Selected readings on US charter schools
Excellence was approved for grades K-12, with a top enrollment of 1,944 students. The state approved Link for grades 5-8 and an enrollment of 288. Both schools will be eligible to open in the fall, pending final charter approval by the Department of Education. That approval is expected in mid-July.
The two successful applicants were in a pool of six schools applying through an expedited process specifically for applicants with proven track records that are seeking to replicate existing programs or those that are converting from private school to charter. The four that were not approved are Affirmation Academy and Dream Academy in Newark, Bridgeton Public in Bridgeton and College Achieve Central in Plainfield.
Excellence is part of the Uncommon Schools network of 38 institutions serving nearly 10,000 students in Newark, Boston, New York City, Rochester and Troy, NY, according to its website.
Link Community Chart School is operating as an independent private school in Newark. Converting to a public charter school will allow it to grow, said Head of School Maria Pilar Paradiso.
Since 1969, Link has operated as an independent school for grades 7 and 8, serving Newark and the surrounding urban communities.
“Our plan is to grow the school fifth through eighth and our charter extends to Newark, East Orange, Orange and Irvington,” she said. “We want to continue to serve the neediest of families.”
The school did not charge its 137 students tuition this year, and historically charged low tuition, Paradiso said.
Link is only the second private school to convert to a charter. Newark’s Philip’s Academy Charter School, formerly St. Philip’s Academy, was approved for conversion in 2012.
“The number of high quality charter schools is one example of how we have been expanding public school options for families throughout New Jersey,” outgoing Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “However, it should be noted that our focus is on providing families in underserved communities with high quality charter schools that meet the accountability standards set in our approval process. We believe the schools approved today will provide students with excellent educational opportunities.”
The Christie administration has approved 50 charter schools, with 31 gaining final approval to open. During the same time, the governor has closed 10 charter schools because of poor academic performance or financial issues.
Currently, there are 87 charter schools operating in the state.
Source: NJ.com – by Peggy McGlone