Pioneer Charter School of Science Receives Commissioner's Recommendation For New School in Saugus; Commissioner Did Not Recommend Second Application for Woburn
The Pioneer Charter School of Science (PCSS) in Everett today received a favorable recommendation from the state Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary
Education (DESE) to open a new charter public school in Saugus that would serve children in Saugus, Salem, Peabody, Danvers, and Lynn. The full Board of
Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will vote on final approval Feb. 26.
“We are excited to be able expand our highly successful science and math-based educational model to more families in communities North of Boston,” said Barish Icin, Executive Director of PCSS. “PCSS sets high
expectations for its students and provides them with a school culture, an academic program and extra supports to help them achieve at high levels. We
believe that our students can match those who come from more affluent communities and our track record shows we have been successful.”
The new school would serve 360 students in Grades 7-12.
“We are disappointed that the Commissioner did not recommend our second application to bring our model to families in Woburn, Stoneham, Medford,
Melrose, Wakefield and Saugus,” Icin added.
PCSS provides a rigorous academic curriculum emphasizing math, science and analytical thinking skills balanced by a strong foundation in the humanities in order to prepare students for success in college and in their
careers. The school offers extended days/hours and career oriented college preparation, and features strong student-teacher-parent collaboration.
PCSS students must pass five math and five science classes in order to graduate, more than state standards. Students must also complete 40 hours of community
service and a senior project. The school has a 200-day school calendar, extended days (7:30 a.m. - 3:35 p.m.), tutoring until 4:30, homework makeup
until 5:30 and “voluntary” Saturday classes for students who need extra help. Many of the students come to PCSS with subpar MCAS scores and thrive in this
environment. In addition, the school employs
data-informed decision making assessing student performance eight times throughout the school year in all core subjects to identify and address weaknesses in academic performance.
In order to help students balance their coursework with
extracurricular activities the school offers many different clubs, events, activities and sports. All-school activities include a science fair with judges from the community and local colleges such as Harvard and Boston University.
PCSS graduated its first class last summer; thirty-four seniors received more than $3.2 million in scholarships and will attend top schools such as Columbia,
Brandeis University Boston College. This year’s graduating class is following in their footsteps – already being accepted to colleges like MIT. Three-quarters of the graduates qualified for the state’s John & Abigail
Adams scholarship program, which is based on high MCAS scores.
PCSS first opened in 2007 and was renewed by the state last year receiving high marks for its academic program. Charters must be renewed every five years by the state.
MCAS scores have consistently shown PCSS students surpassing both state and district averages in all subjects and grades. The difference between the sending
districts’ averages and PCSS averages are in the double digits for every category. On the 2012 MCAS, PCSS eighth graders scored 98 percent proficient or higher in English MCAS and had the 7th highest score among all
districts in the state. Similarly in terms of student growth, PCSS eighth graders had the highest student growth numbers in English and the 11th highest growth results in mathematics. PCSS tenth graders continued their
tradition of being at the top in terms of student growth and had the 2nd highest student growth results in mathematics. Boston Magazine ranked PCSS as the fourth best charter school under their “top of the class” category.
Charter public schools are open to all children and admission is by random lottery. They are overseen by the state education department and must
adhere to strict standards of academic achievement and financial management. They are funded by reallocating funds to charters when districts lose students.
Although districts are no longer educating these students, they are still paid for them by the state for six years after the students transfer to charters under a reimbursement program. Districts receive all their state education
funding the first year they lose students and 25% for each of the next five years. This reimbursement helps cushion the financial impact of the lost students.
For more information about PCSS, log onto http://www.pioneercss.org.