hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

News

February 28, 2013

State OKs school charter a second time

Silver Hill charter approved for next five years

(Continued)

Silver Hill operates with city teachers and city money, but also receives funding from the state. Students are selected by a lottery and enrollment is capped at 580.

Jayne said renewal of Silver Hill’s charter was based on a number of factors, including improved MCAS scores; parent satisfaction and support; attendance; and teachers’ agreement to renew the charter. He said it was mandatory that at least 80 percent of the school’s teachers agreed.

“One of the things our parents really like is that we offer five classes of all-day kindergarten with no tuition,” Jayne said. “What we’re creating is a learning community. One of the markers is attendance, which is extremely good. It tells you that parents value the school and that education is important to them.”

Silver Hill, a Title 1 school, receives federal money for its large percentage of students enrolled in the free or reduce-price lunch program. Silver Hill offers students the option of continuing to attend even if they move to another part of the city.

“They know our school and, even if they move, there is no change in their education,” Jayne said. “One of the unique things about our school is once you have a child in the building, other siblings can have a seat without having to go through the lottery process.”

Silver Hill holds an annual lottery for available seats. The lottery is open to all students in Haverhill.

Jayne said the reason Silver Hill applied for its initial charter was to make progress in its MCAS scores, and it has.

“We were a Level 3 school, which is a school that needs to show improvement, and now we’re a Level 1 school, which means we have shown growth and improvement in our MCAS scores,” he said. “The school has made steady progress over the last five years, which is something we hadn’t done in prior years.”

“In education, there is always work to be done,” he said. “I have great teachers and they’re up to the challenge.”

Silver Hill will hold this year’s lottery on Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m.

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