative, a free study program offered to any student living in Boston who is eligible to take the ISEE, from 450 seats to 750 seats. This will provide more equitable access to academic rigor for students from the district’s traditionally under-represented schools. The program has been hosted at Boston Latin School since 2000 and the expanded program began last month. Help us boost awareness for this exam by telling a neighbor or friend about the registration deadline, and how to get more information.

More details on the ISEE can be found on our website,, or at Boston Public Schools Enrollment Planning & Support at 617-635-9512.

We’re so excited for this school year! Thanks for helping us to spread the word.

Tommy Chang is the superintendent of Boston Public Schools.