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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Amendments to the Charters of Conservatory Lab Charter School, Edward Brooke Charter School, and Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School - Notice of Approval by the Commissioner

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:December 4, 2009

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At the September 2009 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board voted to authorize the Commissioner to act on its behalf in "(a) granting charter renewals that do not involve conditions or probation; and (b) approving charter amendments that do not involve changes in grade span, maximum enrollment, or districts served," provided that the Commissioner shall report to the Board on all such approvals and, provided further, "that the Commissioner shall notify the Board in advance of all such intended actions, and a Board member may request that the Commissioner place the charter matter(s) on the agenda of the Board for discussion and action."

Under the terms of the September 2009 delegation vote, I am reporting to the Board that I have approved the following three amendments, after notification to the Board and no request to place any of these amendments on the agenda in November.

Conservatory Lab Charter School - Mission

The board of trustees of the Conservatory Lab Charter School submitted a charter amendment request, dated September 28, 2009, to amend the school's charter to reflect a revised definition of a core component of the school's mission. The school proposes to redefine Learning Through Music (LTM) by the inclusion of Expeditionary Learning (EL) as a framework for development and implementation of LTM. This amendment request is filed to address the condition that the Board placed on the school's charter at renewal in 2009:

  1. "By December 2009, the school shall implement its Learning Through Music program in alignment with its charter or amend the charter to accurately reflect the school's current program."

The proposed change would add the following language to the school's mission: "Within its Learning Through Music program, the Conservatory Lab Charter School will use Expeditionary Learning as a framework for the continued development and implementation of the LTM curriculum units." The request states that during the last two years, LTM lessons have been taught in each classroom for thirty minutes per week and students received twice-weekly violin lessons and daily music classes, in addition to the normal course of study in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The school asserts that using the "Expeditionary Learning framework … multidisciplinary learning will be expanded so that more combinations of subjects are taught together (music and science, … music and social studies, etc.) and music plays a larger role within each curricular unit." In this way, the school intends to strengthen the implementation of the vision in the school's original charter, which emphasized the essential role of music throughout the curriculum.

This request is reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations. As such, I approved this amendment request.

Edward W. Brooke Charter School - Governance

The board of trustees of the Edward W. Brooke Charter School submitted a charter amendment request, dated July 15, 2009, to amend the school's governance/leadership structure. Currently the executive director serves as the school leader. The proposed change would create two co-directors. Both directors would report to the board of trustees. One co-director would oversee curriculum, teachers (K-5), student support (K-8), and dean of students (K-8). The other co-director would oversee operations, teachers (6-8), development, finance, graduate services, and high school placement. The primary reason for the request is to better ensure smooth and successful leadership transitions in the future.

This request is reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations. As such, I approved this amendment request.

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School - Governance

The board of trustees of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School submitted a charter amendment request, dated September 14, 2009, to amend the school's governance/leadership structure. Currently the principal serves as the school leader. The proposed change adds the position of executive director, who will be responsible for working with the board of trustees to implement the school's strategic plan, fiscal oversight, facilities expansion, and promoting the school's mission externally. The principal will function as the school's educational operations leader and report to the executive director.

This request is reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations. As such, I approved this amendment request.



Last Updated: December 8, 2009
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