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For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

New Worcester School Receives Charter as State Renews 19 Other Charter Schools

Charter Granting Ceremony Celebrates Achievement, Possibility

BOSTON - Founders of a new Worcester charter school highlighted a focus on the key areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and leaders of 19 existing schools received their charters from state education officials at the state's annual charter granting ceremony on Thursday.

Secretary of Education Paul Reville and Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester presented a new charter to the founders of the Spirit of Knowledge Charter School in Worcester. Spirit of Knowledge was the only school chartered during the 2009-2010 application cycle by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Among the 19 operational schools to receive renewed charters was Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, the site of Thursday's ceremony.

"I am excited to present Spirit of Knowledge with its charter and to renew charters for 19 existing schools," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "In Massachusetts, we have set a very high bar for charter schools and hold them strictly accountable for their performance. I have high expectations that Spirit of Knowledge, like the 19 schools receiving renewed charters today, will create a dynamic learning environment where all students can succeed."

"These charter schools celebrated today have made an impact on the lives of students and I'm happy to celebrate with them," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "We remain committed as a Commonwealth to ensuring high quality charter schools have the opportunity to reach students in the spirit of innovation and autonomy and our shared mission of excellence for all."

The Spirit of Knowledge Charter School (SOKS) will open in Worcester in fall 2010, and will enroll a maximum of 275 students in grades 7-12. The school will be based on high-standards academic learning, subject-specific, multi-year courses that span grades 7-12, and a focus on intensive math, science and technology.

The 19 schools that received renewed charters on Thursday are:

  • Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough (grades 6-11)
  • Atlantis Charter School in Fall River (grades K-8)
  • Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School in Franklin (grades K-8)
  • Boston Renaissance Charter Public School in Boston (grades K-6)
  • Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Orleans (grades 6-8)
  • City on a Hill Charter Public School in Roxbury (grades 9-12)
  • Community Charter School of Cambridge in Cambridge (grades 7-12)
  • Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence (grades K-8)
  • Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens (grades 7-12)
  • Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School in Haydenville (grades K-8)
  • Holyoke Community Charter School in Holyoke (grades K-8)
  • Lawrence Family Development Charter School in Lawrence (grades K-8)
  • Lowell Community Charter Public School in Lowell (grades K-8)
  • Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School in Lowell (grades 9-12)
  • Marblehead Community Charter Public School in Marblehead (grades 4-8)
  • MATCH Charter Public School in Boston (grades 6-12)
  • Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester (grades PK-8)
  • SABIS International Charter School in Springfield (grades K-12)
  • South Shore Charter Public School in Norwell (grades K-12)

Created in 1995, charter schools are public schools whose goals are to increase student achievement, provide parents with more educational choices and develop and share best practices. Charter schools are governed by boards of trustees and operate independently of any school committee under a five-year charter granted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Under state law, charter schools undergo an ongoing review, and every five years are evaluated to determine if the school's charter should be renewed. Renewal is based on a school's faithfulness to its charter, its academic success and whether it remains a viable organization.

According to state law, not more than 120 charter schools (72 Commonwealth and 48 Horace Mann) may operate in the Commonwealth at any one time. During the 2007-08 school year, 61 charter schools were operational (54 Commonwealth and 7 Horace Mann). In January 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law a new education reform package that instituted for the lowest 10 percent performing districts a "smart cap" increase of the state's net school spending cap from 9 percent to 18 percent. The new law also removes the statewide cap of 4 percent relative to the total charter school population as a percentage of the general population, and allows for the creation of up to 14 Horace Mann charter schools and unlimited conversions to Horace Mann charter schools that require school committee approval.

For more information on charter schools, visit

Last Updated: May 6, 2010
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