Western Mass. did not fare well in the most recent round of charter-school approvals by the state: only one from the region—Springfield’s Veritas Prep—made the cut this time.
Earlier this week, the Mass. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that it was granting charters to 16 new schools around the state. The lengthy approval process began last summer, when 42 proposals were submitted. The state board whittled that number down to 25 in the fall, with the finalists invited to submit full applications.
Among the initial batch, six would been based in Springfield, and two others would have been open to students from the city. Of the final 16, the vast majority are in Boston. Veritas, the only local school to win approval, will eventually serve 324 kids in grades five to eight. While a school site has yet to be announced, organizers are focusing their search on the South End.
Veritas will not be a school for slackers; the school will operate from the assumption that if you expect that kids can succeed, they will. “We believe that long-term academic and life success begins with high expectations,” Rachel Romano, one of the school’s founders and its expected executive director, said in a press release announcing the charter approval. “We will set the academic and behavioral bar high for our students and provide them with a structured, safe, and supportive learning environment. …
“The sky is the limit for what our students can learn. It’s our job to ensure we get them there. We will develop our students’ foundation of content, skill, and character critical to their success, teach them to envision their future in college and beyond, and instill within them the drive to realize that vision.” (Click here for a look at the school’s full charter application.)
How confident are Veritas’ founders that their strategy will work? They refer to the fifth graders who will enter the school’s inaugural class in the fall of 2012 as “the class of 2024”—the year those kids will graduate from college.