Several parents at a Dorchester charter school are calling for the ouster of the executive director and the chairman of the school’s trustees, following a firestorm over the layoffs of the principal and five other employees...
“We don’t want Smith Leadership Academy to close,’’ said Ayesha Moore, whose son is in the eighth grade. “We want the people who are ruining it to leave.’’
But Karmala Sherwood, the academy’s executive director, said the school had to lay off the employees, mostly administrators, to remedy an unexpected budget shortfall of more than $100,000. Fewer students enrolled than anticipated, cutting into per-pupil aid, which averages about $10,000 per student...
But the turmoil at Smith Leadership Academy shows that charter schools are not immune to the same kinds of budgetary problems and academic challenges that can afflict traditional public schools.
Students at Smith Leadership Academy, where math and science are taught in single-gender classes, often score lower than Boston public school students on the MCAS, and the state has labeled the academy for restructuring to fix persistently low scores. For instance, fewer than half the students scored proficient or higher on last spring’s MCAS exams.
In May 2011, a state review revealed a number of problems with instruction, saying that too many teachers failed to challenge students - relying too heavily on lectures and worksheets - and that the school lacks a coherent curriculum.
Smith Leadership Academy
“Charters chool’s layoffs raise ire.” The Boston Globe (MA), 3/12/2012