Letter to CoaH Boston Families – March 26, 2020

Dear CoaH Boston Families:

I am writing to follow-up on my letter from February 19 where I described the charter renewal process and notified the City on a Hill Boston Community that the Commissioner of Education recommended to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that City on a Hill Circuit Street (CoaH CS) be renewed and placed on probation with conditions. 

At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s meeting on February 25, the Board voted to accept the Commissioner’s recommendation of renewal on probation with conditions for the CoaH CS charter. These conditions include:

  • Condition 1: Until further notice, the school must submit to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), at charterschools@doe.mass.edu or 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148, board meeting agendas, materials, and minutes prior to each board meeting at the same time that these items are sent to the school’s board members. These monthly materials must include financial statements to be presented to the board. These monthly financial reports must reflect all considerations in revenue and expenditures, including lines of credit, debt obligations, and fundraising.
  • Condition 2: By March 31, 2020, the school must submit evidence to the Department that it has provided the school community with notice of the school’s renewal and that the school’s charter has been placed on probation with conditions that the school must meet. The school must inform parents/guardians, teachers, staff, board members, students, and other community members of the school’s current status.
  • Condition 3: By April 15, 2020, the school must establish an escrow account to pay for any potential closing, legal, and audit expenses associated with closure, should that occur.
  • Condition 4: Until further notice, the school will provide weekly updates to the Department of the total number of students in attendance, and the total number of students on the waitlist, by close of business on Friday of each week. The school must maintain student enrollment levels adequate to provide a strong academic program and financial and organizational viability, as determined by the Department.
  • Condition 5: By June 30, 2020 the school must submit to the Department for approval a comprehensive action plan for improving academic performance, school climate, staff culture, and faithfulness to its charter. The action plan must specify the evidence-based strategies the school will use to improve performance in mathematics, English language arts, and science for all student subgroups. The plan should also include strategies to provide a program that is faithful to the school’s mission and key design elements and to improve school climate, including student discipline practices and staff culture. The action plan must set clear and specific implementation benchmarks, with a clear timetable and deadlines for completion of key tasks, sufficient to allow the school’s board of trustees and the Department to monitor implementation. The school must provide evidence that it has shared its action plan with the school’s community including, but not limited to, students, parents/guardians, and staff. 
  • Condition 6: By July 31, 2020, the board of trustees must engage a consultant and participate in training about proper governance roles and responsibilities, including obligations related to the Open Meeting Law. The board must develop an action plan and schedule for adequate oversight of the school according to the Charter School Performance Criteria, Criterion 9: Governance.
  • Condition 7: By December 31, 2022, the school must demonstrate that it is an academic success by providing evidence that the school has exhibited significant and sustained academic improvement in mathematics, English language arts, and science on the statewide assessment.
  • Condition 8: Enrollment at the City on a Hill Charter Public School is limited to 350 students. When the Commissioner determines that the school has met the conditions imposed on its charter, including the conditions for academic success, enrollment may increase to a maximum of 400 students. Should the school fail to increase student enrollment in accordance with a growth plan approved by the Commissioner or report fewer than 350 students enrolled at the school on October 1, 2024, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education may reduce the school’s maximum enrollment below 400 accordingly.

Additionally, the Board also voted to accept the Commissioner’s recommendation to approve the application to consolidate the City on a Hill Circuit Street and City on a Hill Dudley Square charters effective July 1, 2020. Following this date, we will operate as a single City on a Hill school from our flagship location on Circuit Street.

As a school, we have begun our work to meet and surpass these conditions, though steps such as this letter and getting in contact with consultants and thought partners. We look forward to collaborating with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, our students, teachers, support staff, and the greater community to become a stronger City on a Hill.

I am always available to speak. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Best,

Kevin T. Taylor

Chief Executive Officer


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