The Talented and Gifted Latino Program (TAG) is a year-round program that has served the academic, personal and social needs of Boston Public Schools (BPS) students since 1985. TAG began as a small summer program preparing 60 students for entrance in the exam schools over the course of three weeks.
Model expands to growing ELL population
Lucia Mayerson-David founded TAG with the goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates of Latino students in the Exam schools. The model was so successful that BPS later asked TAG to expand to district schools. In 2001, TAG successfully expanded to include programming catered to English Language Learners, given the great need for this growing population.
Every student is talented and gifted
TAG works with the spectrum of Latino and ELL youth, from those who are high-achieving and college-bound, to those who may be struggling and need a little bit of extra help, for it is our philosophy that every student is talented and gifted and it is our responsibility and that of other adults and educators to help students discover, develop and manifest their talents and gifts.
TAG accomplishes its mission through six program components which provide comprehensive academic, personal, and social support to Latino youth and English Language Learners (ELL). In each component TAG integrates leadership development and community building, thereby creating the next generation of Latino leaders that will uplift the Boston community. The four components of TAG are:
- School vacation and Saturday academies that combine academic support and enrichment/recreation programming
- Student-led, school-based TAG Clubs which offer leadership development and a vehicle for community involvement and support;
- College and career exploration activities; and
- An intensive summer program onsite at UMass Boston.
Reaching out to families and increasing their involvement in their child's education is a key component of our strategy. Bilingual family events at schools and UMass Boston, meetings with parents, and frequent family phone contact are a regular part of our programs.
Although the TAG program is open to all students in BPS, its services are geared towards Latino and ELL students, with strong partnerships with Boston International High School, Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, Burke High School, English High School, Excel High School, and the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science. Students who participate in TAG and successfully complete high school have an excellent opportunity to attend UMass Boston, thereby opening the doors to an excellent four-year college education.
TAG's long list of alumni, many of whom have since obtained postgraduate degrees and are now working professionals often choose to return to the program as TAG Club guest speakers, mentors, TAG tutors, teaching assistants, and teachers in the summer program. Such is the commitment that TAG students develop to the program and its population that three of the past four program coordinators began as TAG students in the summer and through the club at Boston Latin School.