Hampden Charter School of Science set to open site west of the r - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Hampden Charter School of Science set to open site west of the river

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Three new charter schools have been approved for Massachusetts, including one in Hampden County.

The new charter school will be an expansion of the Hampden Charter School of Science, which currently operates in Chicopee.

The Hampden Charter School of Science has been operating in Chicopee since 2009.  Over 400 students attend grades 6 through 12 and now they're expanding.

"We are so happy to see the board of education put kids first," said Tarkan Topcuoglu, director of the Hampden Charter School of Science

The charter school in Chicopee serves students from Springfield, Chicopee, West Springfield, and Ludlow.  It's a college prep school with a strong curriculum in math and science.

Its director said that the school is one of the highest performing schools in western Massachusetts.

"Our dedicated teachers, strong team, we work with all students one-on-one.  We really give them the attention they need," Topcuoglu added.

Students at the charter school feel the second charter school will give students in other communities the same choice for a quality education they received.

"The education and teachers here are helpful towards getting us good grades we need.  It's a college prep school getting us ready for the future," said Jalexis Bermudez, an eighth grader at the school.

Victor Moreno, an eighth grade student, added, "What really makes our school special is that it doesn't only prepare us for college, but it prepares us for life in the real world, and the teachers go the extra mile to make sure we reach our potential."

Topcuoglu said that the second school will be located in either Westfield or possibly West Springfield and serve students from Agawam, Holyoke, Westfield, and West Springfield.

The new school will open with 252 students in grades 6 through 9 in its first year, growing each year to eventually serve 588 students in grades 6 through 12.

The new school in Westfield or West Springfield won't open until 2018.  There will be open houses for information purposes and parents will have until March 2018 to apply.

The two other charter schools approved by the state will be located in Sturbridge and Plymouth.

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