|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, June 5, 2002|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman, 781-338-3106 or |
Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105
Five New Schools Awarded Charters at State House Ceremony
BOSTON - Dreams for five new charter schools were realized on Wednesday when state education officials granted charters to the founders of five new schools and renewed the charter of an existing school at a Statehouse ceremony.
The five charters were approved by the Board of Education in February.
The charter school movement in Massachusetts has grown rapidly since the first 15 charters were granted in 1994. Today there are 42 existing schools serving more than 13,000 students, with an additional 11,000 others on waiting lists.
The five new charter schools are: Uphams Corner Charter School in Boston, Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield, Roxbury Charter High School for Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship in Boston, Smith Academy for Leadership Charter School in Boston and the South End College Preparatory Charter School in Boston.
The Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School in Boston received its second five-year charter.
Board of Education chairman James Peyser congratulated the school founders for their dedication and commitment to the new schools.
"What motivates these charter school founders is a fervent belief that they can create excellence for students," he said. "I applaud the charter school leaders we honor today for reaching this important milestone and for accepting the daunting challenge of starting a new school."
Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll agreed, and credited charter schools with playing a role in the clear rise in student achievement that has been evident over the past several years.
"Charter schools are a key piece of education reform in this state, and I am pleased to see them continue to grow," he said. "These schools expand educational innovation by providing public school choices for families and ideas that traditional public schools can use to ultimately benefit all of our students."
Of the five new schools, Uphams Corner Charter School will open in September, while the others will open in September, 2003.
In their initial proposals, the founders of each school outlined specific themes the schools would focus on, including:
Uphams Corner Charter School will enroll 200 students in grades five through eight. Their goal is to offer students an academically rigorous program that will lead to sound understanding, earnest reflection, self-discipline, integrity and action.
The Four Rivers Charter School will enroll up to 180 students in grades seven through 12. Their program will concentrate on three central themes ñ nature, technology and community, to educate the students for lives of learning and service.
The Roxbury Charter High School for Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship will enroll up to 400 students in grades 9 through 12. The school will provide students with the skills, knowledge and experiences they will need to succeed in college and in the world of work. School officials will also help students make informed and ethical decisions as citizens and teach them to take responsibility for their own economic independence and security.
The Smith Academy for Leadership Charter School will enroll 216 students in grades six through eight. The school's core values are personal excellence, intellectual curiosity, integrity, compassion, respect, and community citizenship. Their mission is to develop high-achieving students of good character who learn to use problem solving, communication and interpersonal skills.
The South End College Preparatory Charter School will enroll up to 500 students in grades K-8. The school plans to offer a rigorous curriculum and community outreach programs to provide students with the necessary academic, cultural, business and social support they need to be successful in spite of obstacles they may face.
At the same ceremony, education officials congratulated leaders of the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School, and granted the school its second five-year charter. The Board of Education voted to renew the school's charter after determining the school has been an academic success, that it has developed into a viable organization, and that it has remained faithful to the terms of its original charter.