SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – This could be welcome news for nearly 4,000 children and their parents who are right now on the waiting list to enroll in existing Springfield charter schools.
The Springfield School Committee took the first steps tonight toward opening and operating an in-district charter school. The Committee met to discuss the possibility of opening a new charter school in Springfield.
Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Dan Warwick wants to open an in-district charter school that could help Springfield’s 6th, 7th and 8th grade students improve their reading, writing and math skills. Warwick hopes to partner with Unlocking Potential Academy Charter School.
Superintendent Dan Warwick told 22News Unlocking Potential could bring the same kind of success its schools saw in the eastern part of the state to the City of Springfield. Unlocking Potential right now runs 5 tuition-free schools in Lawrence and in Boston.
“In real difficult urban schools, they’ve had tremendous success turning those schools around, so of great benefit to our kids,” Warwick said.
Monday night, Warwick and the Springfield School Committee held an informational meeting about Unlocking Potential.
If the Committee wants to move forward with the partnership, the Committee members would have to vote in favor of filing a charter application. Then ultimately earn the state Department of Education’s approval.
One Springfield grandparent, Sheila Shea, told 22News she would welcome opening a new school in Springfield. She said her granddaughter learns better in smaller classroom settings. “She went to summer school and she did awesome. She did great. I said see she needed that one on one. You know, instead of a big group she needed a small group.”
Alison Zukowski said, “It’ll be more helpful because it’s more options for more kids. They learn better in smaller settings. So I think it’ll be a good idea.”
The School Committee will meet again on October 23rd and decide if they want to move forward with the charter application.