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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools Report on Conditions of Probation - Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School and Boston Renaissance Charter Public School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
December 10, 2010

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Based on the schools' progress in meeting the conditions that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education imposed when the charters were renewed, I recommend that the Board remove Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School and Boston Renaissance Charter Public School from probation. With respect to Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, I further recommend that the Board continue the enrollment condition and explicitly require the school to continue reducing its enrollment in accordance with the schedule that the Board set in December 2009.

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School (BArT), a regional Commonwealth charter school, is located in Adams. The school opened in 2004. BArT is chartered to serve grades 6-12, with a maximum enrollment of 308. BArT reached its maximum grade span in 2007-08, and is currently serving 264 students in grades 6-12. BArT is chartered to serve students from Northern Berkshire County and currently enrolls the majority of its students from Adams, North Adams, and Pittsfield, and the remainder from approximately 12 other communities.

The school's mission statement reads: "The Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School integrates the study of the arts and technology with core subjects to promote mastery of academic skills and content, prepare students for college and graduate independent thinkers, dynamic workers and active citizens for life. The school provides middle school and high school students in Northern Berkshire County with an intellectual community that regards everyone, including teachers and parents, as perpetual learners."

Conditions of Probation

On January 27, 2009, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education granted Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School (BArT) a probationary renewal with conditions, as set forth below:

By December of 2010, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School shall demonstrate that it is an academic success by:

  1. providing evidence that by 2010, the school has met academic growth targets in English language arts and mathematics, as established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or
  2. has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress in the aggregate and for all statistically significant subgroups in English language arts and mathematics in 2009 and 2010.

Report on Conditions and Recommendation

In 2009, BArT made AYP in the aggregate for ELA and mathematics, but not in subgroups. In 2010 BArT made AYP in the aggregate and for all statistically significant subgroups in ELA and mathematics. The school's aggregate Composite Performance Index (CPI rose by 4.6 points, to 89.8 in ELA; and rose by 13.7 points, to 77.1, in mathematics. Across all grades, and in all subjects, BArT has shown steady improvement from 2007 to 2010 in bringing students to proficiency. Additionally, in all eligible grades, BArT students have achieved growth percentiles that range from 42.0 to 81.0. The school's aggregate student growth percentiles for 2010 were 64.0 for ELA and 72.0 for mathematics. BArT has met the conditions imposed by the Board in January 2009 through strong improvement in student achievement, and therefore, I recommend that the Board vote to remove the school from probation.

Boston Renaissance Charter Public School

Boston Renaissance Charter Public School (BRCPS) is a Commonwealth charter school. The school opened in 1995, and the Board renewed the school's charter for a second five-year term in 2000 and a third five-year term in 2005. BRCPS currently enrolls 1,100 students from Boston in kindergarten through grade six.

The school's mission statement reads: "The mission of the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School is to nurture and develop academic, social, and emotional competence while building confidence, character, and citizenship among its students."

In 2005, the BRCPS charter was renewed with conditions regarding academic achievement and a reduction in grade span from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve to pre-kindergarten through grade six. In February 2007, the school was placed on probation for failing to meet the academic achievement conditions of renewal. The probationary conditions added a requirement for the school to relocate to a facility more conducive to a school program and further reduce enrollment from 1,240 to 880 students by September 2009.

In November 2008, the Board granted the school's request to extend the deadline for relocation of the school and reduction of enrollment to September 2011 and extended the school's probationary status until the Board determined whether the school's charter would be renewed in FY 2010. In August 2009, in its Application for Charter Renewal, BRCPS requested a second extension of the timeframe for reducing enrollment to 880 students. In December 2009, the Board voted to renew BRCPS, continued the school's probation, and continued to require the school to reduce its enrollment.

Conditions of Probation

The terms of probation were extended as follows:

Extension of the deadline for reducing enrollment to September 2012, in accordance with enrollment of no more than:

  • 1,051 students in September 2010,
  • 944 students in September 2011 and
  • 880 students in September 2012.

Report on Conditions and Recommendation

In September 2010, BRCPS welcomed students to its new facility in Hyde Park, thus satisfying the requirement of relocating the school. The school has also made progress in reducing its enrollment. During the 2004-05 school year, BRCPS enrolled 1,430 students. As of October 1, 2010, the school is enrolling 1,100 students. While the 2010 enrollment is 49 students over the 1,051 limit that the Board set, the school has made substantial progress on this condition and the trend is in the right direction. The school has until 2012 to reach the required, final enrollment of 880 students in accordance with the schedule imposed by the Board.

Over the past two years, the school has demonstrated qualified academic success. The school made AYP in 2009. In 2010, however, BRCPS made AYP for ELA in the aggregate, but not for subgroups. The school did not make AYP for mathematics. BRCPS currently has a status of Restructuring Year 1 - Subgroups for ELA, but No Status for mathematics. In both ELA and mathematics, the performance rating is "High".

Based on this evidence, I recommend that the BRCPS be removed from probation. I further recommend that the Board continue the enrollment condition by explicitly requiring BRCPS to continue reducing its enrollment in accordance with the schedule required by the Board in December 2009.

Enclosures:

Motions


Last Updated: December 13, 2010
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