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WISCONSIN: West Bend authorizes first charter school

pathways-charter-schoolThe West Bend School Board has authorized a new project-based charter school that will focus on exposing children to career and work opportunities at younger ages.

Pathways Charter School intends to open in August with a target enrollment of about 75 seventh- through ninth-graders, said T.C. Motzkus, West Bend’s director of innovation and professional learning. Eventually the school will grow to include grades 10 through 12.

West Bend Superintendent Ted Neitzke said Tuesday that the school grew out of community demand: Focus groups showed residents wanted more options in the form of charter schools, and Neitzke said the emphasis on career exposure was of interest to the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce and West Bend Economic Development Corporation, which were early supporters of the concept.

“My intent is that all the work there has to continue to be the (research and development) arm of the district,” Neitzke said.

Pathways will likely be located in space leased from the city’s Mutual Mall building on Main St., in an open-concept workspace that will look more like an office than a school, Neitzke said.

Motzkus will be the administrator of Pathways, but the program will be led day to day by West Bend School District teachers.

Self-motivated students

Motzkus stressed that the charter school is not designed for students seeking credit recovery. The type of student who would do well at Pathways would be self-motivated and able to thrive in a setting not defined by 50-minute periods and a set bell schedule, she said.

She said they’re seeking business partners willing to let students do some job shadowing in the next academic year. In later years, students may spend some of the day working as well as going to class for traditional academics.

“We expect them to have less of a footprint in the school in 11th and 12th grade and more of a footprint in local businesses,” Motzkus said. “Their day might start earlier or go later, depending on each student’s individual learning plan.”

Pathways, which was approved Monday, would be West Bend’s first charter school.

The board considered and rejected a charter school proposal in 2010 that ran into trouble because it was brought by a Baptist pastor who some feared would improperly incorporate religious teachings at the public school.

Source: Journal Sentinel Online – Erin Richards

View more articles on Wisconsin charter schools

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in Authorization, Charter Schools, Wisconsin.

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