ADAMS -- The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Edu cation will vote yea or nay on whether to renew Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Pub lic School’s (BART) charter Dec. 18.
In the meantime, at a breakfast and informational event hosted at the school Friday, BART officials made their case, speaking of a desired future for the school and touting results before a room of parents, staff, shareholders and local officials.
The biggest topic of the day was expanding the school, which officials hope to see happen after a charter renewal.
But first, Julia Bowen, executive director of BART, pointed to academic achievement.
Topping this list was the outstanding performance on the MCAS exams by last year’s 10th grade BART students. One hundred percent scored proficient or advanced in both Math and English language arts.
BART was one of only four school districts in the commonwealth to hit the same mark.
"These kids are working very hard," Bowen said.
Principal Benjamin Klompus said, "We’re getting a lot of traction beyond the walls of this building."
Bowen added that staff and school officials have seen a marked arc of improvement since adopting programming and teaching methods advocated by local colleges Massachusetts Col lege of Liberal Arts, Williams College and Berkshire Com munity College and by Harvard University in 2009, and working together with each of the schools.
Bowen stressed that BART teachers aim to enhance both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and they seek to grow a student’s "grit."
The future, Bowen said, lies in expanding the school’s 1 Com mercial St. space, and she was seconded in this by founding trustee Pamela Johnson.
In an interview after the meeting, Bowen said adding to the building is "tight but doable," according to architects.
Additional science labs and a fitness center were spotlighted as the greatest needs. The earliest work would begin is in the 2014-15 school year.
If accepted by the state board, amendments attached to the school’s charter by officials will increase BART’s student cap from 308 to 363 and officially add Pittsfield as a city served.
Bowen said officials would fill extra student slots by gradually taking on more students from the waiting list, which was at 40 this year. Officials intend to free up capital for an expansion project by refinancing the school’s $4.6 million debt. This could happen as early as the charter is renewed.
To reach Phil Demers, email