Senoia charter school plans moving forward

Thu, 04/30/2009 - 1:57pm
By: Ben Nelms

Plans are moving forward for the establishment of a charter school in Senoia. Charter Schools USA representatives held their second meeting with the parents of potential students last week at the Freeman Sasser Building, laying out their plans and updating the more than 40 in attendance. A petition to establish the school will be sent to Coweta County School Board in May.

Charter Vice President of Operations Richard Page and Georgia representative Danny Brewington attended the meeting as they had done in March. They were accompanied by a Charter Schools USA Principal, Eric Lewis, and Assistant Principal Denise Thompson.

School representatives told parents they were winding up the petition process for submission to Coweta County School Board for consideration. Page said the petition will be submitted in May. The school board has 60 days to approve or deny the proposal, Page said, adding that he thought the board might vote on the proposal in June or July.

“So by Aug. 1 we must have approval in order to open in 2010,” Page said of the plan to open the K-8 school.

As in the previous meeting, Brewington explained that, if approved to operate, the Senoia school would be a public school with no tuition and open to countywide enrollment. Brewington said the school would be part of the Coweta school system with funding would come from public dollars. The school would be required to maintain accountability to the county and state for results. Charter schools are tied to Georgia Performance Standards, Page added.

And as was stated in March, Page said the company’s student retention rate exceeded 90 percent.

Lewis and Thompson provided an overview of the company’s various campuses and the strategies used by the school’s to ensure student success and parent communication.

“The most important thing is for you to know what your child is doing,” Lewis said. “So the mechanism of reporting to parents is critical. Every student has an individual learning plan with parent participation. It’s part of our system-wide education model that’s research-driven with tailored instruction.”

Lewis said the model uses multiple levels assessment to track student performance.

Both Thompson and Lewis said Charter Schools USA views students and parents as customers, noting that they will leave and go elsewhere for their education if the school does not meet or exceed expectations.

Responding to numerous questions, school representatives addressed the grading process, the anticipated partnership with local businesses such as Riverwood Studios, the culture of high achievement and safety, dress codes and foreign language instruction in all grades.

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