WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/359840

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Page 133 of 219

At a glance… Excel Academy Charter Schools n Founded in 2003 in East Boston, Chelsea in 2011, Orient Heights in 2012 n 500 students, 5th – 8th grade n 80 percent students from low-income families, 75 percent Latino, 75 percent enter 5th grade reading at or below a 4th grade level n For 6th year in a row, 8th grade students ranked #1 in the state on the MCAS n In fall of 2015, Excel Academy Charter High School will open the first college-preparatory high school in East Boston. Excel is building a school adjacent to the new Boston Public Library East Boston branch. www.excelacademy.org Neighborhood House Charter School n Founded in 1995 n 400 students, K – 8th grade n 66 percent students from low-income families; 82 percent minorities, mirroring the diverse population of Boston n In 2013, students at every grade level outperformed their peers in Boston Public Schools in all MCAS subjects (English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science) n As requested by the Boston Public Schools (BPS), NHCS partners with its neighbor, the Harbor Pilot Middle School, an underperforming "Turnaround" public school. NHCS's sharing of practices, systems, and structures has helped the Harbor school meet or exceed benchmarks set by the BPS. www.thenhcs.org Helping Kids Beat the Odds Connie Walkingshaw has been deeply involved in education over the past twenty years, including as PTO president of Hunnewell Elementary School, PTO representative for METCO, board member of the Wellesley Scholarship Foundation, as well as member of the Headmaster's Council at Roxbury Latin School. Connie explains her decision to expand her philanthropic focus to include NHCS: "I went to a benefit at NHCS as a favor to a friend and, to my surprise, I became totally committed. The school is one of the best run elementary schools I have ever seen, serving the whole child and providing the families of Dorchester a chance to change the trajectory of their lives." Tom Ellis experienced a similar "you've got to see it to believe it" eureka when he visited Excel Academy. He encourages anyone inter- ested in education to visit and witness for themselves how Excel trans- forms lives. By creating a controlled environment, Excel eliminates the chaos that undermines an environment where students feel safe to take risks and realize their potential. About five years ago, Mark Taber learned about Excel as he was studying the charter school movement, 132 Closing the Opportunity Gap W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 4 P H O T O S C O U R T E S Y O F E X C E L A C A D E M Y C H A R T E R S C H O O L S , P H O T O B Y N I C H O L A S M A N N ( L E F T ) A N D N E I G H B O R H O O D H O U S E C H A R T E R S C H O O L , P H O T O B Y R O M A N A V Y S A T O V A ( R I G H T )

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