SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (State House News Service) – A Springfield charter school welcomed its inaugural 9th grade class Monday after being founded 10 years ago to serve middle school students.

Veritas Prep Charter School said that after a year of renovations it welcomed about 100 ninth graders.

“It has been a dream of ours for many years to continue to educate students past their middle school years,” Rachel Romano, the school’s founder and executive director, said in a statement. “We have created an innovative wall-to-wall early college program that will address many barriers to higher education our students face. With the help of more than 200 Springfield community members, current and former Veritas scholars and families, and Veritas teachers, leaders and staff, we have been able to reimagine what high school looks like.”

Veritas Prep was founded with a mission of serving students in grades 5–8, and school officials say they now serve more than 370 Springfield students. It received approval in 2020 to open a high school, and plans to grow its high school by one grade per year through grade 12.

Romano said school officials have plans to graduate students with college credits, noting that only about 26.4 percent of Springfield residents obtain a higher education degree, compared to almost 50 percent statewide. A grand opening celebration is planned for Thursday at 5 p.m.