Selected readings on US charter schools
Faculty members in formal business attire will be greeting students with a firm handshake as they arrive to their classes during the opening of their new school this summer.
The Founders Academy of Las Vegas, 4025 N. Rancho Drive, is set to open Aug. 25 for grades kindergarten through 10th.
“This type of education is unique to Clark County,” said Richard Moreno, Founders Academy board president. “It will operate with smaller class sizes, and students will have a chance to explore a new curriculum with traditional methods of teaching.”
The school plans to offer a classical model of education based on Hillsdale College in Michigan, which focuses on liberal arts and sciences with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue, according to the school’s website.
“The classical education model is over 2,500 years old. It teaches the best of Roman and Greek Empires and Judeo and Christian ethic,” Moreno said. “We want to introduce children and all students to the beauty of knowledge and stir their passions for education.”
Students would be required to attain more credits to graduate than most other schools in the state, he added.
Moreno said the school would emphasize phonics and math fundamentals and teach two years of Latin in elementary school and an additional two years of advanced Latin, Spanish or another language.
Clark County has seven charter schools sponsored by the Clark County School District, according to Tom McCormack, interim director of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority. There are 10 additional charter schools sponsored by the State Public Charter School Authority.
Although there are 17 charter schools in Clark County, McCormack said the wait list for charter schools vary.
“While the demand for charter schools is always a consideration, the main interest (for opening up a charter school) is because they feel they have a strong educational model, and they’re interested in sharing it with pupils,” McCormack said.
Charter schools operate similarly to public schools and receive roughly the same amount of per-student funding from the state; however, they do not receive funding for construction or building leases.
The school is accepting 500 students for its first year. Since opening for registration, Moreno said the school has received more than 500 applications, but he expects a few students to drop out and encourages people to apply.
“We’re excited at the amount of interest shown by parents and students in the Las Vegas community,” said Carol Leavitt, principal of the Founders Academy. “This school will be the first of its kind, (a) liberal arts charter school. I’m looking forward to starting a new method of teaching the same skills that we’ve always taught students.”
Elementary grades will consist of 27 students per grade with one teacher and one aide, while grades sixth through 10th will have 20 students per grade.
The school plans to add 11th grade next year and 12th grade in 2016.
One of the graduating requirements for seniors would be to write a thesis, present it and orally dissent it in front of the entire faculty, according to Moreno.
Those on the wait list will be selected for the following school year on a lottery basis. There are no entrance requirements, and any child can apply through foundersacademylv.com.
“We’re going to be able to bring an alternative education model to Clark County that will lift the overall education of the entire community,” Moreno said. “Every child in Nevada deserves a quality-first education.”
Source: Las Vegas Review Journal – by Sandy Lopez
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