Highville Mustard Seed Charter School

Highville Mustard Seed Charter School for International Studies is a charter school situated on Leeder Hill Drive, Hamden, Connecticut, USA. It was founded by Lyndon Pitter and opened in Fall 1998. [ [http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/equity/choice/schoolchoice2006.pdf "Public School Choice in Connecticut"] , Connecticut State Department of Education] Highville educates pupils from pre-kindergarten to Grade 8 with around 300 on the roll. [ [http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/15358 Public School Review] ]

Highville is notable in that all teaching is carried out in an international context. In the school, each classroom is named after a country. It also has branded a travel agency website. [ [http://www.ytbtravel.com/highville Branded travel agency site] ]


Executive Director Lyndon Pitter was the subject of questions about his educational credentials. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2006/04/14/state_officials_demand_ouster_of_charter_school_director/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Connecticut+news "State officials demand ouster of charter school director] , The Boston Globe, April 14, 2006] As a consequence, he was demoted to other duties within the School by the school board; a decision that found favor with the attorney general, [ [http://www.hamdendailynews.com/ArchivesGNApril06.html "AG Says OK to Pitter's New Job"] , Sharon Bass, Hamden Daily News, April 29, 2006] though there have been indications that Pitter retains administrative control of the school. [http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctcharterscam0315.artmar15,0,1893927.story?coll=hc-headlines-local "State Seeks Probe Of School"] , Rachel Gottlieb, Hartford Courant, March 15, 2007]

The state Education Department has been investigating allegations of financial malfeasance [ [http://www.hamdendailynews.com/ArchivesGNSept06.html "Vigorous and Comprehensive"] , Hamden Daily News, September 11, 2006] and a report has been referred to state and federal prosecutors for possible criminal investigations. On 12 July 2007, the school was placed under receivership and a new board has been appointed. [ [http://www.nhregister.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=18582119&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=517515&rfi=8 Judge appoints administrative caretaker for charter school] , Maria Garriga and Ann DeMatteo, New Haven Register, 13 July 2007.]

The CT Attorney General presented a 115-page investigative report condemning Pitter's activities. [ [http://www.ct.gov/ag/lib/ag/other/highvillemustardseedreport1.pdf "Investigative Report of the Attorney General"] ] The school, renamed "Highville Charter School," received its new charter from the State Department of Education in late August. Under control of an unbiased Board of Directors and new acting Administrators Bill Troy and Ed Favolise, the doors opened on September 10th with 276 students. While the school is still under probation because of prior wrongdoings, and is carrying $1.1 million of indebtedness thanks to Pitter's mismanagement and alleged embezzlement, there is a renewed sense of optimism for the future. [ [http://www.hamdendailynews.com/HighvilleMustard2.html#report "The Little School That Could"] , Sharon Bass, Hamden Daily News, January 28, 2008] The students have adopted the Phoenix "rising from the ashes" as their new school mascot.


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