Boston Arts Academy

174 Ipswich Street - Boston MA - 02215
Type of autonomy arrangement: Pilot Schools
Basic Profile

Opened In







District - Pilot


Determine learning program
Set school-level policy
Determine professional development
Determine authorizer assessments
Determine state assessments


Select colleagues
Evaluate colleagues
Transfer or terminate colleagues
Determine tenure policy
Select leaders


Determine school budget
Set staff pattern
Determine compensation
Determine teacher workday
Set schedule
Teacher Authority Is...
De Jure and De Facto

De jure authority is granted to the school governing board via the pilot agreement, which is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BPS and BTU. The MOU gives the board authority to make decisions in some areas. De facto, the governing board transfers this authority to the teachers, who collectively make decisions in areas indicated. In addition to the MOU, teachers collectively write an Elect to Work Agreement (EWA) for their site on an annual basis that outlines the working conditions at the school that are different from those outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the district and union. For example, they can expand their own work hours, require participation in school events, and expand professional development requirements. This is a means to exercise more autonomy at the school level, at the will of the teachers. Teachers at the site vote on the terms they outline in the EWA, and anyone who does not agree to work under the conditions will enter the district’s hiring pool and default to the working conditions outlined in the existing collective bargaining agreement.

About the Learning Program

To be a true artist, one must also be a scholar. The academic curricula at Boston Arts Academy prepare a diverse community of aspiring artist-scholars to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of a democratic society.

In addition to specializing in one of five arts subject areas: visual arts, theatre, dance, instrumental music, or vocal music, each student’s schedule also incorporates a full college preparatory course load, including humanities, mathematics, science, and a foreign language. BAA nurtures the collaborative, creative and culturally empathetic skills and content needed to respond to the challenges of the 21st Century. Our academic classes emphasize interdisciplinary thinking, project-based learning, and student constructions of understanding. Throughout our curricula, a special emphasis is placed on developing writing skills. In their senior year, students embark on a unique capstone experience: writing a grant proposal to fund an independent community outreach arts project, giving something back for the extraordinary educational opportunities they enjoy at Boston Arts Academy.