Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - Charter Amendment Requests for Changes to Maximum Enrollment or Grades Served of UP Academy Charter School of Boston, Salem Academy Charter School, Hampden Charter School of Science, and KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 16, 2015

line

Pursuant to the Charter School Regulations, 603 CMR 1.11(1), the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) must approve certain changes in the material terms of a school's charter. This year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) received requests from eight existing schools to change their maximum enrollment, districts served, and grades served. At the January meeting, I am recommending approval of requests from four schools, am not recommending requests from two schools, and am deferring until February my recommendation for the remaining two schools.

I recommend approval of requests from one Horace Mann charter school and three Commonwealth charter schools. I recommend approval of the expansion requests of UP Academy Charter School of Boston (Horace Mann), Salem Academy Charter School, and Hampden Charter School of Science to increase student enrollment. I also recommend approval of the request of KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School to expand to K-12 school from their current secondary school model. The charter amendment review process and the four individual school requests are described in detail below, in preparation for a discussion and vote at the Board's meeting on January 27, 2015.

Tabs A through D contain the following information specific to each amendment:

  • the amendment request submitted by the school;
  • the Department's overview of the request and evidence regarding the school's performance;
  • a summary of the school's academic performance, student demographics, attrition rates, and a five-year financial summary;
  • a summary of the school's credentials as a proven provider, if applicable; and
  • superintendent comment, if received.

My recommendations for charter amendments are summarized in the following table.

Charter School TabDistrict or RegionCurrent Grade SpanCurrent Max. EnrollmentAmendment RequestCommissioner's Recommendation
UP Academy Charter School of BostonABoston6-8500Enrollment increase (40)Recommend
Salem Academy Charter SchoolBSalem6-12372Enrollment increase (108)Recommend
Hampden Charter School of ScienceCChicopee, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield6-12350Enrollment increase (210)Recommend
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter SchoolDLynn5-12850Add grades K-4; Enrollment increase (736)Recommend
Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter Public SchoolNABoston6-8216Add grades 5, and 9-12; Enrollment increase (316)1; and become regional2 Requires further school action
Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter SchoolNA39 districts in Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden counties3K-12584Enrollment increase (384)Requires further school action
Pioneer Charter School of ScienceNAChelsea, Everett, Revere7-12360Add grades K-6; Enrollment increase (420)Relates to other pending matters; deferred to February 2015
Mystic Valley Regional Charter SchoolNAEverett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, WakefieldK-121500Enrollment increase of 400Relates to other pending matters; deferred to February 2015

Determination Regarding Other Amendment Requests

In addition to the requests I am recommending for approval, I evaluated the charter amendment requests submitted by the boards of trustees of Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter Public School and Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School. I am not recommending approval of these requests at this time. I have encouraged these schools to address concerns identified by the Department before further consideration of these requests.

The charter amendment requests submitted by the boards of trustees of Pioneer Charter School of Science4 and Mystic Valley Regional Charter School5 relate to other pending matters. My recommendation regarding their requests will come to the Board next month.

The Charter Amendment Review Process

Section 1.10 of the Charter School Regulations (603 CMR 1.10) contains several criteria that the Commissioner and the Board may consider in reaching a determination regarding a school's request to amend its charter. First, "the Commissioner and the Board may consider a charter school's compliance with applicable state, federal, and local law." Second, the Commissioner and the Board may consider the evidence regarding the success of the school's academic program, the viability of the school as an organization, and the faithfulness of the school to the terms of its charter. Third, schools must address additional criteria outlined in the Department's guidelines on amendment Download Word Document requests related to the expansion proposal, including the planning and implementation of the proposed changes to the school's charter. Fourth, a board of trustees seeking additional seats in some districts must qualify as a "proven provider" based upon the existing Commonwealth charter school and meet the performance criteria described in 603 CMR 1.04(4).

The Department conducted a comprehensive review of the amendment requests. The amendment review process included the following:

  • Written comments were solicited from superintendents from districts affected by proposed expansions.

  • The Department reviewed each amendment request and each school's body of evidence. Reviewers completed an evaluation rubric to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each amendment request and potential questions for school leaders and board members.

  • School leaders and board members were interviewed by the Department, if necessary, to address specific concerns or questions that arose during the amendment review.

  • I met with Department staff to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each amendment request when judged against the criteria outlined in the Department's amendment guidelines and the Charter School Performance Criteria.

Proven Provider Determination

When a board of trustees requests to increase the maximum enrollment of a charter school, I must consider the status of available seats under the relevant net school spending (NSS) cap. Requests are only considered if seats are available within the charter school's current or proposed region that could accommodate the increase in enrollment. Secondly, if the school's charter region includes a district that has performed on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests (MCAS) in the lowest 10 percent statewide for two consecutive previous years, the Department must also consider the status of the NSS cap. If the school's request to increase maximum enrollment would exceed the 9 percent NSS cap, the board of trustees must meet the qualifications to achieve proven provider status as defined in 603 CMR 1.04(4).

In order to determine if a current board of trustees qualifies for proven provider status, I consider affirmative, credible evidence of the existing school's success in each of the three accountability areas: academic program success, organizational viability, and faithfulness to the terms of its charter. Pursuant to 603 CMR 1.04(4)(b), applicants for proven provider status must demonstrate success in student academic performance and evidence of overall academic program success, including, but not limited to:

  • proficiency levels and growth measures on the MCAS or equivalent assessments for all students and for one or more targeted subgroups as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 89(i)(3), which are similar to statewide averages in English Language Arts and mathematics for all students in Massachusetts in comparable grades, over no less than a three-year period for cohorts of students;

  • attendance, retention, and attrition data;

  • graduation and dropout data, if applicable; and

  • in-school and out-of-school suspension rates.

Boards of trustees must also demonstrate "organizational viability, which shall include but not be limited to effective governance, effective financial management, effective implementation of recruitment and retention plans, if applicable, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations."

Proven provider status is required to award additional seats to Salem Academy Charter School, Hampden Charter School of Science, and KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School because districts that comprise their charter region have been identified as districts performing in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student MCAS performance scores based on the most recent two consecutive school years and because the 9 percent net school spending cap is either already exceeded or would be exceeded if the amendment request were granted. The request made by the board of trustees of the UP Academy Charter School of Boston does not require proven provider due to its status as a Horace Mann charter school (Tab A).

Within Tabs B through D, you will find the relevant student achievement and indicator data compiled by the Department for each school. The graphs of student achievement data permit a comparison of the school's relative performance to the statewide and district averages for the same grades that are served by the charter school. The graphs of student indicator data provide the school's performance in comparison to overall statewide and district averages.

Evaluating each school's performance against the criteria as described in 603 CMR 1.04(4), I have identified the board of trustees of Salem Academy Charter School, Hampden Charter School of Science, and KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School as proven providers.

Recommendation

I have reviewed each of these five requests and they appear reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations. Attached is the Department's review of the evidence regarding each school's academic program, the viability of the school as an organization, and the faithfulness of the school to the terms of its charter. Given each school's overall academic performance and compliance with applicable state, federal, and local law, I recommend that the Board approve the requests recommended. Motions for approval are attached for your consideration.

line

If you have any questions regarding these amendments or require additional information, please contact Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner (781-338-3222); Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner (781-338-6500); or me.

Attachments:

 
Motion for Board Action on UP Academy Charter School of Boston
 
Motion for Board Action on Salem Academy Charter School
 
Motion for Board Action on Hampden Charter School of Science
 
Motion for Board Action on KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School
TAB A: UP Academy Charter School of Boston
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from UP Academy Charter School of Boston
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Department's Overview of the Request of UP Academy Charter School of Boston and Evidence Regarding the School's Performance
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
UP Academy Charter School of Boston Academic Performance Data, Student Enrollment Demographics, Student Attrition Rates, and Five Year Financial Summary
TAB B: Salem Academy Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from Salem Academy Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Department's Overview of the Request of Salem Academy Charter School and Evidence Regarding the School's Performance
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
Salem Academy Charter School Academic Performance Data, Student Enrollment Demographics, Student Attrition Rates, and Five Year Financial Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
Salem Academy Charter School Proven Provider Analysis Summary
TAB C: Hampden Charter School of Science
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from Hampden Charter School of Science
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Department's Overview of the Request of Hampden Charter School of Science and Evidence Regarding the School's Performance
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
Hampden Charter School of Science Academic Performance Data, Student Enrollment Demographics, Student Attrition Rates, and Five Year Financial Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
Hampden Charter School of Science Proven Provider Analysis Summary
TAB D: KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Department's Overview of the Request of KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School and Evidence Regarding the School's Performance
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School Academic Performance Data, Student Enrollment Demographics, Student Attrition Rates, and Five Year Financial Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School Proven Provider Analysis Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools

line



Last Updated: January 22, 2015
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE