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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - New Leadership Charter School (Horace Mann)

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
January 24, 2013


On Friday, January 18, 2013, New Leadership Charter School's board of trustees voted to withdraw its application for renewal of a charter school. As a result of this withdrawal, pursuant to 603 CMR 1.12(4), the school's charter will expire on June 30, 2013, the end of the charter's current 5-year term. I am asking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) to acknowledge the withdrawal of the renewal application of New Leadership Charter School, authorize me to suspend and revoke the school's charter on an emergency basis should that become necessary, and require the board of trustees of New Leadership Charter School to comply with procedures and timelines to effectuate an orderly closure. A motion to that effect is attached to this memorandum.

New Leadership Charter School

Type of CharterHorace MannLocationSpringfield
Regional/Non-RegionalNon-RegionalDistricts in RegionNA
Year Opened1998Years Renewed2003, 2008
Maximum Enrollment500Current Enrollment502
Students on Waitlist256Grades Served6-12

According to the school's charter, "(t)he mission of NLCS is to develop young people in the sixth through twelfth grades morally, mentally and physically; and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty. Graduates will be academically prepared to attend a college or university of their choice. They will embody three cardinal principles of leadership: vision, integrity, and compassion."

New Leadership Charter School (NLCS) had its charter renewed in 2003 and again in 2008, this time with conditions. During the 2004-05 school year, the Commissioner designated NLCS as an underperforming school. In 2008, at the time of the school's second renewal, the Board imposed seven conditions on the school's charter concerning academic success, organizational viability, and faithfulness to the terms of its charter.

NLCS received multiple site visits to gather evidence regarding the progress that the school made in meeting the seven conditions imposed by the Board. I personally visited the school on January 31, 2011, to meet with school administrators, board members, parents, and teachers. Based on the site visits, and academic data, the Department determined that NLCS had not met all of the conditions. On May 24, 2011, the Board placed NLCS on probation and directed NLCS to meet eight probationary conditions by January 2013. Most of the school year 2011-12 academic achievement markers declined from the 2010-11 school year. With a fifteen-year history, NLCS has yet to establish itself as an academic success, a viable organization, or a school that is fully faithful to the terms of its charter.

I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the school's founders, leaders, faculty, and staff. NLCS is an example of the limitations of the Horace Mann Charter School: the Springfield School District and NLCS have recently been at odds over funding, facilities, and collective bargaining provisions. I believe that the decision of the board of trustees to withdraw the school's charter renewal application is in the best interest of the students.

If you have any questions regarding this recommendation or require additional information, please contact Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner (781-338-3222); Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner (781-338-6500); or me.


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Correspondence from NLCS Board of Trustees

Last Updated: January 28, 2013
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