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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Applications for New Charter Schools

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:
January 14, 2011

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By statute, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education votes on the approval on new charter schools at its February meeting. Last year's amendments to the charter school statute (G.L. c.71, § 89) made a number of changes to the application process. These changes were reflected in the amendments to the charter school regulations (603 CMR 1.00) that the Board adopted in May 2010. These changes include:

  • allowing existing charter school boards of trustees to apply for additional charters;
  • creating two additional types of Horace Mann charter schools;
  • lifting the 9 percent net school spending cap in districts whose academic performance is in the lowest 10 percent, as measured by MCAS results for two consecutive years;
  • requiring that applicants in districts subject to the higher net school spending cap have a demonstrated record of prior successful performance;
  • giving preference to applicants in districts subject to the higher net school spending cap who propose networks serving more than one municipality; and
  • allowing the Board to provisionally award seats that may become available in future years.

The Department received 42 prospectuses in August 2010 - 4 for Horace Mann charter schools and 39 for Commonwealth charter schools. Based upon the review of these prospectuses by the Department's staff and external reviewers, I invited the founding groups for 24 of the applications (3 Horace Mann and 21 Commonwealth) to submit final applications. Twenty-three final applications, representing 16 separate applicant groups, were timely filed by the November 8, 2010, deadline. Here is a list of the 23 proposed schools:

Commonwealth Charter School Final ApplicationsDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesMaximum Enrollment
Alma del Mar Charter Public School New Bedford2011-12K-8360
Boston Chinese Immersion Charter School Boston2011-12K-8360
Bridge Boston Charter SchoolBoston2011-12K1-8335
Brooke Charter School 2Boston2011-12K-8475
Brooke Charter School 3Boston, Chelsea2012-13K-8475
Brooke Charter School 4Boston2013-14K-8475
Collegiate Charter SchoolSpringfield, West
Springfield, Chicopee
2011-126-12700
Community Day Charter Public School RiversideLawrence2012-13K1-8400
Community Day Charter Public School SouthLawrence2012-13K1-8400
Dorchester Preparatory Charter SchoolBoston2012-135-12600
Dudley Square Preparatory Charter SchoolBoston2012-135-12600
Excel Academy Charter School - Boston IBoston2012-135-8448
Excel Academy Charter School - Boston IIBoston2012-135-12448
Excel Academy Charter School - ChelseaChelsea2011-125-8224
Grove Hall Preparatory Charter SchoolBoston2011-125-12600
KIPP Academy BostonBoston2012-13K-8588
Lynn Preparatory Charter School Lynn 2011-12K-8324
MATCH Community Day Charter Public SchoolBoston2011-12K1-12700
Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter SchoolAgawam, Amherst,Amherst-Pelham,
Belchertown, Brimfield, Chesterfield-Goshen,
Chicopee, E. Longmeadow, Easthampton,
Gateway Regional, Granby, Granville,
Hadley, Hampden-Wilbraham, Hampshire Regional,
Hatfield, Holland, Holyoke,
Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson,
Northampton, Palmer, Pelham,
S. Hadley, Southampton, Southwick-Tolland,
Springfield, Wales, Ware, W. Springfield,
Westfield, Westhampton and Williamsburg
2011-125-12600
Veritas Preparatory Charter School Springfield2012-135-8324
Horace Mann Charter School Final ApplicationsDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesMaximum Enrollment
Boston Green AcademyBoston2012-136-12595
UP Academy Charter School of BostonBoston2011-126-8500
Salem Community Charter SchoolSalem2011-129-12125

Executive summaries for each of these final applications, as prepared by the applicant groups, are attached for your review. In cases where an applicant group has proposed multiple schools, we have consolidated the executive summaries for each of their applications to clearly document the relationship between applications. By statute, the Board must vote on a separate charter for each school in a proposed network.

Attached you will also find a detailed description of the charter school final application review process and criteria. Briefly, the charter school final application review process includes the following components:

  • Public comment. During the current application process, public hearings were held in Boston, Chelsea, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Salem, and Springfield in late November and early December, with at least two Board members in attendance at every hearing. Superintendents and school committees in the districts to be served by the proposed schools and all contiguous districts were also invited to submit written comments. Written comments are also accepted from members of the public. Prior to the February meeting, you will receive a CD containing recordings of the eight public hearings and copies of all of the written comments.
  • Review panels. Review panels, which include both internal and external reviewers, discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the final applications, and identified areas where clarification from the applicant was needed. This process helped to generate questions for the interview phase.
  • Interviews. During January, the charter school office conducts a final interview with each applicant group.
  • Board committee on charter schools. This year, Chair Banta has appointed a Board committee, chaired by Gerald Chertavian and including Vanessa Rosario-Calderon and Chair Banta, to discuss the application process generally and certain areas requiring policy decisions. In particular, the committee has been focusing on policies relating to proven provider status and the award of provisional seats.

I will forward to the Board, prior to the February 28th meeting, my recommendations on which applications should be approved. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the applications or the review process, please contact Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson or me.

Enclosures:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Executive Summaries of Final Applications
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Description of the Charter Application Review Process and Criteria for Review


Last Updated: January 18, 2011
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