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ERIC Number: ED565729
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Massachusetts Charter Public Schools: Best Practices in Curricular Innovation. White Paper No. 141
Candal, Cara Stillings
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
The ongoing push to raise or eliminate the charter school cap in Massachusetts provides an opportunity to reflect upon the purpose of charter schools. When the legislature created the Commonwealth's charter school law, as a part of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act (MERA), it clearly stated a main reason for these new schools was innovation. Charters were expected to provide new curricular and pedagogical options and even experiment with existing school structures, such as grade configurations and the length of the school day and year. This paper highlights two Massachusetts charter schools that offer curricular opportunities rarely available in other public schools in Massachusetts. Both of these schools enable students to achieve exceptional results in comparison to their peers in traditional district schools. The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (MVRCS) consistently ranks among the best schools in Massachusetts and the country. It offers two distinct but complementary curricula--the Core Knowledge Curriculum at the elementary and middle school levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum at the high school level. At the Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) in Marlborough, MA science and math are the "driving forces" behind much of the curricular content, but students are exposed to holistic and rigorous content in all subject areas. The curriculum is horizontally and vertically aligned and follows a logical, chronological sequence of content from grade to grade, enabling students to make intellectual connections not just within but also among and between content areas. In the current policy environment, understanding some of the important innovations that charter schools offer to students and families can productively inform the debate. The schools profiled in this white paper are providing high caliber educational opportunities and interesting curricular options to students and families in the communities that they serve.
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. 185 Devonshire Street, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 617-723-2277; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, Center for School Reform
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts