October 3rd State Board Meeting Recap
Today, the Connecticut State Board of Education (SBE) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The agenda included consideration of two new charter school applications, from Danbury Prospect Charter School and Norwalk Charter School for Excellence. Both schools were approved.
The meeting also included the renewal of the Connecticut Relay Graduate School of Education Alternate Route to Certification program. The full resolutions of these action items can be found here.
New School Applications
This meeting marked the first time in four and a half years that the Board considered new charter school proposals and the first round of new school applications since the Connecticut charter law was changed in 2015 to revise the Board’s authority so that it can grant “initial certificates of approval.” The two new charter school applications under consideration were Danbury Prospect Charter School and Norwalk Charter School for Excellence.
We are pleased to report that the Board voted in favor of approving both schools for their initial certificates! Each school application was approved by a vote of 7-1. Allan Taylor, Estella Lopez, Erik Clemons, Donald Harris, Terry Jones, Malia Sieve, and Joseph Vrabley all voted in favor. Erin Benham was the only vote opposed.
Danbury Prospect Charter School will be Danbury’ first public charter school, serving grades 6-12, and plans to implement the prestigious International Baccalaureate curriculum. Danbury Prospect is modeled after Brooklyn Prospect, which operates four charter schools in New York.
The Board approved the Commissioner’s recommendation for Danbury Prospect to be granted an initial certificate of approval for three years. Danbury Prospect has an initial five year grade growth plan of reaching a 550 student capacity by grade 10 (adding 110 students per year).
Norwalk Charter School for Excellence is a part of the Excellence Community Schools network, which includes both Stamford Excellence and the National Blue Ribbon-designated Bronx Excellence. The school offers a differentiated, project-based learning environment that seeks to develop high-level analytical and critical thinking skills in all of their scholars.
The Board approved the Commissioner’s recommendation for Norwalk Excellence to be granted an initial certificate of approval for three years. Norwalk Excellence plans to start with three grades (PK-1); their five year grade growth plan will see them grow to serve 392 students. Norwalk Excellence will be the second charter school serving the Norwalk community.
Relay Graduate School of Education Program Renewal
The SBE also voted to approve a three-year extension of the Relay Graduate School of Education’s Alternate Route to Certification program. The Relay Graduate School of Education (Relay/GSE), a New York-based national institution of higher education, was granted approval through the SBE in November 2016 to offer an alternate route to certification program.
The Relay program has committed to recruit candidates of color for Connecticut schools. Program candidates, who must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, receive job-embedded training and gradually build pedagogical knowledge and skills as a full-time teacher-in-residence supporting a lead classroom teacher.
For the current 2017-2018 cohort, CT Relay has expanded partner districts to sixteen (from six in 2016-2017), and doubled the number of non-charter partnerships (from four to eight)- including East Haven Public Schools, Hartford Public Schools, New Britain Public Schools and Middletown Public Schools. During the 2018-19 school year, the program plans to add at least two additional traditional public school districts to its network.
As always, stay tuned for additional updates and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions. Congratulations again to both Danbury Prospect and Norwalk Excellence on receiving their initial certificates; we look forward to working with both schools as the process continues.