Educator Helps Guide Growth of Chicago-Area Charter Schools

Eric Becoats pic

Eric Becoats

Dr. Eric Becoats serves as an assistant superintendent in the Philadelphia School District in Pennsylvania. His career includes administrative positions in public school districts in several other states. Before his Philadelphia appointment, he served as interim executive director of the Illinois-based charter school network Distinctive Schools. There, Eric Becoats made policy recommendations to guide the programming and growth of the non-profit organization, which supports charter schools for students from underserved backgrounds.

Headquartered in Chicago, Distinctive Schools has four charter schools in that city, another in Rockford, Illinois, and a sixth recently opened in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Charter schools are public schools that are privately run but publicly funded, typically by local school districts. They have greater flexibility than do traditional schools, but with this flexibility in curriculum, textbook choice, and student policies comes greater accountability for academic outcomes.

Charter schools must follow state and federal standards for academic achievement, and must demonstrate this achievement through student testing. They must also show responsibility in other areas – financial management and organizational stability — specified in their charters.

Distinctive Schools, dedicated to helping students in urban communities succeed, meets these requirements through its educational approach, which incorporates individual learning paths to help its largely minority K-8 students achieve academic and personal success.