Director of METCO Latoya Ogunbona
Academic Support Specialist Jacob Fitzhugh
200 Essex Street
Swampscott, MA 01907
781-596-8830 x5820
Office Hours:
Monday through Friday during normal school hours: 8:30-3:30 p.m.

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METCO was incorporated in 1966 under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

METCO exists in 34 suburban school systems across the state of Massachusetts. The central administrative office is located in Roxbury at 40 Dimock Street.

METCO is a voluntary educational partnership program. Parents choose to enroll their children in METCO. The suburban communities choose to participate in the METCO Program. These programs offer Boston and suburban youngsters opportunities to learn together, to develop an understanding of our pluralistic world and an appreciation of various cultures.

METCO provides the opportunity for a quality integrated public school education for African Americans, other children of color, and for suburban children in participating towns.

METCO is a state-funded program. Each year, suburban communities receive state funds which cover the costs related to their METCO program.

METCO, which stands for the METropolitan COuncil for Educational Opportunity, is a state-funded, voluntary educational desegregation program designed to eliminate racial imbalance through the busing of children from Boston, MA, and Springfield, MA to suburban public schools in the 38 communities where the program operates. The METCO program provides opportunities for urban and suburban students to experience diversity, learn to respect human differences and celebrate the richness of a multicultural setting.

Q & A 

Q: What is the mission and purpose of METCO?

A:The mission of METCO is to provide, through professional leadership and voluntary citizen action, the development and promotion of quality integrated educational opportunities for urban and suburban students in the Greater Boston and Springfield communities, and to work toward the expansion of a collaborative education program with urban and suburban school systems. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity for an integrated public school education for children of color from racially imbalanced schools in Boston and Springfield by placing them in suburban schools; to offer a new learning experience for suburban children; and to facilitate understanding and cooperation between urban and suburban parents and other citizens in the Boston and Springfield metropolitan areas.

Q: How long has METCO been in existence?

A: Since 1966. Swampscott has been a METCO community since 1968.

Q: What is the value of the METCO program?

A: The METCO program not only provides the opportunity for enhanced multicultural interaction, it also has helped to broaden the scope and content of professional development by providing access to programs that underscore instructional methods that foster high expectations and achievement for all students in general and minority students in particular. Such programs include the ongoing study of cooperative learning techniques, efficacy training, anti-racism initiatives, and multicultural education.
One of the reasons for METCO’s longevity is the success of its graduates. According to statistics generated by the Massachusetts Department of Education “METCO Student Participation and Achievement Survey (2003-2005)”, cited in the METCO, Inc. Education Policy Initiatives, one-hundred percent (100%) of METCO seniors in the Class of 2004 passed the 10th grade English and Math MCAS tests. Additionally, eighty-seven percent (87%) of Boston students participating in METCO matriculate to institutions of higher learning.

Q: Is the METCO program the same as a Choice program?

A: The METCO program is not a Choice program. The students’ home districts do not transfer tuition funding for METCO participants.

Q: How is METCO funded?

A: The program is funded by a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Funding must be approved annually by the legislature.

Q: Are there residency requirements for METCO students?

A: METCO students must reside in the Greater Boston or Springfield metropolitan areas.

Q: Isn’t METCO for students from low-income families?

A: No. Family income is not a determining factor in applying for METCO. The widely assumed misconception that METCO students are from low-income families often stems from the stereotypical generalization that minority families who choose to live in inner city areas are poor. METCO families encompass a broad range of income levels and lifestyles.

Q: How many METCO students are there in the districts?

A: Each district has determined a maximum seat allocation number. METCO students may be admitted at this maximum number but METCO enrollment may also be decreased at the discretion of the districts to compensate for increases in resident student enrollment. Currently, Swampscott has 63 seats allocated for METCO students.

Q: Are resident students denied space due to the placement of a METCO student?

A: No. Placement of METCO students is based on available seating in each school.

Q: Is there a waiting list for METCO?

A:Yes. The number of students varies but as of January 2007, the METCO waiting list was at 15,000 students.

Q: How many students are there in METCO?

A:At any given time, there are approximately 3,300 students participating in district METCO programs.

Q: In which grades are METCO students placed?

A:METCO generally places students in grades K-12; however, decisions regarding grade level acceptance and placement are generally left to the discretion of the districts and can vary annually based on various factors including, but not limited to, individual class enrollment sizes. Swampscott METCO does not place students in kindergarten.

Q: Is there a difference between METCO, Incorporated and the local METCO programs?

A: METCO, Incorporated is the service provider for all METCO district programs throughout the suburban Boston area.

Q: Where is METCO, Incorporated located?

A. METCO Inc is located at 40 Dimock Street 8 Roxbury, MA 02119.

Q: Who is in charge of transportation?

A:The Swampscott METCO Program contracts with METCO, Incorporated to provide transportation services for METCO students. Questions regarding transportation should be directed to Lance Carter, METCO, Inc. Director of Transportation Services, at (617) 427-1545.

Q: Will my child be the only person of color in the classroom?

A: Since many METCO programs across the Commonwealth are relatively small in student numbers, and since the minority population in receiving districts is usually minimal, there is a possibility that your child could be the only person of color in his or her classroom. However, participating METCO districts try to maintain a heightened sensitivity to the concerns of all students in general, and METCO students and their families in particular, and continue to establish and implement programs and policies that help alleviate alienation and isolation of all students within their population.

Q: What is expected of METCO parents?

A: Despite the distance to a participating community or other personal circumstances, METCO parents are expected to participate fully in their child’s total academic and social growth experiences. It is expected that parents will make themselves available to attend all scheduled meetings and functions at their child’s school, pick up their children at school should the need arise (for instance, in the case of sudden illness or school suspension), provide transportation to and from school in the event of an emergency and attend scheduled METCO parent meetings during the course of the academic year.

Q: Do parents get to choose which METCO community their child is enrolled in?

A: Parents are not given a choice of which community their child is chosen for; however, a parent can decline placement for any reason and ask to have their child placed back on the waiting list. Placement preference, by community, may be given to siblings at the discretion of the Director/Coordinator. Placement in the case of siblings is still based on waiting list eligibility and available seating.

Q: Are there criteria for accepting students into METCO?

A: Schools in the participating METCO districts are public schools and do not have entrance requirements for resident students, then, by law, any student whose parent signs him/her up for METCO is eligible for placement. No child can be denied placement by any participating district for reasons of attendance, behavior, or special needs – except in the case where a student receiving services and accommodations through an IEP (Individual Education Plan) requires a placement that the district does not offer.

Q: Do METCO students need to have a specific grade point average to qualify to participate in the program?

A: No. METCO is open to any student whose parents wish to enroll them. Students are placed on a waiting list – often at the time of their birth – and chosen for placement as their waiting list number comes up. Students enter the METCO program from a variety of early childhood and academic settings; which include day care as well as public, private, and parochial institutions. Since METCO was designed to help achieve racial balance in the participating districts in which the students are placed, students on the waiting list are predominantly of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent.

Q: Are Special Education students eligible to participate in METCO?

A: Students with special education needs are eligible to participate in METCO if the accommodations and services needed by that student are offered in the participating district.