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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, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 17, 2014

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By statute, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) votes on the approval on new charter schools at its February meeting. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) received 10 Commonwealth charter schools prospectuses in August 2013.

Based upon the review of these prospectuses by the Department's staff and external reviewers, I invited 6 applicant groups to submit final applications. All 6 final applications were filed by the deadline and are listed in the following table.

Proposed School NameDistricts to be ServedOpening YearGrade SpanMax Enrollment
Academy for the Whole Child Charter SchoolFitchburg2014K-4278
Argosy Collegiate Charter SchoolFall River20146-12644
Fenix Charter SchoolLynn20145-12600
New Heights Charter School of Fall River Fall River20146-13800
Springfield Preparatory Charter SchoolSpringfield2015K-8486
STEAM Studio Charter SchoolAndover20149-12450

Executive summaries for each of these final applications, as prepared by the applicant groups, are attached for your review.

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

  • Public comment. During the current application process, public hearings were held in November in Andover, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lynn, and Springfield. At least one Board member attended 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 compact disk containing recordings of the five 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 Department conducts a final interview with each applicant group.

I will forward to the Board, prior to its February meeting, my recommendations for the award of new charters. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the pending applications for charter schools or the review process, please contact Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner, at 781-338-6500; Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner, at 781-338-3222; 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 27, 2014
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