If successful in its bid, the academy would become what’s called an “instrumentality” of the district. It would retain considerable autonomy but receive state education funding and be tuition-free just like any public school. As an instrumentality charter, the School Board would have ultimate governance responsibility and employ the school staff.
The academy’s leaders say the Montessori method would help the district close achievement gaps while expanding options for students who aren’t thriving in conventional schools. The educational approach, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, includes multi-age classroom groupings, customized learning plans, uninterrupted blocks of work time, guided choice of work activity, and specially designed learning materials.
The district’s charter school review committee evaluated the school’s initial proposal last summer and fall and found it met preliminary expectations in 10 of 11 areas. However, it fell short in its five-year budget plan.
Members of the charter review committee for the proposal are: Kelly Ruppel, district chief of staff; Nancy Hanks, chief of elementary schools; Alex Fralin, chief of secondary education; and Sylla Zarov, principal of Franklin Elementary School.