Charters Awarded to 16 New Schools
10 Additional Schools Receive Renewed Charters
The 16 new charter schools represent the highest number of charters ever granted in a single year. The previous high was 15 set in the first-ever year of charter schools back in 1994. The new charter schools were made possible by Governor Deval Patrick's historic Achievement Gap Act of 2010 which included a "smart cap" lift on charter schools to double the spending in the communities with the greatest need to spread innovation, expand successful charters, and provide students and families with greater choice. The Governor's advocacy for the expansion of successful charter schools marked the first charter school cap lift in over a decade.
Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chair Maura Banta, and Education Secretary Paul Reville presented a new charter to the founders of the 13 Commonwealth Charter Schools and 3 Horace Mann Charter Schools approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its February 28, 2011 meeting.
"In Massachusetts, we expect strong performance from our charter schools. I was impressed with the high quality and large number of applications submitted this year," said Commissioner Chester. "I am eager to see these new charter schools expand the number of high quality options available to students."
"This past year's charter school review process reflected the hard work of the Department and its Charter School Office, and the commitment of Board members to think carefully and engage in thoughtful deliberations about each of these prospectuses," said Chair Banta. "I am excited to see these new charter schools open and fulfill their promise of delivering high quality instruction to students."
"Today is a proud day for Massachusetts as we welcome 16 new charter schools," said Secretary Reville. "The Board's historic vote of approval for these 16 new schools represents a major step forward for education reform in the Commonwealth and provides our students with greater opportunity to succeed."
Commonwealth charter schools 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.
In January 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap. That new education reform law raised the cap on district net school spending for funding of charter schools from 9 percent to a maximum of 18 percent through incremental steps (beginning with 12 percent in 2011). The cap will increase in subsequent years by 1 percent annually until the new cap of 18 percent is reached. In addition, the cap is only raised in districts in which academic performance is among the lowest 10 percent in the state according to MCAS results. The law also requires that charters awarded under this higher cap must go to groups with a proven track record of successful school performance.
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.
The 16 schools that received charters on Monday were:
Commonwealth Charter Schools:
- Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford (grades K-8)
- Bridge Boston Charter School in Boston (grades K1-8)
- Community Day Charter Public School - Riverside in Lawrence (grades K1-8)
- Community Day Charter Public School - South in Lawrence (grades K1-8)
- Dorchester Preparatory Charter School in Boston (grades 5-12)
- Edward W. Brooke Charter School 2 in Boston (grades K-8)
- Edward W. Brooke Charter School 3 in Boston/Chelsea (grades K-8)
- Excel Academy Charter School - Boston II in Boston (grades 5-12)
- Excel Academy Charter School - Chelsea in Chelsea (grades 5-8)
- Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School in Boston (grades 5-12)
- KIPP Academy Boston Charter School in Boston (grades K-8)
- MATCH Community Day Charter Public School in Boston (grades K1-12)
- Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield (grades 5-8)
Horace Mann Charter Schools:
- Boston Green Academy Horace Mann Charter School in Boston (grades 6-12)
- Salem Community Charter School in Salem (grades 9-12)
- UP Academy Charter School of Boston in Boston (grades 6-8)
In addition, the following 10 schools received renewed charters on Monday:
- Amesbury Academy Charter Public School in Amesbury (grades 9-12)
- Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School in Cambridge (grades K-6)
- Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston (grades 9-12)
- Innovation Academy Charter School in Tyngsboro (grades 5-12)
- Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School in West Tisbury (grades K-12)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence in Springfield (grades K-5)
- Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea (grades 9-12)
- Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley (grades 7-12)
- Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge (grades K-12)
- Seven Hills Charter Public School in Worcester (grades K-8)