State renews charter for Chinese school in Hadley

  • CAROL LOLLISChia-Wen Huang, a Chinese teacher at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, gets her room ready in the new addition.

Published: 1/23/2017 11:50:31 PM

HADLEY — The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has renewed the charter for Massachusetts’ only Chinese immersion public charter school — but questions over whether the school will be able to increase its enrollment cap remain unanswered.

In the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School’s application for charter renewal, the Hadley-based school requested authority to raise its maximum enrollment from 584 students to 968, the Gazette reported in August. The school’s current enrollment is 470.

Darcie Fisher, a spokeswoman for the school, said Monday that issue is still pending, with a decision expected in February. Jacqueline Reis, a spokeswoman for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said officials are still waiting on additional information before they make a decision.

In a news release Monday, Richard Alcorn, the executive director for the school, said he was pleased with the news that the charter had been renewed.

“Since opening in 2007, we have been faithful to our charter and committed to educating children from the Pioneer Valley in both English and Mandarin,” he said.

The immersion school’s charter was first renewed in 2012. The process for the 2017 renewal started last spring, and its renewal is valid for five years, Fisher said.

The K-12 school immerses students in Mandarin Chinese starting in kindergarten. According to the news release, in 2015 the PVCICS was awarded the Confucius Classroom of the Year award — one of only three schools in the United States to receive the honor.

Because PVCICS is a public charter school, it does not charge tuition. Enrollment is based on an application lottery, which is underway for the school year starting in fall 2017. 

Jack Suntrup can be reached at 

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