Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

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 16, 2015

line

By statute, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) grants charters for new charter schools at its meeting in February. In November 2014, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) received final applications to establish four charter schools. This memorandum provides a preview of the February applications as well as of the review process. Executive summaries for each of these final applications, as prepared by the applicant groups, are attached for your review.

Proposed School Name Type of Charter1 Districts to be ServedGrade SpanMax Enrollment
Academy for the Whole Child Charter School CommonwealthFitchburg, Athol-Royalston, Clinton, Gardner, Leominster, Orange, WinchendonK-4360
Bentley Academy Charter School Horace Mann III2SalemK-5350
New Heights Charter School of BrocktonCommonwealthBrockton6-13840
UP Academy Charter School of SpringfieldHorace Mann III2Springfield6-8800

As originally proposed, the two applications to establish Commonwealth charter schools did not serve districts performing in the lowest ten percent, as required by the charter school statute and defined by the charter school regulations. When notified that their final applications could not go forward for the school districts and regions proposed, one applicant group reconfigured its proposed region, and the second applicant group requested a waiver of the charter school regulation specifying the methodology for calculating districts in the lowest ten percent. The Academy for the Whole Child Charter School modified its proposed region, dropping three districts and adding one. The reconfigured region includes four districts in the lowest ten percent, Athol-Royalston, Gardner, Orange, and Winchendon. The Department determined that the consolidated region met the criteria for consideration and could proceed to the final application stage. For the second application, the New Heights Charter School of Brockton, in November 2014 the Board granted a waiver3 of the charter school regulation specifying the methodology for calculating districts in the lowest ten percent.

Also attached is a detailed description of the review process and the 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 and December in Brockton, Fitchburg, Salem, and Springfield. At least one Board member attended every hearing. Superintendents and school committees in the districts to be served by the proposed schools were invited to submit written comments. Written comments were 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, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the final applications and identify areas where clarification from applicants is needed. This process generates questions for the interview phase.
  • Interviews. During January, the Department conducts a final interview with each applicant group, including the proposed board of trustees; proposed school employees, if identified; and representatives of partners identified as involved in the operation of the proposed school.

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

line



Last Updated: January 26, 2015
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE