About Partners for Student Success

Overview

Partners for Student Success (PSS) is a multi-year initiative that aims to more tightly align the efforts of schools, OST programs, social service providers, and other essential services in order to ensure that struggling students get the support they need to succeed. The long-term goal of PSS is improved academic and developmental outcomes for children targeted by this effort.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino


The PSS initiative has been piloted in ten public elementary schools.  Eligible schools were Boston public schools that were in “Corrective Action” for failure to make “Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as designated under the No Child Left Behind Act, or in“Restructuring”, as classified by Massachusetts Department of Education, for at least two years.

PSS works with schools to:

  • Identify struggling students’ strengths and needs
  • Align OST programs and services with patterns of need in the student body
  • Engage more students in appropriate programs and services, ranging from OST enrichment to academic support and mental health services
  • Strengthen the quality and capacity of OST programs and services
  • Strive for system-level changes

How will PSS accomplish its goals?

There are three key components:

  • Increased Alignment
  • Managers of Extended Learning Services (MELS)
  • Capacity Building

Increased Alignment

Boston believes in enabling children to succeed. Over the past decade, the City has made significant efforts to support the academic success and healthy development of its children. Yet, many children still fall through the cracks. PSS will build upon existing efforts, increasing their integration and coordination. PSS believes that increasing alignment between schools and OST programs and services maximizes impact. An integrated strategy for in-school and out-of-school would better serve Boston’s children by ensuring that in-school and out-of-school learning activities are mutually reinforcing, knowledge and best practices are shared, and students’ academic, social and emotional needs are identified and addressed in a holistic way.

Managers of Extended Learning Services (MELS)

Partners for Student Success recognizes that ensuring quality after-school programming and integrating a wide variety of supports into the school day requires a dedicated staff person.  The Manager of Extended Learning Services (MELS), a newly created position in each PSS school, was designed to fill this critical role. This individual reports directly to the Principal.


A key member of each PSS school’s leadership team, the MELS work closely with the Principal to create the infrastructure that will sustain an integrated system of services, partnerships, and programs. MELS oversee out-of-school time programming, external partnerships and support services provided through outside organizations. They assess the effectiveness of partnerships and identify areas for capacity building and innovation.

Major responsibilities for the MELS include:

  • Ensuring that after-school programming and school day instruction are aligned and targeted to meet student needs
  • Forging partnerships with community organizations to expand program offerings and services for students
  • Conducting outreach to academically struggling students to ensure that they are participating in OST programming
  • Assisting with family outreach to connect families to important services

While MELS manage the PSS workplan for their schools, they do not operate or coordinate programs. That role will continue to be filled by the After-School Coordinator or Director at each school site.


Boston Beyond will provide training, support and technical assistance to MELS to ensure that schools are positioned to succeed.

Capacity Building

Capacity building is at the heart of the PSS initiative. In addition to the support provided through the MELS position, capacity building grants are awarded to selected program/service providers working with PSS schools. The grants allow program/service providers to:

  • enhance the quality and capacity of their efforts
  • foster program growth
  • implement their family engagement plan

Selected providers work with PSS staff to identify their specific needs and have the opportunity to propose strategies and apply for funding to address those needs.