|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, May 6, 2015|
|Contact:||Jacqueline Reis 781-338-3115|
20 Years of Charter School Operation Celebrated
Charters Distributed to Two New Schools, 19 Others Receive Renewals
Marblehead - During National Charter Schools Week, the Baker-Polito Administration presented charters to the founders of two new schools and gave renewed charters to the leaders of 19 existing schools during a charter granting ceremony held at Marblehead Community Charter Public School Monday. The ceremony also marked 20 years of charter school operation in Massachusetts. Fourteen of the renewed schools received their initial charters from the Commonwealth in 1994 and opened in 1995.
Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester and Secretary of Education James A. Peyser presented charters to the founders of two new schools: Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem and UP Academy Charter School of Springfield. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the charters in February.
"Over the last 20 years, charter schools across the Commonwealth have consistently proven themselves to be outstanding educational institutions, producing some of the best academic results for a diverse cross-section of students," said Secretary of Education James A. Peyser. "We have arguably the best charter schools in the country, and yet we have one of the most restrictive laws and one of the slowest-growing sectors. As we celebrate and honor these great charter schools this week, I hope we will also rededicate ourselves to ensuring that more children in the Commonwealth, especially those in the most underserved communities, are given an opportunity for the excellent public education they deserve."
"The charter school sector in Massachusetts is now 20 years old and is providing families an increasing number of high-quality options," said Commissioner Chester. "In particular, I congratulate the initial cohort of charter schools that received their fourth renewals, as well as the two new schools that we chartered this year."
Monday's ceremony also featured comments and reflections from alumni of schools that are in their 20th year of operation. The alumni credited their charter school experiences with allowing them to establish their current careers.
Charter schools are open to all Massachusetts students, with enrollment preference given to students in the district or region where the school is located. All charter schools are chartered for five years. At the end of that period, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education reviews the school's performance in detail before making a decision on whether to renew the charter.
There are two broad categories of charter schools: Commonwealth charter schools are fully autonomous and operate independently of the local school district, while Horace Mann charter schools are developed and operated in close cooperation with the host school district and require the approval of the local school committee.
The two new schools that received charters Monday are both Horace Mann charter schools:
- Bentley Academy Charter School (grades K-5; opening in fall 2015)
- UP Academy Charter School of Springfield (grades 6-8; opening in fall 2016)
In addition, the following 19 Commonwealth charter schools received renewed charters Monday (Schools with an asterisk are in their 20th year of operation.):
- Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School (Marlborough) (grades 6-12)
- Atlantis Charter School (Fall River) (grades K-12)*
- Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School (Franklin) (grades K-8)*
- Boston Renaissance Charter Public School (Boston) (grades PK-6)*
- Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School (East Harwich) (grades 6-12)*
- City on a Hill Charter Public School Circuit Street (Boston) (grades 9-12)*
- Community Charter School of Cambridge (Cambridge) (grades 6-12)
- Community Day Charter Public School - Prospect (Lawrence) (grades PK-8)*
- Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School (Devens) (grades 7-12)*
- Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School (Easthampton) (grades K-8)*
- Holyoke Community Charter School (Holyoke) (grades K-8)
- Lawrence Family Development Charter School (Lawrence) (grades PK-8)*
- Lowell Community Charter Public School (Lowell) (grades PK-8)
- Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School (Lowell) (grades 9-12)*
- Marblehead Community Charter Public School (Marblehead) (grades 4-8)*
- Match Charter Public School (Boston) (grades PK-12)
- Neighborhood House Charter School (Boston) (grades PK-8)*
- SABIS International Charter School (Springfield) (grades K-12)*
- South Shore Charter Public School (Norwell) (grades K-12)*
For more information about charter schools, please see www.doe.mass.edu/charter