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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - Report on Conditions and Major Amendment Request for Innovation Academy Charter School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 12, 2012

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This memorandum presents the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) with information regarding a report on conditions for Innovation Academy Charter School (IACS). Additionally, the Board will discuss and vote on a major amendment request from IACS that was submitted to the Department in August 2011. As shown below, IACS has met the condition imposed during their 2011 renewal. Additionally, the school has demonstrated 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. In light of the evidence, I recommend that the school be removed from conditions and be granted its amendment request.

Innovation Academy Charter School

Type of CharterCommonwealthLocationTyngsborough
Regional/Non-RegionalRegionalDistricts in RegionBillerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groton-Dunstable, Littleton, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford
Year Opened1996Year(s) Renewed2001, 2006, 2011
Maximum Enrollment600Grades Served5-12

The school's mission statement reads: "The mission of the Innovation Academy Charter School is to provide students with a challenging, interdisciplinary education that will prepare them for the 21st century through an emphasis on holistic learning, higher order and critical thinking skills, and practical application and integration of curriculum areas."

Report on Conditions

In December 2010, the Board renewed the charter of IACS with a condition regarding its program for English language learners (ELL). The condition required the school establish and operate an ELL program. As described below, IACS has met the condition.

Condition: By December 31, 2011 the school will establish and operate an English language learner program in a manner consistent with the requirements of General Laws chapter 71A. The school will demonstrate that it has met this condition through, at a minimum, an inspection visit conducted by the charter school office.

Status: Condition met.
Through monthly updates and an onsite visit to the school on January 5, 2012, the Department has determined that the school successfully addressed all areas of ELL program deficiency identified in the federal program renewal inspection report of April, 2010.The school is appropriately implementing ELL identification and assessment procedures: the school sends all families a home language survey, and trained staff properly assesses all potential ELL students. A licensed ESL teacher now delivers English language development instruction in amounts consistent with the Department's recommended number of hours. Sheltered English immersion is available at all grade levels at the school from instructional staff who have been trained in all category areas. Three ELL students are currently enrolled all of whom are receiving language support services as required.

Major Amendment Request and Recommendation

In 2011, IACS submitted an amendment request to increase the school's maximum enrollment from 600 to 800 students, an increase of 200 students to the school's 5-12 educational program.

A copy of the request is attached. The Department has reviewed this request and it appears reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations. The school has established a solid educational program, demonstrated academic results, and shown evidence of persistent parent and student demand with a waitlist of 530. Additionally, the school has clear systems and structures in place at the current school that could facilitate a successful expansion. The charter school is in compliance with applicable state, federal, and local law. Given this evidence, I recommend that the Board approve an enrollment increase of 200 students for the IACS. A motion for approval is attached for your consideration.

As required for requests that seek an increase in maximum enrollment and/or grades served, comment was solicited from the superintendents in the school districts within the charter school's district or region. In regards to IACS the Department did not receive any comments from superintendents.

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If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Marlon Davis, Director of Charter Schools, Innovation, and Redesign, at 781 338-3222; or Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner, at 781 338-6500; or me.

Enclosures:

Major Amendment Requests from IACS
Motion



Last Updated: January 3, 2012
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