For Immediate Release - February 17, 2011

Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner to Recommend 17 New Charter Schools Across the Commonwealth

MALDEN - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester today announced he will recommend that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education grant 17 new charters this month to groups seeking to open schools in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Salem and Springfield.

The Commissioner's recommendation includes 14 Commonwealth charter schools and three 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.

"I have every expectation that these 17 charter schools, if granted a charter by the Board later this month, are well positioned to succeed academically and become high performing organizations," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "This year's group of applicants was impressive in terms of the volume of interested parties; the quality of the proposals; and the potential to provide students with a strong academic program."

Commissioner Chester will recommend approval of Commonwealth charters for the following 14 schools:

  • Alma del Mar Charter School (New Bedford)
  • Bridge Boston Charter School (Boston)
  • Community Day Charter Public School - Riverside (Lawrence)
  • Community Day Charter Public School - South (Lawrence)
  • Dorchester Preparatory Charter School (Boston)
  • Edward W. Brooke Charter School 2 (Boston)
  • Edward W. Brooke Charter School 3 (Regional school serving Boston and Chelsea)
  • Excel Academy Charter School - Boston II (Boston)
  • Excel Academy Charter School - Chelsea (Chelsea)
  • Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School (Boston)
  • KIPP Academy Boston Charter School (Boston)
  • Lynn Preparatory Charter School (Lynn)
  • MATCH Community Day Charter Public School (Boston)
  • Veritas Preparatory Charter School (Springfield)

The Commissioner will also recommend approval of Horace Mann charters for the following three schools:

  • Boston Green Academy Horace Mann Charter School (Boston)
  • Salem Community Charter School (Salem)
  • UP Academy Charter School of Boston (Boston)

Under the new education reform law that Governor Patrick signed in January 2010, the cap on district net school spending for funding of charter schools was raised from 9 percent to a maximum of 18 percent through incremental steps (beginning with a move to 12 percent in 2011 followed by one percent annual increases reaching to 18). 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.

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 a period of 5 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.

A total of 42 charter school prospectuses were submitted during the 2010-11 cycle last August, representing the highest number received in a single year since 1997. Applicants for 25 of those 42 prospectuses were invited by the Department to submit final proposals for consideration in September 2010. A total of 23 final applications were submitted in November. Finalists were taken through a multi-step process that included public hearings in the areas where the schools would be located with at least two Board members present for each hearing, a panel review of the final application by a team of Department and external reviewers, a lengthy public comment process, and in-person interviews.

Founders of groups that were not recommended to be chartered by the Commissioner will receive feedback on their application and are invited to reapply during future application cycles.

The Board will vote on these recommendations at its February 28, 2011 regular meeting.


Commissioner's Recommendations for New Charter Schools

School

District or Region

Grades

Maximum Enrollment

Anticipated Opening

Commonwealth Charter Schools

Alma del Mar Charter School

New Bedford

K-8

360

September 2011

Bridge Boston Charter School

Boston

K1-8

335

September 2011

Community Day Charter Public School - Riverside

Lawrence

K1-8

400

September 2012

Community Day Charter Public School - South

Lawrence

K1-8

400

September 2012

Dorchester Preparatory Charter School

Boston

5-12

600

September 2012

Edward W. Brooke Charter School 2

Boston

K-8

475

September 2011

Edward W. Brooke Charter School 3

Regional school serving Boston and Chelsea

K-8

475

September 2012

Excel Academy Charter School - Boston II

Boston

5-12

448

September 2012

Excel Academy Charter School - Chelsea

Chelsea

5-8

224

September 2011

Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School

Boston

5-12

600

September 2011

KIPP Academy Boston Charter School

Boston

K-8

588

September 2012

Lynn Preparatory Charter School

Lynn

K-8

324

September 2011

MATCH Community Day Charter Public School

Boston

K1-12

700

September 2011

Veritas Preparatory Charter School

Springfield

5-8

324

September 2012

Horace Mann Charter Schools

Boston Green Academy Horace Mann Charter School

Boston

6-12

595

September 2011

Salem Community Charter School

Salem

9-12

125

September 2011

UP Academy Charter School of Boston

Boston

6-8

500

September 2011