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Somerville charter school group tries again

Posted by Marcia Dick  July 27, 2012 08:36 AM

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Rejected by the state last year, a group of parents and educators in Somerville has reapplied to establish a new charter school in the city.

The 135-page prospectus, submitted by supporters of the Somerville Progressive Charter School, was among 22 submitted to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for review.

Selena Fitanides, a founding member of the Somerville charter group, said her supporters have taken into account criticism received from state officials during last year's process, and streamlined parts of the application that explains how the charter school will better serve students, especially those whose first language is Spanish.

"A lot of the wording throughout was simplified and clarified, but the mission remains the same," Fitanides said Thursday. "We tried to communicate it more clearly this time."

From the outset, the Somerville Progressive Charter School founders have focused on the English-language learners, who they say need personalized attention to bring their performance up to grade level. On the new prospectus, the curriculum and after-school language programs have been narrowed to include only Spanish, superfluous ideas have been removed, and the way data will be tracked has been simplified, Fitanides said.

The curriculum proposed bolsters the core subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The proposal also expands maximum expected enrollment by 95 students, to a total of 520, once the program matures to include kindergarten through eighth grade. 

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