July 27, 2012

SABIS submits charter school application in Brockton, Massachusetts

BROCKTON, Massachusetts (Enterprise News July 25, 2012) — An international for-profit company that runs 80 private and charter schools planned to file an application with the state today to open a charter school in Brockton in 2014.

SABIS Educational Systems Inc. tried to open a charter school in Brockton five years ago, but failed to gain approval from the state board of education. It was the first time the board had voted down a charter school recommended by the commissioner of education.

SABIS submitted a letter to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education last month informing it of the company’s intention to file another application this year.

Preliminary applications to the state are due today, a deadline that Jose Afonso, director of U.S. business development for SABIS, said he is “99 percent certain” the company will meet.

This year’s proposal would be very similar to the one submitted in 2007, calling for a K-5 school to start with about 500 students.

Each year, the school would add another grade level until it reached 12th grade and an enrollment of over 1,000 students.

Faelton Perkins, the Brockton resident who led the charter effort in 2007, is again pushing the effort this year.

He said he wants to see public charter school options for Brockton residents and believes in the SABIS model, which features weekly testing to identify student weaknesses.

“There’s no sense that any one thing is going to change the world or change the city, because it isn’t. But with cooperation, we can make the city more livable and better for all of us,” Perkins said.

Afonso said the other SABIS schools in the state – one each in Springfield and Holyoke – have done well in closing the achievement gap between minority students and white students, which he credits in part to the frequent testing.

“By giving us the ability to pinpoint weaknesses as they’re developing, it allows us to react to them in real time before a students gets stuck, unmotivated and frustrated,” he said.

Afonso said they will learn in November whether the proposal made it to the final application round, which will be decided by the education board in February.

Erik Potter may be reached at epotter@enterprisenews.com.

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