Selected readings on US charter schools
One of Jefferson Parish’s newest charter schools will soon be looking to grow. The Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, a science-focused charter that opened in August, is discussing the possibility of building a high school location as it looks to expand in the near future.
While the school board initially planned to make the school a pre-K through 8th grade school, members of the charter’s board who met Monday (Feb. 17) discussed the benefits of expanding to a pre-K through 12th grade model instead.
“This expansion proposal is really crucial, and I think our high school curriculum is both innovative and achievable,” Head of Schools Patty Glaser said.
The school, started by group of local business and medical leaders in Kenner, seeks to prepare its students for jobs in the science and medical fields. Preference is given to families who live in Kenner, as the school is supposed to encourage the growth of the medical field in the community.
The school has received an enthusiastic welcome. This year, the school enrolled 420 students from pre-K through third grade, and grades five and six. It did not take 4th grade this year because it’s a high-stakes testing year for students. Fourth grade will be added in for the 2014-15 school year as the school’s third graders age up.
When its doors opened, it already had over 100 students on its waiting list, and though it is set to expand next year to include seventh grade and to add eighth grade in the following year, board members are anticipating it might be a better idea to simply expand the school to encompass all grade levels.
The school recently opened up applications for the 2014-15 school year, and has already received 643 applications. Without any expansion, the school will only have 155 openings for next year. With an expansion, there would be 221 seats open.
Glaser credits the volume of applications to the school’s connection to the community. She said that the school has involved parents since its inception, with parents even coming in before school started last August to help paint classrooms and build furniture.
“I also think the mission is very strong,” Glaser said. “With health sciences, parents realized there are career opportunities, both personal and professional advantages to a health sciences education.”
The charter’s board of directors will consider asking the Jefferson Parish School Board to grant them this expansion of their charter during the school board’s March meeting.
Source: The Times-Picayunne – by Sara Tan