The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Charter School Applications
|To:||Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education|
|From:||Mitchell D. Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education|
|Date:||January 15, 2010|
At the February meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, I may recommend that the Board grant charters for new charter schools. In the current application cycle, 16 Commonwealth charters and 41 Horace Mann charters are available. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received prospectuses from fourteen applicant groups in August 2009. All but one of the prospectuses proposed were Commonwealth charter schools. After a thorough review process using criteria outlined in 603 CMR 1.05 and criteria established by the Department through the application, eight applicant groups were invited to submit final applications. On November 13, 2009, seven groups submitted final applications and one group withdrew. Since November, an additional group withdrew its application, leaving six that I am reviewing with Department staff.
Executive summaries of the six remaining applications, prepared by the applicant groups, are included for your review. The names of the proposed charter schools, their enrollment capacities, and the district(s) they seek to serve are as follows:
Discovery Charter School of Sustainability, serving students in grades K-6 in Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill-Montague, Greenfield, Hawlemont, Leveret, Mohawk, Orange, Pioneer Valley, Rowe, Shutesbury, Sunderland, and Whately. Maximum enrollment: 264.
Hanlin International Academy Charter School, serving students in grades 6-12 in Quincy. Maximum enrollment: 308.
Leaders of Tomorrow Charter Public School, serving students in grades 6-8 in Worcester. Maximum enrollment: 270.
Lynn Preparatory School, serving students in grades K-8 in Lynn. Maximum enrollment: 250.
Road to Success Charter High School, serving students in grades 9-12 in Lynn, Peabody, and Salem. Maximum enrollment: 400.
Spirit of Knowledge Academy Charter School, serving students in grades 7-12 in Worcester. Maximum enrollment: 275.
The charter school application review process includes:
- Review panels consisting of internal and external reviewers. The reviewers discuss each final application at length, comparing the applications submitted to the application criteria and developing questions for the interviews with the final applicant groups. A summary of the review criteria is attached.
- Public comment. Public hearings were held in Greenfield, Lenox, Lynn, Worcester, and Quincy in early December, with a Board member in attendance at each hearing. Superintendents and school committees in the districts to be served by the proposed schools were also invited to submit written comments. Written comments may also be received from other local officials and from members of the public.
- A final interview of each applicant group, conducted in late January by charter school office staff.
- Discussions of the applications' merits with Charter School Office staff that involve review of the applications' merits and input received from reviewers, the public, and local officials, prior to making my recommendation.
Based on information from the review panels, the public comment, and the final interviews, I will determine which, if any, applicants meet the criteria for a Massachusetts public charter school and will make my recommendations to you. A detailed description of the review process for charter applications is attached.
If you have any questions on the applications or review process, please contact Jeff Wulfson, Associate Commissioner, at 781-338-6500; Mary Street, Director of Charter Schools, at
781-338-3200; or me.
Description of the Charter Application Review Process and Criteria for Review