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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - Amendment Request from Sturgis Charter Public School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 13, 2017

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Pursuant to the Charter School Regulations, 603 CMR 1.10(1), the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) must approve certain changes in the material terms of a school's charter.1 As outlined in this memorandum, I recommend that the Board approve an amendment request from Sturgis Charter Public School (SCPS) to increase its enrollment by 50 seats. My recommendation is based upon the materials submitted by the school in support of its request and the school's track record of performance in the three areas of accountability for charter schools. The rationale for my recommendation follows.

Sturgis Charter Public School
Type of Charter
(Commonwealth or Horace Mann)
CommonwealthLocationHyannis
Regional or
Non-Regional?
RegionalDistricts in RegionBarnstable, Bourne, Carver, Dennis-Yarmouth, Falmouth, Mashpee, Monomoy, Nauset, Plymouth, Provincetown, Sandwich, Wareham
Year Opened1998Year(s) Renewed2003, 2008, 2013
Maximum Enrollment800Current Maximum Enrollment8042
Grade Span9-12Current Grade Span9-12
Students on Waitlist5113Current Age of School18 Years
Mission Statement
Sturgis Charter Public School is dedicated to an "International Baccalaureate (IB) for All" philosophy, preparing high school students for higher education in a supportive learning environment. Sturgis provides each student a rigorous world-class educational program, encouraging academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth.

Amendment Request

The board of trustees of SCPS requests to increase the school's enrollment by 50 seats. The school's request is prompted by continued demand for its educational program. The expanded enrollment, and the accompanying revenue, will support the school's efforts to provide its International Baccalaureate (IB) program in a highly supportive learning environment for all types of learners.

In 2009, the school was awarded a substantial increase in enrollment from 425 to 800 students. By the 2013-2014 school year, SCPS successfully completed its enrollment increase and established a second high school campus. In 2013, the school requested to expand by 50 students. I declined to recommend this request because the number of high needs students served by the school had not increased during its expansion, particularly students identified as low income/economically disadvantaged.

In the two years since 2013, the school has doubled its population of students identified as low income/economically disadvantaged, from 5.7 percent to 12.4 percent. I am encouraged by such results in a short time despite the inherent challenges in doing so posed by a lottery admission process and enrollment preferences. The Department will continue to monitor the school's progress in the recruitment and enrollment of high needs students.

School's Performance

Overall, the Department's records indicate that the school's academic program is successful, that the school is a viable organization, and that the school is faithful to the terms of its charter.

  • SCPS has achieved Level 1 status since 2012. In 2016, the school received a school percentile of 98 and a Progress and Performance Index (PPI) of 100 in the aggregate and for the high needs subgroup. In 2015, the school also received a school percentile of 98 and a PPI of 100 in the aggregate but did not have a sufficient number of years of data for the high needs subgroup to be assigned a PPI. In addition, the Department commended the school for high progress in 2015.

  • SCPS has consistently high rates of four-year graduation, ranging from 92.3 to 97.1 percent over the past five years. The school experiences higher rates of graduation at five years, including a 99% five-year graduation rate in 2013. SCPS's drop-out rate was 0 percent from 2011 through 2014. In 2015, the school's drop-out rate was 0.7 percent.

  • In the past five years, the populations of students with disabilities and students identified as low income/economically disadvantaged at SCPS have significantly exceeded proficiency levels for their respective peers based upon the statewide average. SCPS has established a robust staffing model for the special education program, including four special educators and five paraprofessionals at each campus for students receiving special education services.

  • SCPS operates in a financially sound and publicly accountable manner. The school has maintained a sound and stable financial condition over the charter term. As evidenced by the fiscal dashboard, SCPS has received unqualified audits for the last five fiscal years.

  • SCPS has undergone three successful charter renewals. The school will submit its next renewal application this summer in anticipation of a renewal decision in 2018.

At the time of the school's submission to the Department, pursuant to 603 CMR 1.10(5), SCPS provided copies to the superintendents of each school district identified in its charter region. Comment opposing the school's request was received from Superintendent Carol Woodbury of Dennis-Yarmouth Public Schools, Interim Superintendent Patricia DeBoer of Mashpee Public Schools, and Superintendent Scott Carpenter of Monomoy Regional Schools serving Chatham and Harwich.4 Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown of Barnstable Public Schools also submitted comment regarding potential future collaboration with SPCS to increase the enrollment of English Language Learners at the charter school while noting the challenge that sibling enrollment preference presents in achieving this particular goal. In addition to superintendent comment, we received letters in support of the school's proposed increase in enrollment from current and potential future members of the school community. All the comments are attached for your review.

Given the school's academic success, organizational viability, and general faithfulness to the terms of its charter, including compliance with applicable state, federal, and local laws, I recommend that the Board grant the requested amendment to increase enrollment by 50 students. If the Board votes to grant SCPS's request, the school will serve students in grades 9-12 with a maximum enrollment of 850 students.

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Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner; Alison Bagg, Director; and Alyssa Hopkins, School Development Manager, will be at your meeting on January 24th to assist with the discussion. In the meantime, if you need any additional information, please contact Cliff (781-338-3222), Alison (781-338-3218), or me.


Enclosure:

 
School's amendment request

 
Superintendent comment:
Superintendent Carol Woodbury of Dennis-Yarmouth Public Schools,
Interim Superintendent Patricia DeBoer of Mashpee Public Schools,
Superintendent Scott Carpenter of Monomoy Regional Schools and
Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown of Barnstable Public Schools

 
Public comment from current and potential future members of the school community

 
Summary of academic performance, student demographics, and attrition rates, and five-year financial summary

 
Motion for Board Action on SCPS's amendment request


Note:

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Last Updated: January 19, 2017
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