The Boston Youth Service Network (BYSN) is a group of sixteen community-based programs working collaboratively to provide alternative education and employment pathways for youth at risk, ages 16-24. Organizations successfully engage youth through a continuum of programs including nontraditional learning environments in alternative education schools (Diploma and HiSET), career exploration programs to build job and life skills, integrated wraparound services, and post-secondary education connections.

BYSN member organizations target youth who are chronically truant or absent, have multiple barriers to success and who are at risk of dropping out. These barriers include but are not limited to poverty, English-Language Acquisition, pregnancy or parenting, court involvement, and violence. BYSN member organizations primarily serve the youth of color from low-income homes. Due to existing barriers that these youth face, BYSN member organizations tailor their curricula to address youth needs.

Since 2010, BYSN has actively collected data from each member. In 2015, member organizations provided alternative education and career exploration services to 1,002 youth from all Boston neighborhoods. Of the youth enrolled in BYSN programs, 47% were male, 51% Black/African-American and 37.1% Latino/Hispanic. At the time of enrollment, 50% of BYSN youth had dropped out of school and 71% were known to be low-income.

93% of youth who exited a BYSN program achieved a positive outcome.

BYSN’s Network of community-based programs focuses on three major areas of service detailed below.

Alternative Education Diploma
Alternative education programming features flexible scheduling, multiple means to earn credit, differentiated instruction, and personalized learning—offers at-risk students more customized options for achieving a high school diploma. While the approach in programs varies considerably, the alternative education diploma options expand the number of viable pathways by which students may earn a diploma and prepare for college and career success.

  • ABCD Dorchester Academy
  • ABCD University High School
  • ABCD Ostiguy Recovery High School
  • EDCO Youth Alternative
  • NDEC High School Diploma Program

Career Exploration & Pathways
Young adults gain opportunities to explore a range of career options in an industry, develop relevant skills, and prepare, plan and transition to next steps in employment, training or higher education. Job readiness, skills development, academic remediation and financial literacy are also provided.

  • ABCD Career Explorations
  • East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
  • Maritime Apprentice Program
  • More Than Words
  • Sociedad Latina
  • YouthBuild Boston

Young Adult HiSET
The HiSET is the new alternative credential to the High School Diploma in Massachusetts, replacing the previous GED. The test measures academic knowledge in the subjects of language arts (reading), language arts (writing), mathematics, social studies, and science. Adults who are 18 years old and older may take the high school equivalency test (HiSET) if they have not previously received a high school diploma. Sixteen and seventeen year olds may take the test only if they are no longer enrolled in school.

  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • College Bound Dorchester
  • El Centro del Cardenal
  • ESAC’s GED Plus