Selected readings on US charter schools
The application details an idea the School Board considered in June. Green Run Collegiate would have an International Baccalaureate Programme like the one at Princess Anne High, 400 students from across the city, and flexibility to offer longer school days and Saturday classes.
It also would help solve the “brain drain” problem that has plagued Green Run, as highly motivated students leave each year for academy programs housed in other city high schools.
“It will get the best out of students who can perform at higher levels,” said George Parker, principal of Green Run High. “I hope it will be enticing to our community and students from around the city.”
Charter schools are run privately with public funds and more flexibility to try new things. Some states have hundreds, but Virginia – a difficult environment for charters because they must be approved by school boards – has only four. None is in Hampton Roads.
Green Run Collegiate would enroll 100 freshmen next year, then add another grade each year until it has 400 in grades nine through 12.
Students would be in two programs: IB, which is used in more than 140 countries, and Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, which gives average students the study and organization skills they need to excel.
Organizers say combining the two will work well for students who live in Green Run, one of the city’s poorer areas and one with many military families.
Students from across the city can apply, but marketing will be targeted in Green Run, Parker said. If more than 100 students apply, participants will be selected by a lottery.
They will be asked to commit and work hard. According to the application, the charter is aiming for a 100 percent graduation rate. It also intends to send 100 percent of its students to college or the military.
State and local school boards need to approve the application this spring for Green Run Collegiate to open in the fall.
Early estimates put the operating cost at a million dollars, roughly based on per-pupil expenses, but Jill Gaitens, director of grants development for Virginia Beach public schools, said that number will change as more details are hammered out. The program won’t appear in the superintendent’s budget proposal next month, she said, because the charter school hasn’t been approved.
Organizers also will apply for grants from organizations that support charter schools, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the application.
Source: The Virginian-Pilot – by Elisabeth Hulette