Boston Public

Despite being surrounded by some of the best universities in the world, the students in Boston Public Schools have only a slim chance of attending one of these prestigious institutions. The harsh reality is that only 10% of BPS high school freshman will eventually graduate from a two- or four-year college. Blacks and Latinos comprise 80% of BPS students and 40% of them will eventually drop out of high school. The majority, 75%, of these students come from families living at or near the federal poverty line ($18,000 for a family of three) with parents who have limited exposure to higher education.

What can HBS students do to positively impact and change these disturbing statistics? Personally, I have found two activities that I have been involved in this year and last year.

The first is the Gardner Elementary Tutoring Program housed under the Volunteer Club. Once a week, I, along with about 20-25 other HBS Students, walk the short 5 minutes to the Elementary School from the HBS campus. This year it is every Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Each tutor is matched with a specific child who will be his/hers each week. We spend time giving individual attention through reading, helping with homework and having fun. The students receive help with academic support, social development and emotional growth and stability.

The second is volunteering to co-lead a Citizen School’s apprenticeship through the African-American Student Union (AASU). The apprenticeship, started last year, by HBS/KSG joint-degree student Justin Steele, utilizes HBS cases, interactive projects, and one-on-one mentoring where the volunteers work to teach the students about branding and connect the personal brands of these youth to careers and college. For more information on the Gardner Elementary Tutoring Program, please contact Nick Doering-Dorival (, Danielle DiPenti ( or Ai-Ling Malone (

For more information on the Citizen School’s apprenticeship, please contact Ai-Ling Malone ( or Charlotte Newman (