May 31, 2014

Video: SABIS charter schools in Massachusetts

International Academy of Trenton hires Dr. Anthony Degatano as School Leader

Dr. Anthony Degatano

Trenton, NJ — SABIS® Educational Systems, Inc. recently selected Dr. Anthony Degatano as the founding school director (principal) of the International Academy of Trenton Charter School. Dr. Degatano’s selection as director was unanimously ratified by the school’s board of trustees. The International Academy will open in fall 2014 with 354 students in grades K-3 and will add a grade level each year until becoming a full K-12 school. The International Academy will be the newest member of the SABIS® School Network, which spans 6 states in the U.S. and an additional 14 countries.

Dr. Degatano’s experience ranges from classroom teacher to administrator, roles in which he readily accepted and met the challenges of educating a diverse population. His first administrative position in Elizabeth included the supervision of all math and language arts teachers servicing 18 schools. Following this, he became the Director of the Union County Educational Services Commission, where he operated various programs for 21 school districts.

Dr. Degatano’s next challenge was a move to the private sector, where he was the principal of an alternative high school and the Executive Director of Independent Child Study Teams and Educational In-Roads. The next opportunity was that of Vice President for Sylvan Learning and Catapult Learning. In this last role, he was responsible for a $44,000,000 budget of educational programs and supervised 1,200 employees in 200 schools throughout NJ. Over the last eight years, Degatano has served as an adjunct professor for the School of Education at Drexel University.

Born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, Dr. Degatano holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Rider University, a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Kean University, and has completed a Doctoral program in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy through Pepperdine University.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Degatano has joined our leadership team at the International Academy of Trenton,” said George Saad, Vice President of Operations for SABIS®. “His varied experiences within education and beyond will help our students remain focused on success and the achievement of the rigorous college-prep mission of the SABIS® program." He continued, “Dr. Degatano will be leading the newest member of the SABIS® School Network, which traces its educational program origins to 1886. He shares our belief in high expectations, no excuses, and the belief all students, including those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, can be prepared for success in college.”

While the school’s permanent facility is built, the International Academy will be located at 720 Bellevue Street in Trenton (at the former Blessed Sacrament School).

Enrollment for the International Academy is underway; interested parents can apply online at or call 609-759-2005.

May 30, 2014

SABIS International Charter School's Seniors Receive Gift from Dwarska Family

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Last November, a promising future was cut short when 17-year-old Allison Dwarska was killed in a Springfield car crash.

The Sabis International Charter School senior was looking forward to graduation and college. Now, as her classmates prepare for the next chapter in their lives, they’ll be taking a little piece of Allison with them.

“She could take a bad situation and just turn it into a fabulous one, turn it into a positive one,” say Allison’s parents Donna and Donnie Dwarska.

When Allison was killed in the crash near Springfield’s Blunt Park, her family received tremendous support from the community — so much, they were able to establish a scholarship fund in Allison’s honor.

Today, all 105 of her classmates became the recipients of that generosity.

“We wanted to have something for the kids to take to college with them — to take a piece of Allison,” says Donna.

At a scholarship ceremony Friday morning, every member of Allison’s senior class took home a few of her favorite things. Seven students also received tablets, and another 13 received something that was at the top of Allison’s college wish list.

“Allison also wanted us to buy her a MacBook Pro computer to take to college, so I just thought, or we thought, it was fitting that some of the recipients got the MacBook Pros, this way Allison will go off to college with a lot of her friends,” says Donna. “She’ll be in their hearts.”

The gifts are a small piece of positivity from the girl who could find good in even the worst of circumstances.

“I don’t think there was a person in here that didn’t like her,” says Donnie. “No matter how bad your days was, just talking to her, she would put you on the up-rise, just like that.”

“Allison always was the kind of girl that did the right thing, so I just want them to do the right thing, just live life to the fullest and reach for the stars,” adds Donna.

The Dwarska family plans to donate scholarships to graduating Sabis seniors in Allison’s honor for years to come. (Read the full ABC40 story here.)

Massachusetts State Senator Don Humason visits SABIS charter school in Holyoke

Holyoke, MA (May 29): Massachusetts State Senator Don Humason visited the Holyoke Community Charter School, a member of the SABIS Schools Network, which opened in fall 2005 and currently serves 702 students in grades K-8.  Senator Humason toured the school facility and then met with students, staff and parents in the indoor "garden room" where he heard a plea for the senator to support upcoming legislation that would raise the cap on the number of students who can attend charter schools. 

Holyoke Community's parents and students are seeking to create a high school, but the current cap leaves less than 100 remaining seats available for Holyoke's resident students to attend charter schools.  Currently, the vast majority of the school's graduating 8th graders attend the local Holyoke High School, where they are often placed in advanced classes.  During the visit, Senator Humason heard from 8th graders who expressed love for their school and preference to remain there through high school.  He also heard parents speak about the school's college-prep mission and caring and welcoming environment.  The school's director, Dr. Sonia Pope, handed Senator Humason a binder containing hundreds or support letters and petition signatures from parents and supporters of raising the state's charter school enrollment cap.

Senator Humason represents Agawam, Southwick, Granville, Tolland, Russell, Montgomery, Southampton, Easthampton, Chicopee (7, 8A, 9A), Westfield, and Holyoke in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District of the Massachusetts State Senate.   Prior becoming a senator, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 4th Hampden District from 2003 to 2013.

May 12, 2014

SABIS private school in Minnesota ranked among America’s "Most Challenging Schools"

The International School of Minnesota (ISM), a member of the global SABIS® School Network, recently ranked 2nd in Minnesota on The Washington Post’s list of “America’s Most Challenging Schools.”

The Challenge Index identifies the schools that are working the hardest at challenging average students with advanced courses and have placed an obvious focus on academic success for all students. All qualifying schools are included on the list, which has grown considerably in the last year. To determine qualification for the list, The Washington Post uses a formula which divides the total number of Advanced Placement® (AP®), International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school by the number of seniors who graduate in May or June of that academic year.

This is the second consecutive year that ISM has been included among America’s most challenging schools. In fact this year, no other private school in Minnesota was included on the list.

“ISM students consistently perform outstandingly on external exams. This is a great testimony to the strength of the SABIS® Educational System, which helps students achieve their full potential and empowers students to take an active role in their education,” stated Ms. Christi Seiple-Cole, ISM School Director.

ISM results speak for themselves:

  • ISM students take an average of 7 AP® courses before they graduate
  • In 2013, 85% of ISM students taking AP® courses scored a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP® exams
  • ISM students scored 27% higher than the national average on AP® exams in 2013
  • 100% of ISM graduates attend a 4-year college or university
To be able to bring its high-quality education to a broader audience, ISM has added a new, state-of-the-art residential student facility to its campus. Students in grades 9 to 12 are eligible for the boarding program at the school. For more information about the boarding program at ISM, click here or call +1-952-918-1840.

To view The Washington Post Challenge Index listing for ISM, click here.

May 5, 2014

US Charter School Waiting Lists Top 1 Million for the First Time

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announces today in a press release (below) that charter school waiting lists tops 1 million students.  Click here to read the waiting list report.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released new estimates that show the number of student names on public charter school waiting lists has reached 1,043,311, breaking one million student names for the first time.  

“Year after year, parent demand for charter schools continues to rise and this year is no exception,” said Nina Rees, National Alliance President and CEO. “As more families see the remarkable results charter schools are delivering, more are looking to enroll their children. Despite continued growth in the number of charter schools nationwide, we are failing to keep up with this high demand. If we want to meet the needs of students and families, policymakers, charter school leaders, and other stakeholders must come together and determine how we can help address this growing list of students waiting to attend a charter school.” 

This year’s estimate is 123,304 higher than last year’s estimate of 920,007 – a growth rate of 13 percent. Since the 2008-09 school year, the waiting list estimate has grown by 186 percent. State such as California and New York now have more than 150,000 student names on waiting lists.

This survey also includes an estimate of the number of individual students on waiting lists. The estimate shows that at a minimum, more than 580,000 total individual students – many of whom are on multiple charter school waitlists in the hopes of increasing the chance of getting into at least one – are on waiting lists across the country.

“It’s no surprise that parents are clamoring for the opportunity to send their children to a high-performing public charter school,” continued Rees. “Study and after study shows that public charter schools are beating the odds by helping our nation’s most disadvantaged students pursue their dreams. Because of charter schools, more students are graduating, attending college, and going on to earn higher incomes. We must end the waiting list so that every student who wants to has the opportunity to attend a high-quality charter school.”

To address the growing waiting list, the National Alliance supports increased funding for the Charter Schools Program, a federal program that provides start-up and expansion grants to charter schools. The federal Charter Schools Program is the only dedicated source of money devoted to funding the creation of new charter schools and to help proven charter schools expand or open new campuses. Right now, the Charter Schools Program is funded at $248 million—less than 1 percent of federal spending on k-12 education, even though 5 percent of all American children attend charter schools. The National Alliance has called for funding to be increased to $330 million.

May 2, 2014

A new report finds inequity in charter school funding continues to expand
A new report published in April 2014 by the School Choice Demonstration Project by the University of Arkansas's Department of Education Reform reveals continued inequality in funding for charter schools persists across the country.

The researchers "identified a funding gap of 28.4 percent, meaning that the average public charter school student in the U.S. is receiving $3,814 less in funding than the average traditional public school student. Since the average charter school enrolls 400 students, the average public charter school in the U.S. received $1,525,600 less in per-pupil funding in 2010-11 than it would have received if it had been a traditional public school. The gap is actually higher in focus areas within states where charter schools are more commonly found, such as major cities."

Here are some excerpts:
The revenue study is based on Fiscal Year 2010‒11 (FY11) data for each of 30 selected states plus the District of Columbia. Traditional school districts and public charter schools were analyzed and aggregated “statewide.”

Magnitude of Disparity: If, in aggregate, districts in the 30 states and D.C. received the same level of per pupil funding as charter schools in FY11, they would have received $110,860,725,324 less in total revenues.

The loss in revenues to a single charter school is enormous. For a charter school enrolling 400 students in FY11, the school received $1,525,600 (weighted) less on average than would have been the case if funding were equalized between district and charter schools.

In FY11 districts received $3,509 more per pupil than charter schools, a 54.5% increase since FY03 (inflation- adjusted). The funding gap has increased significantly since FY03 while charter enrollment has increased in every state and in Washington, D.C., in the same period. District enrollment has decreased in D.C. and in 16 of the 24 states included in this study since FY03 (Methods used for weighted calculations are found in the Appendix).

During the FY07 to FY11 period, total funding declined for districts in seven states, while total funding declined for charter schools in 14 states.

By FY11, charter schools nationwide lost $555 per pupil from the total funds received in FY07 ($9,419), while school districts gained $233 per pupil from their total FY07 funding ($11,389).

Click here to download and read the entire or state-by-state report.