TechBoston Academy opened its doors in 2002 with 75 students who had fallen well behind their peers at other schools. Now, just nine years later, some 95 percent of seniors at the Dorchester pilot school have been accepted to college.
On Tuesday President Obama will visit TechBoston to shine it under a national spotlight as an example of the kind of turnaround he says will help America "out-educate" the world.
The students at TechBoston face many challenges, according to the school's headmistress, Mary Skipper. "About 90 percent of the population get free or reduced lunch, and so coming to school is often a struggle," Skipper said on Monday's Morning Edition.
"In terms of their academics, you can imagine that often they are several grades behind in coming to us. That's stayed pretty consistent since the inception of the school."
Skipper said that teachers certified to work with special needs students and English language learners, as well as private partners in the business and tech industries, are part of what has helped the students at TechBoston succeed.
"We're past the day now where schools can do things on their own. It really has to be a community effort that includes the public sector, the private sector and the local community," Skipper said.
This program aired on March 7, 2011.