CAMBRIDGE _ For the second consecutive year, Community Charter School of Cambridge has opened “at capacity”, meaning there is a student occupying every available seat in the small Kendall Square area public charter school.
“To be at capacity is a double-edged sword for us,” said Caleb Hurst-Hiller, CCSC’s Head of School. “On the one hand, we are pleased to be an ‘in demand’ or ‘oversubscribed’ school. On the other hand, it never feels good to turn away students.”
The school’s wait-list for seventh, eighth, and ninth grade seats has 472 names on it. Under its state-approved charter, CCSC can admit a maximum of 360 students. Once those seats are filled, the school creates a waiting list. “We’ve had a waiting list for years, and last year’s wasn’t short ” Mr. Hurst-Hiller said. “But this year, that list is much, much longer.”
To better meet demand, the school expanded this summer into vacant space in an adjacent building, adding more classrooms, work space, and conference space for staff and students. The boom in enrollment didn’t impact the vibe of students or teachers on the first day.
“I’m excited to start a new year with them,” said Aleida Sanabria, a CCSC Spanish teacher. “They were totally in school mode and excited to be here. I think our new students were helped a great deal by the summer academy. They knew what to expect on day one and are ready to go. This is going to be a great year.”
School officials attribute the student demand primarily to the school’s reputation as one of the area’s premier college preparatory programs for 7th-12th grade students. Every graduate in the school’s eight year history has gained college admission, 95% to four-year schools, and many with significant financial aid and scholarship awards.
“MCAS and other benchmark data are useful, but we mark our success on every graduate’s performance at college,” said Mr. Hurst-Hiller. “In that regard, I think we’re doing pretty well.”
CCSC, a publicly-funded, tuition-free, charter school, serves students from Cambridge, Boston, and many surrounding communities. For more information, visit www.ccscambridge.org