What is the Circle of Promise?

At the heart of Boston, including part of:

  • Roxbury
  • North Dorchester
  • Jamaica Plain
  • South End

Within the Circle

  • 5 square mile area

  • 61,458 households

  • 75.9% low-income students (excludes exam schools)

  • 160+ youth and family focused nonprofits

  • Area designated in February 2010; operations began in June 2010

  • A school and neighborhood based strategy focused on alighment of resources for students and family.

 Circle of Promise Map

Family Economic Stability as a Measurement for Community Success

While the Circle of Promise is student and school focused, it is also a family economic stability strategy. Sustainable change powerful enough to break the cycle of poverty requires engaging the family in the most concrete and comprehensive way possible – building capacity through the promotion of pathways to economic self-sufficiency.  Research and experience tells us that the strongest schools have active engagement and partnership with families and the community, as well as full services to support students’ social and emotional needs. We know that this cannot be done through the schools alone.

Boston has a wealth of community-based agencies, faith-based institutions, colleges and universities, and strong public and private sector organizations that offer a multitude of services and programs for families. Yet these services are not fully coordinated, and families must navigate a complicated network with little support. The City of Boston’s Circle of Promise, in partnership with LIFT-Boston, provides educational and advocacy services to facilitate seamless access to these opportunities.  


Central to ensuring access to opportunities and high quality programs that drive student achievement is a laser focus on data. The City of Boston, with the Boston Public Schools, has been developing a system that allows for shared measures, outcomes, and evaluation across sectors. Over the past two years, the Mayor has led a cross-agency leadership team dedicated to education, health, and human services, which has worked to advance a common agenda for youth and families from birth through college completion. The Circle of Promise will build on and expand this work, particularly efforts such as Thrive in 5 and the Community Learning Initiative, which have laid the groundwork for multi-level partnerships, more integrated systems, and alignment around student success.