Marblehead charter school gets good news

MARBLEHEAD – The state had some good news for the staff and faculty of the Marblehead Community Charter Public School Tuesday.A six-member team from the state Department of Education, led by Charter School office Director Mary Street, visited the school for a day-long annual evaluation and read its preliminary findings at a brief public meeting Tuesday afternoon.Interim Managing Director Albert Argenziano and Interim Academic Director Nina Cullen-Hamzeh are hoping the state will include the school’s MCAS results in its report, to maximize the good news for a school that is working to survive a troubled year.Argenziano pointed out that MCAS scores will be made public Sept. 24, while the DOE evaluation report is being prepared, and "From what I’ve seen in the draft report (of the MCAS) we did pretty well.""It would be incredible for the staff and the community to see something positive," he said.The annual inspections by the DOE seek answers to three questions: is the school true to its charter, is the academic program successful and is the organization viable?The team met with board members, teachers, students, administrators and parents and gathered positive answers to the first two questions. The findings noted a strong school culture and climate, and noted the school’s commitment to a low student-teacher ratio.The bad news came in the state evaluation of the school’s viability, and it has been heard before. Team spokesperson Emily Lichtenstein reiterated the Sept. 6 words of Associate Commissioner of Education Jeff Wulfson, telling the school staff and several board members that they must regain the trust of the community for the school to remain viable."This year’s enrollment does not support the school’s budget," Lichtenstein said. She noted that the board needs to set a timeline for the hiring of a new permanent head of school.The state has also approved the steps the MCCPS took to correct 14 deficiencies noted in a February 2006 evaluation of its special education program. The school submitted its corrective action plan in April and the state issued its approval last week.The corrections included a plan to provide students with counseling services at the school through a guidance/counseling department, instead of using the Marblehead Counseling Center.

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