Springfield Prep in the News
Springfield Prep is Changing Lives, One Scholar at a Time - African American Point of View, 12/1/18
I am passionate about education. As readers of my column know, I strongly believe in the power of education to change lives. I’ve devoted many career and volunteer years to working on initiatives in Springfield to help kids develop a passion for reading and learning.
Recently, I joined the board of a public charter school, Springfield Prep. Founded in 2015 with a kindergarten and first grade, this year was the first the school received MCAS results, and they were very encouraging. Seven out of 10 students met or exceeded the state’s expectations in ELA and nearly 8 out of 10 did so in math. Economically disadvantaged students, which make up 70% of our school’s population, thrived, as did Black and Latino students.
I wanted to dig deeper to find out why. There is obviously something positive happening at Springfield Prep that can’t be easily dismissed by saying that the students served are “different”. If that were the case, as the typical critique goes, why would student performance at this school far exceed the stage average for all students and results in some of the most affluent districts in the state? As a board member, my role is to provide oversight of the school and ensure that we meet our charter promises but I wanted to dig deeper and find out what, specifically, our school was doing and what takeaways I could share. I spent some time observing Springfield Prep classrooms and spoke with its teachers and leaders.
Springfield Prep Outpaces Longmeadow on MCAS - The Longmeadow News, 11/6/18
This spring, third graders across the state sat down to take the same MCAS test under the same test conditions. This included students from well-off suburbs and school districts in rural and urban areas with high levels of poverty. Third grade students from the three year-old Springfield Prep charter school and students from Longmeadow took the test on equal terms, and Springfield Prep’s students performed better in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. The results are a testament to what is possible when schools aim high and decide that failure is not an option.
The very existence of Springfield Prep and the MCAS test can be traced to the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act. It was landmark legislation that paved the way for some 82 charter schools that now serve over 40,000 students with over 30,000 on wait lists seeking to get into those oversubscribed schools. Massachusetts charter schools are subject to strict oversight by the state, and the number of charter schools are strictly limited by law, such that just over four percent of students are served by charters.
#14 Springfield Preparatory Charter School
The first class of third grade students at the Western Massachusetts charter school scored high on the state exam. Of the 53 students, 41 (77 percent) met or exceeded expectations in mathematics. 38 students (72 percent) met or exceeded expectations in English language arts.