Achieve-Connect-Thrive Skills

A framework for success

Boston Beyond worked with city partners to develop the Achieve-Connect-Thrive (ACT) Skills Framework to provide a clear, common vocabulary around college and career-ready skills that bridges school, after school, and summer learning.

Developed and improved over a decade ago and affirmed by more than 70 community leaders, the Achieve-Connect-Thrive Framework presents three sets of skills that every adult needs, every sector values, and that can be learned in a range of settings. All of our partners commit to teaching, measuring, and building student mastery of these common skills.

Why focus on skills?

College admissions officers, human resource professionals, and a convincing body of research all point to a core set of skills—like critical thinking and teamwork—that produce success in college, the workplace, and life. These skills are all identifiable, measurable, and teachable.

Summer and after school programs are ideal settings in which to learn and practice Achieve-Connect-Thrive skills. In fact, many youth development organizations have a long track record of teaching these skills, often informally and under the radar. We’re tapping into that expertise and making skill development an explicit, shared focus for the whole city.

It’s a framework for everyone

Boston’s Achieve-Connect-Thrive Framework combines research-derived skills in a form that can be shared among schools, youth development organizations and other partners, as they work together to help students:

  • Achieve goals
    • Priority skills: critical thinking, creativity, perseverance
  • Connect with others
    • Priority skills: social awareness & relationships, communication, teamwork
  • Thrive as individuals
    • Priority skills: growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-regulation

The framework is for everyone. It unifies our partners while offering students an accessible way to gauge their strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and strengthen crucial skills. Skills also drive the curricular focus of our partner programs, while leaving the specific subject matter up to them.

We use the framework to guide network improvement and peer learning too. We’ve developed measures to regular assess students’ mastery of core skills, and we put skills front and center in our professional development offerings and a growing library of tools for providers.

ACT in Action

Visit our InsightCenter for examples and tools to put the ACT skills into practice.