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“No Excuses” at Springfield’s New Veritas Preparatory Charter School

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — On the first day of orientation, students are already chanting that they’re hungry for knowledge to get them to college.

Springfield’s Veritas Preparatory Charter School has 81 Students, all 5th graders, already excited for the school year.

“I like it, I got to know my classmates and my classroom” beamed 5th grader Naiah Almonte.

Veritas was approved for a charter in February 2011, and have spent time since then recruiting staff and students without having a building to call their own.

Having finally settled into what used to be a nursing home on Pine Street, Vertias’ Executive Director, Rachel Romano, is calling it a “no excuses” school.

“It’s so important that our 5th graders aren’t asking am I going to college? But where am I going to college? Our mission is really helping to develop a vision of themselves in college. Starting today teaching them what it means to be engaged, sit up straight, track the speaker,” Romano stated.

The school day runs from 7:30 a.m.- 4:20 p.m.

With those longer hours comes pay, in the form of ‘Scholar Dollars’. It’s fake money kids can use for field trips, and prizes.

Parents of students at Veritas say they chose to send their kids there because of the higher standard of learning.

“Springfield Public Schools have been struggling for a while, and as a parent we want the best for our kids, especially in the academic aspect” said parent Leixa Torres-Garrafa.

“Middle schools in this area, I heard, they were not the greatest, and so when I got the postcard saying that I could apply, I didn’t miss a beat. I just came and did it” Margaret Valentin echoed.

For the students, the bar is held high. Romano says when you do that, kids will meet you there. “Our school is about closing the achievement gap in Springfield and showing that students in Springfield are capable of achieving at really high levels when given the right school and right teachers” Romano said.

Only 5th graders are enrolled for this year. However, the school will eventually house grades 5-8.

Next month Veritas will start accepting applications for next year’s 5th grade incoming class.

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