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For Immediate Release
Friday, June 1, 2007
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

State's First Chinese Immersion School Receives Charter

HYDE PARK - The vision for the state's first-ever Chinese language immersion school became a reality on Friday when Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll awarded a charter to the founders of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Language Immersion Charter School.

PVCI will be a K-8 school in which students will be taught Mandarin Chinese in addition to building their English proficiency. Their focus will be on Chinese language and culture, but will strive to develop student understanding of other international cultures as well.

"This was a very exciting proposal for an extremely unique school," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "Charter schools have had great success in Massachusetts, and I look forward to seeing the growth and future accomplishments of this school in the Pioneer Valley."

PVCI's proposal was one of 10 submitted during the 2006-2007 application season and the only new charter the Board of Education approved this year.

The school will serve students from the Pioneer Valley, including: Agawam, Amherst, Amherst-Pelham (Amherst, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury), Belchertown, Chesterfield-Goshen (Chesterfield, Goshen), Chicopee, Conway, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Frontier (Conway, Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately), Gill-Montague (Gill, Montague), Granby, Granville, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden-Wilbraham (Hamden, Wilbraham), Hampshire (Chesterfield, Goshen, Southampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg), Hatfield, Hawlemont, Holyoke, Leverett, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Mohawk Trail (Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Shelburne), Northampton, Pelham, Pioneer Valley (Bernardston, Leyden, Northfield, Warwick), Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Springfield, Sunderland, West Springfield, Westfield, Westhampton, Whately, Williamsburg, Southwick-Tolland (Southwick, Tolland).

Commissioner Driscoll also awarded renewed charters to five operational charter schools, including the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School in Hyde Park, which hosted the event. The other four schools are:

  • Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham
  • Edward W. Brooke Charter School in Roslindale
  • North Central Charter Essential School in Fitchburg
  • Uphams Corner Charter School in South Boston

Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of any school committee. They are given the freedom to organize their activities around a core mission, curriculum, or teaching method and set their own budgets and staffs.

They were created in 1995 to increase student achievement, give parents more educational choices, develop best practices and be held accountable for results. All charter schools must demonstrate positive results every five years in order to have its charter renewed.

The state's charter school statute allows up to 120 charter schools, including 48 Horace Mann charters and 72 Commonwealth charters. There are currently 51 Commonwealth charter schools in operation. Three more are scheduled to open this fall. Eight Horace Mann charter schools are currently in operation.

For more information on charter schools, look online at

Last Updated: June 1, 2007
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