The Students of CPS

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cps photoCambridge is a city of great socio-economic and ethnic diversity, reflected in our school district demographics.

Cambridge Public Schools have the unique challenge of educating students from a very wide range of backgrounds. The district meets this challenge, with 90% of its entering students graduating (4-year adjusted cohort) and 82% of its graduates matriculating to 4-year or 2-year colleges. By providing extra support to students from across the spectrum, from children of college professors to the most recent immigrants, Cambridge School Volunteers helps all students reach their academic potential.

In the Cambridge Public Schools, in the 2015–16 school year,

  • 28 percent of students speak a language other than English as their first language;
  • 8 percent are English Language Learners;
  • 22 percent have disabilities;
  • 47 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch;
  • 28 percent are classified by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as “economically disadvantaged” (See below); and
  • 47 percent are classified by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as “high needs” (See below).
race/ethnicity data, CPSD 2016

Data collected and published by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

You can learn more about the students on the CPS website.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education uses the term “High Needs” for a student who is designated as either low income (prior to School Year 2015), economically disadvantaged (starting in School Year 2015), or ELL, or former ELL, or a student with disabilities. A former ELL student is a student not currently an ELL, but had been at some point in the two previous academic years. 

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education used the term “Low-income” until School Year 2015, after which “Economically Disadvantaged” criteria replaced this category. The “low-income” proportion of a student body represented the percent of enrollment who met ANY ONE of the following definitions of Low-income: the student was eligible for free or reduced price lunch; the student received Transitional Aid to Families benefits; or the student was eligible for food stamps.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education now uses the term “Economically Disadvantaged” for a student who, or whose family, participates in one or more of the following state-administered programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC); the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) foster care program; and MassHealth (Medicaid).