Wednesday night the Manhattan School Board received a report on the Charter School Committee by Superintendent Dr. Sharol Little. Here is the report:
Charter School Planning
USD 383 School District
Summary: Following meetings in October and November a committee of teachers, administrators and community members began a plan to design a charter school in the Manhattan-Ogden school district. The Kansas Charter School Law was passed in 1994 to provide citizens with a choice. A charter school is "a nonsectarian, outcomes-oriented educational program" operated within a school district structure, but independently from other school programs of the district. There are a possible 30 charter schools in Kansas. At the moment two charters are available for the 2002-2003 school year.
During the planning sessions the "Little Apple Charter School" was designed (see attached). A mission, needs list, flexible calendar, instructional design, arid parent involvement were a part of the description of the school.
Under the Kansas law, our Board of Education may authorize the establishment of this charter when the group readies a petition consisting of 15 key elements such as budget, calendar, staff; curriculum, etc. it is to be focused on innovation and educational excellence. USD 383 Charter School Committee had outlined the work for the petition.
They had also had three meetings with the public to find out the interest in the community from home schoolers, private schoolers, and those who live in Manhattan but attend schools in other districts. Rod Bicker, state department representative for charter schools, met with the group to answer questions. Two meetings were also held at the public library.
Following the planning meetings by the committee and the public meetings held to find out the interest of the community it was determined that more information and research are needed. In addition, Stan Ward, grant writer for UDS 383 reported that state charter schools funds have been depleted during the last seven years. The latest report is that additional federal dollars (not now available) may be available in the 2002-2003 school year for charter schools.
Suggestions for future planning:
1. Continue charter school planning during the 2002-2003 school year
2. Pilot some of the ideas to be used in the charter school
a. Individual Instructional Plan (LIP) for each student
b. Curriculum plans, especially project based learning
c. Extended learning opportunities
d. Parent involvement
e. Non-graded classrooms
f. Uninterrupted core teaching time
3. Investigate grant funds, federal funds for charter schools
4. Develop ways to meet the needs of home schoolers/private schoolers in curriculum, activities, etc.
5. Study, tour other models of charter schools in the state
6. Survey parents on what they want to change or add in the schools
7. Investigate possible ways to receive partial state funding
Question: Is the charter school concept worthy of further study for the district?
• Capacity of approximately 250 students
• Ratio of 17 students per core teacher
• Two sections of each flexible group (based on age)
• "Other Schoolers" (home, private, etc. 100 spaces available with flexible scheduling, to attend all day, ‘/2 day core subjects, 1/2 day "Project-Based learning, or pro-rated
Flexible Calendar - within framework of state regulations
• Possible year-round
• Possibly extended year only
• On-going extended learning opportunities for underachieving students
• Vacations similar to regular schools
• After School Enrichment Activities until 5:00 p.m.
• On-Going Professional Development for teachers
• Each student enrolled will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP)
• Challenging, research-based curriculum (mathematics, science, social studies & language arts) 7:30 a.m. - 12: p.m.
• "Project-Based" learning (individualized instruction) 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Parent Involvement
• Parents must enroll their children via application
• Information meeting between parent, student & teacher prior to enrollment
• Parents will be required to volunteer at least 25 hours each quarter (involvement might include: time, resources, tutoring, project-based teaching, Site Council, etc.)
Professional Development School - Strong partnership with KSU Dept. of Education
• Pre-service teachers, Block A & B as volunteers, interns, tutors, etc.
• Research-based curriculum and professional development for teachers