hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 28, 2013

State OKs school charter a second time

Silver Hill charter approved for next five years

When students at teachers at Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School returned from February vacation, a surprise was waiting for them.

Teachers may have heard it through the grapevine, but hearing it announced officially on Monday was something they’d worked towards and were waiting for.

Principal Christopher Jayne announced Silver Hill’s charter was approved by the state for another five years. The school’s first five-year charter expires in June. Jayne said he was notified of the charter renewal by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education last week. He said he notified Superintendent James Scully and members of the Silver Hill Board of Trustees.

“Everybody was relieved as it’s been a lot of hard work,” Jayne said. “The state came in for visits, they interviewed students, staff and parents, and there was a lot of paperwork involved.”

Silver Hill, a kindergarten to grade five school, was approved in 2008 to be a Horace Mann Charter School. Horace Mann charter schools are public schools, but they are overseen by a board of directors and the state Department of Education. The board, which has a role similar to the one the School Committee has with Haverhill’s other public schools, decides how to spend money and implements its own curriculum and teaching methods.

Silver Hill teachers are in the Haverhill teachers union, students take the MCAS each year, and the school follows the same schedule and discipline rules as other public schools in the city.

“Chris Jayne has done a tremendous job with the faculty and staff at Silver Hill in shaping a local school into a warm and productive environment where students have the opportunity to partake in some activities that we are not able to offer in the mainstream schools,” Scully said. “I am thrilled that the state has seen fit to renew their charter.”

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