Greater Egleston High School, located on School Street in Roxbury, is a small pilot school that opened in 1993. It serves students aged 15-21 with home, work, and/or other challenges that make it difficult to succeed in a traditional school setting.

Genevieve Nouveaux’s ELA class is discussing the “Central Park 5” and learning about the Innocence Project, which fights for those who have been unjustly convicted of crimes. In Biology class with Suzanne Gill, students are creating DNA models, while Lacey Ihler’s students are exploring electrical circuits. US History teacher Yahfreici DelCarmen helps her students research Native American peoples.

On Wednesdays students get to choose a “Real World Learning” class based on their personal interests. Several classes meet at the school site, such as photography, gardening, entrepreneurship, and bicycle mechanics. William Young teaches woodworking at the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts in Jamaica Plain, where students learn how to use a variety of tools to construct everything from boxes to folding chairs.

Every student has an advisor and advisories meet daily. Project-based learning is at the heart of instruction and an “Equitable Grading Policy” requires students to complete summative assignments to demonstrate mastery of the content, rather than being based on attendance or class participation.

I think we can learn a lot from the ways in which alternative schools address the needs of our most fragile students — what have you been learning this year?

Amika Kemmler-Ernst, Ed.D

This is English class and we were discussing an assignment we’re doing on the Central Park 5, a group of Black and Hispanic boys who were wrongly accused of a crime they didn’t commit. We’ve learned we all have biases that need to be acknowledged and ways we can combat racial injustice within our society. ~ Joshua (Yanni) Duarte

This is in biology class with Ms. Gill. We were making models using kits from MIT. We have been learning how DNA makes proteins, connected to a case study about boys who have a genetic mutation where they don’t produce a certain protein.

~ Students in Ms. Gill’s Biology class

I was taking notes in math class. I have learned how to solve binomial (two number) distribution problems, which are part of the study of statistics. I found probability interesting because it was easy for me.

~ Adriana Martinez

Ms. DelCarmen and I were looking for the rubric for our indigenous tribes project. Learning about 9/11 opened my eyes to how we need to take precautionary measures in our day to day life.

~ John Kallon

Mr. McKinney and I were checking the chain of the bike to make sure it’s all set for a ten mile bike ride. In this class I’ve learned how to remove the wheels, fix a flat, as well as how and when to adjust the gears.

~ Kenneth Jones

I was working on my final project for photography with Ms. Araya. I’ve learned how to take apart and use a professional camera to take pictures. I’m taking this class because I’m going to create a vlog on YouTube about my life’s journey. ~ Emara Snow


I was creating a mortise (groove) for a hinge on the box I am making in woodworking class. Our teacher assistant Ashley is watching and giving me moral support. In this class I’ve learned how to use hand and power tools as well as machines like table, mitre, and band saws.

~ Beba Jimenez