For Immediate Release - October 26, 2011

Secretary Reville Visits Charter School in Everett to Highlight Educational Innovations and Gains in Closing Proficiency Gaps

Pioneer Charter School of Science named 2011 Commendation School for improvements in student proficiency

EVERETT - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville today visited the Pioneer Charter School of Science (PCSS) in Everett to congratulate students and staff for being selected as a 2011 Commendation School. During his visit, Secretary Reville recognized the school’s success in improving student achievement and highlighted innovations being utilized by the school that align with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s efforts to close achievement gaps.  

“I am extremely proud of the students and teachers at Pioneer Charter School who worked hard to achieve their Commendation School status,” said Secretary Reville. “This school’s commitment to academic rigor, career oriented college preparation, and strong student-teacher-parent collaboration can serve as a model to schools across the Commonwealth for educational excellence.”

PCSS is one of 127 Commendation Schools statewide recognized for their efforts and results in improving student achievement this year. The schools were all selected by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for progress in closing proficiency rates and helping all students achieve at higher levels.

8th grade students at PCSS tested above the state average in all three subject areas on the 2011 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam, with 97 percent of students scoring proficient or higher in English Language Arts (ELC) and 82 percent of students scoring proficient or higher in Math.

PCSS educates approximately 300 students in grades 7-12 and provides students with a knowledge base with an emphasis on math and science, analytical thinking skills, and guidance for higher education balanced by a strong foundation in the humanities. This goal is achieved by an academically rigorous curriculum, career oriented college preparation, and strong student-teacher-parent collaboration.

The school offers innovative teaching methodologies such as Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST) and College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) in compliance with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks so that students are fully prepared for college and other post-school opportunities; establishes programs that motivate students to become well rounded; designs after-school programs that specifically prepare a team of students for city, state, national and international level math and science competitions; and is working to develop a tracking model that allows parents to monitor student's daily educational performance.

Under the Achievement Gap Act signed by Governor Deval Patrick 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 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. Sixteen charter schools were approved last year after the cap was raised, bringing the total number of charter schools across the state to 79.

Information provided by the Executive Office of Education.