Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Board of Ed meets next week

The Board of Ed meets next Monday night and Tuesday morning; you can find the agenda here. It is largely an agenda on state receivership and charter schools.

On Monday night, the Board will receive updates on both Holyoke and Southbridge, two of the three districts in state receivership (we don't seem to be getting updates on Lawrence anymore).  As yet, there's been no official announcement of a state receiver for Southbridge.

On Tuesday, the majority of the agenda is on charter schools. First, the Commissioner announced today that he is recommending that charters be granted for the Libertas Academy Charter School, which would serve 630 students in grades 6-12 in Springfield, and the New Heights Charter School of Brockton, which would serve 735 students in grades 6-12. Note that both schools are in what the state classifies as the lowest ten percent of districts, which is the only place that the first two charters any year may be granted.

The Brockton application has been turned down before, and the community has been outspoken in not wanting or needing such a school.

He is not recommending that charter be granted to the International Academy of Montachusett Charter School, which would have served the Fitchburg area, and the Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School, which would have served the Sturbridge area.

The Commissioner is also recommending expansion of existing charters to new grade levels:
  • The Pioneer Charter School of Science, which is in Everett and which serves a region that also includes Chelsea and Revere, hopes to add 420 new students and grades K-6 to its current 7-12 program of 360 students. The expanded school would serve up to 780 students in grades K-12.
  • The Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston hopes to add 428 new students and grades 9-12 to its current pre-K-8 program that serves 400 students. If approved, the expanded school would serve up to 828 students in grades pre-K-12.
  • The three Brooke charter schools in Boston – BCS Roslindale, BCS Mattapan and BCS East Boston – have requested consolidation into a single regional Brooke Charter School and the addition of 691 students and grades 9-12 to the three K-8 schools that are currently authorized to serve a combined 1,530 students. Each of the three K-8 campuses would remain open, and Brooke would add a single high school. If approved, Brooke Charter School would serve up to 2,221 students in grades K-12.
It appears that Brooke has already been hiring in anticipation of that expansion being approved. Note further that additional "free" seats were added to the Boston pool when the Board voted to close Dorchester Collegiate at their last meeting.

The Commissioner is recommending the extension of the probation but renewal of the charter of MLK Charter in Springfield. The Board is also receiving a recommendation on Boston Green Academy Horace Mann Charter School and on Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, but those are not posted as yet.
The Board also has a vote on the revised definition of College and Career Readiness (incorporating civic learning and engagement (see notes from last month's discussion with the Higher Ed Board here).
There's an update on the FY17 budget.
There's an update on student assessment.

I don't plan to go to the Monday evening portion, but I will be there and blogging on Tuesday morning. 

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