|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, October 4, 2002|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106|
Charter Schools Make Significant Gains On 2002 MCAS
MALDEN - Students at the state’s charter schools showed noteworthy improvement on the 2002 MCAS exams, with a high percentage scoring in the top two categories on all exams, education officials announced on Friday.
“Now that so many of our charter schools have been in operation for several years, it’s gratifying to see they are making real progress,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “This year’s results are outstanding, and should serve as proof enough that this state’s charter school experiment has been a genuine success.”
In all, 70 percent or more of the students in the class of 2004 scored advanced or proficient at seven of the state’s 17 charter high schools. They are: Academy of the Pacific Rim in Boston, 78 percent; Sabis Foxboro Regional Charter School in Foxboro, 84 percent; South Boston Harbor Charter School, 79 percent; Francis W. Parker Charter School in Devens, 73 percent; Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in Hadley, 80 percent; Somerville Charter School, 78 percent; Sturgis Charter School in Barnstable, 84 percent.
On the math exam, 70 percent or more of 10th graders scored advanced or proficient at 3 schools: Academy of the Pacific Rim, 75 percent; Francis W. Parker Charter School, 78 percent; and Sturgis Charter School, 76 percent.
Results at several schools showed significant gains, with far more 10th graders scoring in proficient and advanced in 2002 than in 2001. On the English exam, these include Sabis International Charter School, 49 to 69 percent; Somerville Charter School, 50 to 78 percent; and Pioneer Valley Charter School, 50 to 80 percent.
On the math exam, schools saw similar gains: Sturgis Charter School, 66 to 76 percent; Sabis International Charter School, 32 to 46 percent; and Francis Parker Charter School, 19 to 78 percent.
Among elementary and middle schools, the same was true: The percent of fourth graders who scored proficient and advanced on the English exam rose from 23 to 69 percent at the Hilltown Charter School in Haydenville, and from 61 to 89 percent at the Benjamin Franklin Charter School in Franklin. On the eighth grade math exam, the percent scoring in the top two categories rose from 31 to 41 percent at the South Boston Harbor Charter School, and from 66 to 77 percent at the Community Day Charter School in Lawrence.
There are currently 46 charter schools operating in Massachusetts. Of that total, 39 are Commonwealth and 7 are Horace Mann charter schools. Students from 201 districts attend the schools, and there is currently an enrollment waiting list of nearly 13,000 students.
Commonwealth charter schools are public schools started by parents, teachers or community leaders that operate independent of any school committee under a five-year charter granted by the Board of Education. They have the freedom to organize around a core mission, curriculum, theme, or teaching method. In return for this freedom, they must attract students and produce results within five years.
Horace Mann charter schools operate under a five-year charter approved by the local school committee, the local teacher's union president, and the Board of Education. Terms of the charter determine if the teachers are exempt from local collective bargaining agreements, so long as employees remain members of the local collective bargaining unit, continue to accrue seniority, and receive, at minimum, the salary and benefits established by the local collective bargaining agreement.
State law allows for a total of 120 charter schools to operate in Massachusetts. Since 1994, 269 applications have been received, 57 charters have been awarded and 22 have been renewed.
For more information on charter schools, check the Department of Education’s Web site. To find each school’s MCAS results, check www.doe.mass.edu/mcas.