Hampden Charter School Of Science

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Admission » Enrollment Policies

Enrollment Policies

Enrollment Policies and Procedures

General Policy Statement 

Hampden Charter School of Science (HCSS) accepts applications from students who reside in Massachusetts. HCSS serves students in grades six through twelve and accepts applications for students in grades six through nine. G.L., c. 71, §89 (m). 

HCSS does not discriminate against students on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, proficiency in the English language or in a foreign language, or prior academic achievement when recruiting or admitting students.   HCSS will not set admissions criteria that are intended to discriminate or that have the effect of discrimination based upon any of these characteristics. The process of enrollment will be conducted according to the laws and the regulations of Massachusetts (M.G.L. c. 71, § 89; 603 CMR 1.05). The School’s student recruitment and retention plan conforms with the outline set forth in M.G.L. c 71 §89(m); 603 CMR 1.05(1). 

Throughout the year the School will provide information about HCSS to all students and families interested in joining the HCSS community. 

The information below about the enrollment process and lottery will be distributed in four major languages spoken in the districts: English, Spanish, Russian, and Turkish. The notice of all application deadlines will be announced on the HCSS website at least one month in advance. 

HCSS implements a student recruitment and retention plan as outlined in M.G.L., c. 71, §89(f) and CMR 603 1.05(1) that is updated annually and included in the HCSS Annual Report. 

Application forms will be available to families at the School’s open house events, at the main office of the School, and on the School’s website.  At all such locations information will be provided to prospective applicants about the mission, the vision, and the education philosophy of the School. Also, outreach efforts such as announcements and posts in the local newspapers, community centers, libraries, and schools will be conducted annually to ensure a diverse enrollment process.  Application forms will be updated yearly to reflect application dates and deadlines. HCSS will publicly provide the latest up-to-date information on the application dates and deadlines at least one month in advance. HCSS will not make statements in meetings intended to discourage, or that have the effect of discouraging, parents/guardians of students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, or any other protected group of students from submitting an application form to the School.   Attendance at the open house Information Sessions is strongly encouraged for students and their families but not required as a condition of enrollment. HCSS will strive to make accommodations for families with individual hardships. 

HCSS will notify all applicants in writing of the rights of students with diverse learning needs to attend the charter school and to receive accommodations and support services, including students who may have disabilities, require special education, or are English language learners. 603 CMR 1.05(4). 

HCSS provides information regarding the availability of services mentioned above in the school’s outreach materials, the student handbook, and on the school’s website. 603 CMR 1.05(4). 

HCSS does not use financial incentives to recruit students. 603 CMR 1.05(3)(a). 

HCSS intends to provide transportation to all residents of its charter region (Springfield, Chicopee, West Springfield and Ludlow) in accordance with the Charter School Technical Advisory 07-2: Transportation. A regional charter school’s commitment to provide transportation services to residents of the charter regions during the scheduled school year, including those students who reside outside the city or town where the school is located, will establish the school’s eligibility for regional transportation aid. 

Definitions 

 Enrollment Policy: The document that clearly communicates the charter school’s adherence to applicable laws and regulations with the objective of creating a transparent and fair enrollment process.

Application: As defined in the school’s enrollment policy, the primary document/form used to make a request for admission to the school. 

Applicant: Someone who formally asks (applies) for admission to the school. 

Siblings: Children who share a common biological or legal parent as opposed to children who live in the same household but do not share a common parent. Reasonable proof of sibling status is required at the time an offer of admission is made. 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a).

Residents: Students who live in the city or town in which the charter school is located or who live in the districts of the region served by the charter school (Chicopee, Ludlow, Springfield, and West Springfield) at the time of the lottery.  Residents enrolled in district, charter, private, or parochial schools get equal preference for Commonwealth Charter Schools.   Residency is determined by where the child actual lives, irrespective of guardianship, custody, and domicile. Students must be residents of one of the four relevant cities, towns, or school districts at the time of application. Charter schools require proof of current residency.

Non-residents: Students who live within Massachusetts but outside the cities or towns which the charter school serves.  For HCSS, non-resident students are those students who live outside of the school districts specified in the school’s charter.

Admitted: To accept an offer of admission to the school.

Currently attending: Students who are currently participating in classes at the school.

Attending: Students are considered to be attending the charter school if they come to school.

Enrollment: Students are considered to be enrolled in the charter school if an offer of admission is made and an acceptance is received in accordance with the school’s enrollment policy.  After the student is enrolled, the school may determine through placement testing provided to all students whether the student needs to be placed in a grade other than the one for which he/she applied. If this is the case, the charter school must provide a space in the appropriate grade. Each year, HCSS will determine the number of spaces available by grade level.  At each grade level preference for admission will be given first to applicants who are “siblings” of students currently attending in HCSS in the year of application, followed by applicants in the “Residents” category, and then by applicants in the “Non-Residents” category, regardless of when their application form is submitted, provided that it is prior to the application deadline.

 Description of the Eligibility Criteria for Enrollment 

Students must reside within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the time that they submit an Application Form (attached) as well as at the time that they attend the School, if offered enrollment.  Reasonable proof of current residency must be provided at the time an offer of admission is made. G.L. c. 71, § 89(ff).

Proof of Massachusetts residency in the form of a utility bill or other official business mail must be submitted in the enrollment package. The bills must reflect the place where the child and parent/guardian actually reside. It cannot reflect an alternate address such as a vacation home, relative’s address, business, or rental property where the family does not reside. Such proof is not required for applicants who are homeless. 

Any falsification of documentation or misrepresentations will result in the loss of enrollment status.  An incomplete application will not be considered for the lottery.

Candidates for admission must apply for the grade immediately following their current grade. Information requested in the application, such as language spoken at home or race/ethnicity, is not intended and will not be used to discriminate. G.L. c. 71, § 89(m); 603 CMR 1.05(2). 

For a given school year, at the beginning of August, HCSS will publicize its four (or more) information sessions and invite families to attend and fill out an application form.   Attendance at information sessions and participation in interviews are not conditions of enrollment, and families  may  obtain  an  application  form  directly  from  the  School  or  the  School’s  website www.hampdencharter.org,  (click  on  admission,  and  then  click  on  Apply  Now).  603  CMR 1.05(3)(a).  

Families who do not have access to a computer should contact the Registrar’s office by calling the school at 413 593 9090. 

HCSS does not administer tests to potential applicants or predicate enrollment on results from any test of ability or achievement. 603 CMR 1.05(3)(a). 

Description of the Enrollment Process 

HCSS accepts applications for students in grades 6 through 9 each year. However, HCSS will determine the number of seats available at each grade level each year.  Applicants must have successfully completed (or be expected to complete) the grade preceding the grade to which they seek admission.

HCSS will accept applications until the second Wednesday of March.   Public notice of all application deadlines will be made at least one month in advance.  If there are more eligible applicants than there are available spaces within a given application cycle, HCSS will conduct a lottery after this initial lottery enrollment period on Friday of the second week of March at 5:30 pm in the school’s gymnasium, 20 Johnson Road, Chicopee, MA, and will publicize the date, time, and location with reasonable notice of at least one week before the lottery date. 603 CMR 1.06(6). The lottery is open to the public - all are welcome. 

HCSS will not set any principal application deadlines or hold any enrollment lotteries for student admission for the upcoming school year until after January 1, and shall conclude its principal enrollment process no later than March 15 of each year. 603 CMR 1.05(3)(c).

 Letters informing families of the results of the lottery will be prepared and mailed the next business day to all families whose children were accepted.   Families who have been offered an available space will be given a final date of second Friday of April to accept offers of enrollment. Families may accept offer of enrollment by letter, email, phone call or in person.

If the principal enrollment process fails to fill the available admission spaces, the school may repeat the process more than once providing such process is fair and open and that the school gives reasonable public notice at least one month prior to the application deadline. 603 CMR 1.05(8).

If a student stops attending the School for any reason during the academic year, prior to February 15, a student from an appropriate waiting list will be offered admission for grades 6, 7, 8 and 9. Parents of students accepted from the waiting list will be required to reply in a week about their decision to enroll. If a student in grades 6, 7 and 8 leaves the School subsequent to February 15, such student’s seat shall be backfilled in the next grade in September of the following year as determined by waiting list procedures.   Seats for students who have accepted an offer of admission in the charter school but have never attended are exempt from this provision. 603CMR 1.05(10)(c). 

Upon request, the school will provide the names and addresses of students to a third party mail house for mailings unless the parent requests that the school withhold their child’s information. G.L. c. 71, § 89(g); 603 CMR 1.05(6)(e). 

At the time of enrollment parents and guardians will be offered to consent to or deny permission to disclose information to other parties, and upon request to a third party mail house for mailings by other schools or districts. G.L. c. 71, § 89(g); 603 CMR 1.05(6)(e). 

Reasonable proof of current residency or sibling status is required at the time an offer of admission is made. 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a). 

Description of the Lottery Procedures 

HCSS will determine the number of spaces available each year by grade level. All lotteries are conducted in public at the school, located at 20 Johnson Road, Chicopee, MA. The lottery will be conducted electronically which corresponds to the identification number of each applicant. And a neutral party shall certify that the process is fair and that selection is random 603 CMR 1.05(9). The parent or guardian of each applicant is entitled to know their child’s identification number in advance of the drawing to ensure the transparency and fairness of the process. The identification number will be provided at the main desk if requested. Reasonable public notice is given at least one week prior to the lottery date held on the second Friday of March. 603 CMR 1.05(9).

 Receive Sibling Preference: 

  • Children who live in different households but share a common biological or legal parent
  • Siblings of students who are due to graduate at the end of the school year in which the lottery is held
  • If a student moves out of the local city or town but remains enrolled, that student’s siblings have preference in admission even though they are nonresidents at the time of application.
 

Do Not Receive Sibling Preference:  

  • Children who live in the same household but do not share a common biological or legal parent
  • Foster children
  • Siblings and children of alumni
  • Siblings of applicants who have been accepted for admission but are not yet attending (including twins)

 

Preference for admission is given first to applicants in the "Siblings" category followed by applicants in the “Residents” category and then by applicants in the “Non-Residents” category without regard to when their application was submitted as long as it was prior to the application deadline. HCSS does not offer admission to applicants on a first come first serve basis. 

Primary preference for admission will be given to siblings (resident and non-resident) of students “currently attending” (participating in classes) at HCSS. 

Secondary preference for admission is given to students who are residents of the Chicopee, Ludlow, Springfield, and West Springfield districts of Massachusetts at the time that they are offered admission to the School. Reasonable proof of current residency is required at the time an offer of admission is made. G.L. c. 71, § 89(m); 603 CMR 1.05(6)(b). 

HCSS does not give preference to children of the School’s staff or Board members;  

HCSS does not give preference to siblings of students accepted to the School but not yet attending. 

Description of the Waitlist 

All students who are not selected for enrollment at the lottery will be placed on a waiting list. HCSS will maintain waiting lists for “Siblings,” “Residents,” and “Non-Residents” for the duration of each school year. These lists will contain accurate records of names (first, middle, last), dates of birth, home addresses, telephone numbers, and grade levels of students who entered the lottery but did not gain admission.  No student will be admitted ahead of other eligible students on the waiting list unless the student is either a sibling of a currently attending student at the time an offer of admission is made, or a resident of the towns in the charter schools district(s). All students on the waiting list will be contacted by phone and/or in writing as openings become available.   However, if a space becomes available and the enrollment of a student from the waiting list would cause the sending district to exceed its net school spending cap, the School may skip over that student but keep him/her on the waiting list.  If that student on the waiting list is a sibling of a student currently enrolled at the School, HCSS may enroll that student and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will pay the tuition to the School, subject to state appropriations.  HCSS does not maintain a waiting list from year-to-year. The application and lottery process starts over each consecutive year. Interested parties must reapply each year. G.L. c. 71, § 89(n). 

The families of students will be notified at the lottery and by mail of their admission status if accepted. If a student stops attending the charter school or declines admission, the next available student on the waitlist for that grade, taking into account the current status of enrollment preferences, will be offered admission until the vacant seat is filled. G.L. c. 71, § 89(n). All accepted students’ families will receive an enrollment package.  If a student is accepted in the lottery, that family must confirm by the second Friday of April that the student will attend the School.  If a student is selected off of the waiting list, HCSS contacts the family by telephone and/or email.  The family has one week to confirm the enrollment, by telephone or email or in person.  The School will hold an orientation session in August (before the first day of school) to prepare new families and students for the transition to the School and to assist families with any remaining paperwork. While it is desirable, attendance at such sessions is not required in order for an accepted student to enroll. 

HCSS will work closely with students and their families to ensure that they understand the requirements and have met the eligibility criteria at the time of admission.  If a student fails to meet the two eligibility criteria of proof of residency and completion of the prior grade level, HCSS will decline admission, until both eligibility criteria are met. Students who in the process of application have not met the eligibility criteria will not be placed on a waiting list, will be asked to reapply during the next application cycle, and will be treated as new applicants in the future. 

A student who declines the offer of enrollment at HCSS will be taken off the enrollment list and will not be placed on the waiting list.  If at a later time the student decides to enroll in HCSS including students who have withdrawn from HCSS earlier, he or she will have to reapply and follow the enrollment procedures for new students. 

Application for Admission Requirements 

The  application  does  not  require  dual  parent/guardian  signatures  and  submission  of  the student’s social security number. Application form for admission is attached. 

Growth Plan Requirements 

In the first year following approval of the Amendment Request, enrollment in grades 6, 7, and 8 will be increased from 50 to 80, for an increase of 90 students. In the following years, each new class of 6th graders will enroll 80 students. In five years the school will reach to full capacity of 560 students on one campus at its Chicopee location. 

Amendment will be implemented as follows:

 

 

 

K-5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

TOTAL

2014-2015

0

50

50

50

50

50

50

50

350

2015-2016

0

80

80

80

50

50

50

50

440

2016-1017

0

80

80

80

80

50

50

50

470

2017-2018

0

80

80

80

80

80

50

50

500

2018-2019

0

80

80

80

80

80

80

50

530

2019-2020

0

80

80

80

80

80

80

80

560

 

 

The total number of students attending a charter school in a given school year cannot exceed the total number of students in the school’s pre-enrollment report submitted to the Department in the previous spring in accordance with 603 CMR 1.08(5) and the total number of students specified in the growth plan in the school’s charter.