8 Groups Seek to Open New Charter Schools- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, July 25, 2014
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

8 Groups Seek to Open New Charter Schools

Proposals seek to add up to 5,050 new charter school seats in Boston, Brockton, Cape Cod, Chicopee, Fitchburg, Salem, and Springfield

MALDEN - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week received prospectuses from seven applicant groups seeking to ultimately receive approval to open and operate new charter schools across the Commonwealth.

In addition, the Department will advance to the final application stage an eighth proposal to grow a charter school network in Boston under a new one-stage process for eligible, existing charter school boards of trustees. UP Academies is seeking to open a Horace Mann charter school in Boston as part of its existing network of schools.

"Across Massachusetts, there are many exceptional public charter schools that set a very high bar for excellence and deliver an outstanding educational program to students," said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester. "I look forward to reviewing the new batch of prospectuses and inviting the applicant groups with the best proposals to move on to the final stage of the charter application cycle."

Once prospectuses are reviewed, the Department will notify in mid September the applicant groups whose prospectuses show the most promise and invite them to submit full applications. Full applications are due on November 5, 2014. For each group invited to submit a final application, their proposal will receive a comprehensive review by Department staff and external reviewers with expertise in education, finance, legal and organizational structure. Commissioner Chester will then decide which finalists to recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Board will vote on the Commissioner's recommendations to award new charters in February 2015.

For applicants that must demonstrate that they qualify as proven providers, an invitation to submit a final application is contingent on the Commissioner's granting of proven provider status. The determination of proven provider status will occur when the results of spring 2014 MCAS testing become available and prior to the submission deadline for final applications.

The new proposals for the 2014-2015 application cycle include four proposals to open Commonwealth charter schools and three proposals to open Horace Mann charter schools. Commonwealth charter schools are fully autonomous and operate independently of the local school district. Horace Mann charter schools are developed and operated in close cooperation with the host school district, and require approval of the local school committee. Charter schools are open to all Massachusetts students, with enrollment preference given to students in the district or region where the school is located.

The 2014-2015 proposals that were submitted for consideration are:

Commonwealth Charter School ProspectusesDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
Academy for the Whole Child Charter School Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg, Ashburnham-Westminster, North Middlesex, Athol-Royalston, Gardner, Orange, Winchendon 2015K-4360
International Academy Charter SchoolChicopee, Springfield 2015K-121200
New Heights Charter School of BrocktonBrockton 20156-13840
Weetumuw Wopanaak Charter School Barnstable, Bourne, Chatham, Dennis-Yarmouth, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Nauset, Sandwich, Acushnet, Attleboro, Berkley, Bridgewater-Raynham, Dartmouth, Dighton-Rehoboth, Easton, Fairhaven, Mansfield, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, Martha's Vineyard, Oak Bluffs, Abington, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Freetown & Lakeville, Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Middleborough, Norwell, Old Rochester Regional, Old Rochester, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Scituate, Silver Lake Regional, Wareham, Whitman-Hanson 2015K-5100

Horace Mann Charter School ProspectusesDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
Bentley Academy Charter SchoolSalem 2015K-5350
Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School STEM Upper SchoolBoston 20156-12600
UP Academy Charter School of SpringfieldSpringfield 20166-8800

The 2014-2015 proposal that will advance to the final application stage is:

Horace Mann Charter School ProspectusesDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
UP Academy Charter School of Boston - 2015Boston 2015K1-5 or K1-8 or 6-8800

In January 2010, the Patrick Administration raised the charter school cap in the lowest performing school districts and made a number of changes to the charter authorizing process. The cap on district net school spending under the Achievement Gap Act is being raised from 9 percent to a maximum of 18 percent through incremental steps. The cap lift only applies to districts with academic performance in the lowest 10 percent as measured by MCAS, and applicants under the cap lift must have a proven track record of success in increasing academic attainment and commit to working with a diverse population of students. Since February 2011, the Board has awarded 27 new charters, which at maximum enrollment will enroll nearly 13,000 students.

For more information on charter schools, visit Massachusetts Charter Schools.

Last Updated: July 25, 2014

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