Charter school gets good news
The state board of education (BOE) unanimously approved a five-year charter renewal for the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) at a meeting in Malden last week. Bob Moore, school principal, made the trip to witness the special occasion.
"We've done a lot, we've come a long way, and we've got a long way to go," Mr. Moore said. "We're pleased that we can continue to be a public school option for Island families."
MVPCS opened in West Tisbury in 1996 and was granted a five-year charter in 2001. The school applied last August to renew its charter for the years 2006 to 2011.
In October, a Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) Charter School Office inspection team conducted a three-day on-site review, with 20 classroom observations and 30 staff member interviews. They also talked to school leaders, the Board of Trustees, parents, and students.
The team released a 42-page report in January giving the charter school high marks. In addition to their report, David Driscoll, state commissioner of education, reviewed all of the charter school's documentation and data from the last five years and made his recommendation to renew the charter to the BOE.
Both Mr. Moore and Sam Berlow, president of the charter school board of trustees, said the charter renewal process proved valuable.
"It gives us a report of what we're doing well, what we're doing satisfactorily, and what we're not doing well. We can revise our strategic plan to continue things we do well and improve in the other areas. It's a great tool to focus us on what's important," Mr. Berlow said.
A charter school in Massachusetts is a public school managed by a board of trustees and operates independently of any school committee under a five-year charter granted by the BOE.
The state capped MVPCS enrollment this year at 9 percent of each Island school district's budget for state education Chapter 70 funds.
The number of students allowed to attend the charter school from each town differs, depending on the town's educational cost per student. Now in its tenth year, MVPCS enrolls 159 students Island-wide from kindergarten through grade 12.