Springfield Charter School Parents Propose Replacement “Innovation School”

The New Leadership Charter School in Springfield is slated to close at the end of this school year, but a group of parents hopes to have a replacement ready by this fall. The board of New Leadership chose to close the school in January after state officials indicated its charter may not be renewed. The school serves 500 students between 6th and 12th grade. 

In February, parents submitted a proposal to Springfield Superintendent Daniel Warwick for a public school modeled after New Leadership under the state’s Innovation school model: a charter-like public school operated by a local district. Warwick says the proposal will be reviewed this month by a three-member panel. If it accepts the plan, the proposal must pass through two more committees before being approved by the district. Warwick says Innovation school proposals typically require several more months to go through the approval process.

“To open one for next year, it’s very tight, to say the least,” says Warwick.

But Warwick says he’s not ruling out the possibility the school could be ready for students by the fall. Parent Zaida Govan says students at New Leadership will be assigned to Springfield public schools if the innovation school is not approved. But, she says, many parents are not satisfied with that option.

“And we were promised a smooth transition during this process, and for us, being assigned to a school we don’t want our children to go to is not a smooth transition.”

Govan says the proposed Innovation school would retain many of the same teachers as New Leadership, and would stay in the same building.