Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is a charter school?

A charter school is an independently managed, non-sectarian, tuition-free public school that is open to all students and accountable to the Department of Education. Charter schools were created to provide public education choices for families, encourage competition to fuel innovation and change, improve educational outcomes for students, and promote academic and operational accountability for public schools. Charter schools agree to meet the specific and details performance goals outlined in their charters. These goals must be met during the term of a school’s charter (5 years) or the charter will be revoked and the school closed.

Are all Phoenix schools charter schools?

No.  Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea and Springfield are charter schools while Phoenix Academy Lawrence is not. Please see the Phoenix Lawrence home page for clarification.

Are all Phoenix schools alternative schools?

Yes, in that Phoenix targets students who have traditionally failed in the public school system. However, Phoenix schools approach alternative education differently than most alternative programs. It is a school, not a program, and its mission is to send students to college. Many alternative schools offer GED preparation, which Phoenix discourages.  Instead, Phoenix offers all students rigorous, college-preparatory academic coursework, including AP classes.

Do you have to pay tuition to attend a Phoenix school?

No, all Phoenix schools are public schools, and as such are free for students.

What is the Phoenix Network (CMO)?

The CMO is responsible for managing and operating all schools within the Phoenix Network. Read more about our Network staff here.

How are Phoenix schools funded?

Phoenix schools are funded by state per-pupil tuition dollars and private donations.

How are Phoenix schools held accountable?

Phoenix schools, like all charter schools, are held accountable by a three-year accountability plan. This plan ensures that the schools are staying faithful to their original mission, are moving students toward academic achievement, and are staying viable as an organization. Phoenix Academy Lawrence has an accountability plan modeled after that of Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea and approved by the Lawrence Public Schools.

To measure our success as a Network and school, we gather data internally and externally.  In each Phoenix school, teachers use daily 80% mastery tracking to ensure student growth.  Data cycles are regularly administered to check in on student progress. On a larger scale, we use the nationally recognized NWEA MAP assessment to measure our students three times a year (baseline, mid year, end-of-year). Each method of tracking student achievement ensures that all students, staff, and schools know exactly how they are performing and if they are reaching important achievement benchmarks.

Does Phoenix have a Public Records Officer?

Yes, Phoenix Charter Academy Network’s Officer of Public Records is our Chief Operating Officer Sara-Ofosu-Amaah. Any public record inquiries can be directed to her via following contact information: 60 Canal St, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114; (617)-519-8719; sofosuamaah@phoenixcharteracademy.org

Enrollment

Does every Phoenix school hold a lottery?

No. Massachusetts requires all charter schools to hold a blind lottery to select students for admission but not in-district high schools. Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea and Springfield hold lotteries, while Phoenix Academy in Lawrence does not. For more details and online application, see our enrollment page.

Who is eligible to enroll at a Phoenix school?

For Phoenix Chelsea and Phoenix Springfield any student between the ages of 14 and 22 may apply. For Phoenix Lawrence, any student between the ages of 14 and 22 who resides in Lawrence may apply.

Hiring

How do I apply to teach at, lead in, or support a Phoenix school?

Check out the current openings. To apply for a job, you must submit a resume and cover letter and participate in at least two rounds of interviews.

How long does the application process take?

Depending on the need of the role, the application process can take from one week up to six weeks. We only respond to candidates that are highly qualified for the position.

Do teachers need to be licensed to apply?

In charter schools, the answer is typically no. Charters are giving freedoms that regular district schools do not have – and one of those freedoms is the ability to hire candidates without Massachusetts teaching licenses. However, current every teacher at Phoenix is a highly qualified, certified teacher. That does not mean we will discredit your application if you do not have a MA license. We work with our teachers to ensure that they receive proper licensure in their subject matter once they are hired.

What kind of professional development opportunities do you provide to your staff?

At Phoenix, we know that student success is based upon great teaching, among other things. Therefore, we build in at least 3 hours each week to ensure that our teachers and staff are constantly improving their craft. Professional development sessions include diversity discussions, analyzing data, student support discussions, department time, etc. At the beginning of the school year, all teachers participate in a two week Teacher Institute- a crash course in Phoenix culture and methodology.

Do Phoenix teachers and staff earn the same salary as their district counterparts?

No. Phoenix teachers and staff earn their salary based on prior experience. All staff are eligible for a yearly bonus.

What do you look for in a successful applicant?

Grit. Passion. Determination. Excellence. An unwavering belief that all students can achieve and go to college. And the talent to get our students there.

Phoenix AmeriCorps Fellowship

What is the Phoenix AmeriCorps Fellows Program?

The Phoenix AmeriCorps Fellowship Program is a one year commitment of service to a Phoenix school. AmeriCorps members primarily tutor students 1-on-1 or in small groups in English, Math, and the sciences in preparation for the 10th grade MCAS. AmeriCorps members officially work from 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at one of three sites: Phoenix Chelsea, Phoenix Lawrence or Phoenix Springfield, but are expected to spend outside time preparing lessons and supporting students’ academic engagement and achievement.

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a national organization that offers over 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities across AmeriCorps, including improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth.

How long is the Fellowship Program?

The program lasts from early-August until July 31. Members attend Summer Institute professional development trainings in August, serve during the regular school year from August until June, and lead Summer Academy from June until the end of July.

Where do AmeriCorps members live?

AmeriCorps members are provided housing at one of two locations near the service site and live in either single or double rooms. Utilities, electricity, and basic furniture are all covered expenses.

What kind of training do members receive?

AmeriCorps members attend Summer Institute in August – two weeks of trainings that cover a range of professional development topics before the school year begins. Additionally, the Program Manager coordinates Professional Development sessions every Friday from 1:30 – 4 p.m. Members learn how to effectively run tutorials, enforce school culture, build relationships with students and their families, and how to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Members are also supported through monthly supervisions with the Program Manager, which identify individual strengths and areas of growth. Program managers also serve as mentors for Members, especially nearing the end of their year of service.

How competitive is the application process?

Very competitive. Members have excelled in top colleges and universities and demonstrated a strong commitment to leadership on campus.