Math and Science-focused curriculum putting children from Everett on the path to college
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) today approved the renewal of the charter for the Pioneer Charter School of Science (PCSS) in Everett, ensuring the school can remain open for another five years.
PCSS will continue to provide students from Everett, Chelsea, Revere, Saugus and other towns North of Boston, with a rigorous academic curriculum emphasizing math, science and analytical thinking skills balanced by a strong foundation in the humanities in order to prepare students for success in college and in their careers. As a charter public school, PCSS must get approval every five years, and the BESE bases its decision on numerous factors, including academic achievement. The 7-12th Grade Charter School has a unique approach to learning and structure. The school offers students not only extended days/hours but career oriented college preparation, and strong student-teacher-parent collaboration. It has had a very successful track record over the last few years.
“We appreciate the faith that Commissioner Mitchell Chester and the Board of Education have placed in us to provide a high quality educational option for families North of Boston,” said Barish Icin, Executive Director of PCSS. “This renewal reflects the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff – and most of all our students and their families.”
In the school’s first five years, it experienced tremendous growth and success. MCAS scores have consistently shown PCSS students surpassing both state and district averages in all subjects and grades.
“We are extremely proud that PCSS has become one of the highest performing public schools not only in the Greater Boston area but in the entire state,” Icin said.
Both the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s review team and Commissioner Chester commended PCSS for establishing “an academically successful program,” and adhering to the terms of its charter.
The school’s most recent MCAS performance highlights its academic success. PCSS:
• Placed in the Top 25% of schools statewide based on percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in English in Grades 7 (89%), 8 (97%) and 10 (96%) and in math in Grades 7 (68%), 8 (82%) and 10 (96%)
• 26% more students scored proficient or advanced in English and 37% in math compared to sending district averages (across all grades)
• 41% more low-income students scored proficient or advanced in English and 37% in math compared to low-income students in sending district schools (across all grades)
• Achieved “High Growth” status for Grades 8 and 10 in English and Grades 7, 8 and 10 in math based on the state’s “Growth Model” which measures student academic progress
• Achieved the highest Growth Model score in the state for Grade 8 math
• Was named a “commendation school” by the state for narrowing achievement gaps among low-income and minority students.
PCSS’s success is rooted in its school structure. The school has a 200-day school calendar, extended days (7:30 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.), tutoring until 4:30, homework detention until 5:30 and “voluntary” Saturday classes for students who need extra help. Many of the students excel in this environment. Approximately 25 % of students participate in the Saturday classes on a voluntary basis. In addition, the school employs data-informed decision making assessing student performance eight times throughout the school year in all core subjects to identify and address weaknesses in academic performance.
In order to help students balance their coursework with extracurricular activities the school offers many different clubs, events, activities and sports. All-school activities include a science fair with judges from the community and local colleges such as MIT and Boston College. The school also holds a MAD science day in which the teachers help set up science experiments and invite the students to participate.
The curriculum itself is unlike any other school. The students must pass 5 math and 5 science classes in order to graduate. They also have available to them college readiness counselor – separate from their guidance counselor – to help students navigate through the steps to prepare for college. Students must also complete 40 hours of community service. Bullying awareness programs including cyber safety to science fairs and programs including a character education program is what positions PCSS students to excel in the classroom and beyond.
About Pioneer Charter School of Science
Pioneer Charter School of Science (PCSS) is a charter school serving students in grades 7-12. The school’s goal is prepare educationally under-resourced students from all backgrounds in Chelsea, Everett, and Revere for today’s competitive world. PCSS will help students develop the academic and social skills necessary to become successful professionals and exemplary members of their community. PCSS provides students with a rigorous academic curriculum with emphasis on math and science, balanced by a strong foundation in the humanities, a character education program, career-oriented college preparation, and strong student–teacher–parent collaboration. For more information log onto www.pioneercss.org.