Department of Education Approves 9 Charter Schools to Open in September
New “Performance Frameworks” Will Help Department Continue Improvement of Oversight and Accountability for Charter Schools
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Barbara Morgan
|Date: July 16, 2012||609-292-1126|
Trenton, NJ – Demonstrating the Christie Administration’s strong support for increasing the number of high-quality school options for New Jersey students, the Department today approved 9 charter schools to open in September, bringing the total number of charter schools in New Jersey to 86. In addition, the Department continues to improve oversight and accountability for charter schools by instituting new Performance Frameworks that will set clear expectations for charter school performance and will serve as the basis for school evaluation, monitoring, and intervention.
“We are deeply committed to ensuring that every student in New Jersey has access to a high-quality public school option that is a good fit for them, no matter whether that is a district, charter, magnet, or vocational school,” said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf. “We are confident that the charter schools we approved today will provide great options for the children of New Jersey.”
As part of the annual charter authorizing process, the Department of Education conducts a “preparedness review” to evaluate whether a charter applicant approved in a previous round has the academic and operational capacity in place to offer a strong educational program. Applicants are required to submit documentation of compliance with state regulations to the Department—this year by June 30—and department staff conduct a site visit of the school facility. The Commissioner and Department staff then review this information to determine which applicants will receive their final charter to open their doors in September.
“We must hold a high bar for any school that serves New Jersey students, and we are confident that these schools have the academic and operational components in place to provide a high-quality choice on day one,” said Acting Commissioner Cerf.
The Performance Framework for all new charter schools announced today will set clear expectations for schools and will evaluate them in three areas: whether the school is an academic success; whether the school is financially viable; and whether the school is equitable and organizationally sound. The Department will introduce a Performance Framework for all existing charter schools by the end of the summer.
This Framework will help to define charter school success and create a comprehensive and systemic review process for all charter schools. Schools will be assessed in a number of areas, such as how the school compares to similar “peer” schools; progress of individual subgroups of students and the school as a whole over time; whether the school is financially healthy and sustainable; whether the school has equitable admissions and enrollment practices to serve all students; and whether the school offers a safe and structured learning environment.
Through a partnership with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) over the past two years, the Department has increased its oversight and accountability for charter schools. During that time the Department has opened 18 new schools, closed 5 schools for poor academic performance or organizational and fiscal issues, and put another 13 schools on probation.
“According to data over the past several years, charter schools on average across the state are outperforming other district options for students in high-need communities. However, we must also be honest that just as some district schools are failing students, some charter schools in New Jersey are also not performing at the level their students deserve,” said Acting Commissioner Cerf. “Charter schools are granted autonomy in exchange for accountability, and we at the state level will continue to hold all charter schools accountable for results to ensure that they offer all students a high-quality education and an equality of opportunity.”
The new Performance Framework can be found here: http://www.nj.gov/education/chartsch/PerformanceFramework.pdf
In addition to the 9 schools that are opening, another 13 schools were granted a planning year during which those schools will continue to develop the academic and operational components of the school, which are crucial to ensuring that it will be successful when it opens the following year. Another 10 schools were not granted a planning year and will not receive a final charter because they failed to demonstrate sufficient progress towards readiness.
The list of schools and their final status is as follows:
|Charter Schools Granted Final Approval|
|City Invincible Charter School||Camden|
|Knowledge A to Z Charter School||Camden|
|Thomas Edison Energy Charter School||Franklin Township (Including Somerset), North Brunswick, South Brunswick|
|Beloved Charter School||Jersey City|
|Merit Preparatory of Newark Charter School||Newark|
|Paulo Freire Charter School||Newark|
|100 Legacy||Newark, Irvington|
|Charter Schools Granted a Planning Year|
|Atlantic City Community Charter School||Atlantic City|
|Charter School for Global Leadership||Camden|
|Camden Community Charter School||Camden|
|Hope Community Charter School||Camden City|
|Excellence Charter School||Camden City|
|New Jersey Virtual Charter School||Camden, Perth Amboy, Neptune, Paterson|
|Arete Charter School||East Orange, Orange|
|Jersey City Global Charter School||Jersey City|
|Forest Hill Charter School||Newark|
|NJ Virtual Academy Charter School||Newark|
|Trenton Scholars Charter School||Trenton|
|Merit Prepartory of Trenton Charter School||Trenton City|
|Compass Academy Charter School||Vineland|
|Charter Schools Denied Final Approval|
|Regis Academy Charter School||Cherry Hill|
|DREAM Prep Academy||Jersey City|
|Promise CS for Excellence||Linden, Elizabeth, Roselle|
|Lillie Mae Jenkins Charter School||Newark|
|New Day Charter HS||Newark|
|Bright Horizons||Penns Grove, Carney's Point|
|Princeton International Academy Charter School||South Brunswick, Princeton Regional, West Windsor-Plainsboro|
|Shalom Academy Charter School||Teaneck|
|Willingboro Academy Charter School||Willingboro|