Dear CSP Friends,
The work, the real work of building a new generation of high-performing public schools serving low-income students and closing one of the nation’s largest achievement gaps, has begun in earnest.
We are very pleased to be able to announce that Charter School Partners has finalized agreements with both Hiawatha Academies and Mastery Schools (sister school of Harvest Prep/Best Academy) to have CSP Fellows Daniela Vasan and James Robinson, lead the planning and preparation for the opening of the two emerging networks’ new schools.
While this unique collaborative with Hiawatha Academies and Mastery Schools is a slight change of focus for CSP’s Fellowship program and incubation efforts, we believe our ability to be flexible at this time in a rapidly changing charter environment in Minneapolis is very important for the greater good of our collective effort. We are honored that both Eli Kramer (Hiawatha Academies) and Eric Mahmoud (Mastery Schools) and their boards have recognized the value of the CSP Fellowship and the quality Fellows that are a part of our program.
While the central focus of the CSP Fellowship will continue to be Fellows opening their own schools, this action aligns with the mission and purpose of the Fellowship — to incubate new high-performing schools that serve low-income students. In addition, it also reflects Charter School Partners strategic framework, which we have had since our founding four year ago which focuses on incubating new schools, fast-tracking the replication of great schools, turning around schools (when appropriate), a good-to-great effort as well as the closure of the lowest-performing charters.
The Work continues on several fronts
In addition to today’s announcement, we are also very excited about our first cohort of CSP Fellowship schools, which will be opening schools in 2013, including ARCH Academy led by Angela Mansfield and West Side Summit led by Matthew Bannon. CSP Fellow Carl Phillips is leading the development of Northeast College Prep, which is planning to open in 2014. Three more Fellows are currently being recruited for the 2015 cohort. So by the Fall of 2015, CSP Fellows will have launched eight new high-performing charter schools in the urban core.
Finally, since 2010, CSP has also assisted in the launch of eight other quality schools either through our Charter Start efforts or Walton Family Foundation support including Cornerstone Montessori (2010), Minneapolis College Prep (2011), Hennepin Elementary School (2012), Mastery School (2012), Adelante Prep (2012), Upper Mississippi Academy (2013), Prodeo Academy (2013), and Venture Academy (2013)).
A special thanks
On a personal note, I want to thank our incredible Fellowship team led by Katie Barrett Kramer, Director of the CSP Fellowship, who has put together one of the nation’s best new schools fellowship programs — an initiative that is preparing talented and passionate individuals to open new high-performing, urban charter schools right here in the Twin Cities.
We look forward to keeping you apprised of our ongoing efforts.
BACKGROUND OF SCHOOL LEADERS
Daniela Vasan, Hiawatha Academies
Ms. Vasan, will help launch Hiawatha Academies third school which is set to open in August 2013 with 78 kindergarters. Before joining the CSP Fellowship in July 2012, Ms. Vasan was Teacher of the Year at her public elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia. She was a Teach for America Corps Member and has also worked as a TFA advisor in Atlanta at TFA’s pre-service Summer Institute for new teachers and served as a Curriculum Specialist. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Ms. Vasan received a B.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies and her Masters in Mathematic Education at Georgia State University. She also studied in Irbid, Jordan at the University of Yarmouk, where she was part of the Intensive Arabic Immersion Program. Ms. Vasan is fluent in Spanish and is proficient in French and Arabic.
James Robinson, Mastery Schools.
James is working with the leadership teams of Harvest Prep, Best Academy and Mastery Schools as he works toward the opening Mastery School’s second second site, which is expected to open in 2014. After working seven years in the Rochester, New York school district where he was a Special Education teacher, James Robinson gave up his teacher tenure and became a founding lead teacher with Rochester Prep Elementary School, a charter school which is a part of the Uncommon School network, one the nation’s most successful charter networks.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Robinson was an ESL teacher in South Korea, worked with urban youth in several programs in Rochester, New York including the Good Grades Pay initiative and was a fellow with the Urban Teachers of Tomorrow Fellowship. In addition to his work as a Special Education teacher, this fellowship allowed him numerous leadership positions within school and community settings. Mr. Robinson received his undergraduate degree from State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase and his Masters in Education at Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, New York.