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Old 04-08-2008, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, TX
69 posts, read 302,607 times
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Ok, call me stupid but what is a charter school and what makes it different than a regulr public school? I'm talking about elementary. I see so many offered in the Denver area.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,352 posts, read 113,945,069 times
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A charter school has a charter from the school district in which it is located. Charters in Boulder Valley get 95% of the per-pupil funding that the neighborhood schools get. Charter schools have some special focus, such as Montessori, Core Knowledge, etc. They have no attendance areas. Students are selected by lottery. The history of charter schools in my district, Boulder Valley is that they have usually been started by a group of parents, and in one case, by a group of teachers, that have a "vision" for a school. They are exempt from the regular district curriculum, but must adhere to state standards. They are free to hire/fire their own teachers, who need not be certified teachers. They are free from the union contracts. In some schools, parents/kids do some of the janitorial work, etc.

The original intent of the charter school law was to provide alternatives for low-income children. However, many of them instead appeal to affluent parents who think the regular public schools are not up to par.

Some charter schools are very successful, and some are not. There was an article in the Sunday Denver Post about a failed charter school, in Brighton, I believe. The charter school in BVSD started by a group of middle school teachers who wanted a middle school that was run on "middle school essentials" also failed.

I would suggest a google search for more information.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, TX
69 posts, read 302,607 times
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Hmmm...I don't know if I like that whole idea. Are there any good catholic private schools in the denver area? I don't think we could afford one, but just in case.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:33 PM
 
Location: CO
2,793 posts, read 6,635,940 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txspamom View Post
Hmmm...I don't know if I like that whole idea. Are there any good catholic private schools in the denver area? I don't think we could afford one, but just in case.
Our great Denver index thread comes to the rescue once again:

Under the "Schools" section:

- K-8 Catholic Schools?
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:18 PM
 
148 posts, read 617,167 times
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Disclaimer: I'm a Montessori educator.

Please don't let Katiana's post scare you. The facts she listed are true, but what it boils down to is that a Charter school is a vehicle for other education methods to get public funding so that they can serve a district's youth just the same as standard education methods. Personally, I think if anything will save our school systems, it's the charter concept. It provides the competition that the system needs while bypassing a lot of politics.

For instance, it's a great way to get a Montessori education to many families that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. Some charters don't work, but many are excellent schools. As was said earlier, they still have to perform to state standards so check the individual rating of each school. And I would implore you to research INDIVIDUAL schools before making a decision. Certainly before dismissing the entire concept of a charter school altogether.

Good luck!!
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,352 posts, read 113,945,069 times
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I was not intending to scare anyone off from charter schools, I was trying to explain what they are. Though I never made that choice for my kids, I am glad for charter schools b/c I think some people who are not happy with the public school system send their kids to charters, instead of pulling them out and sending them to private school. I think it is preferable to keep the public schools strong. There is a charter high school in BVSD that was started by a judge for kids who have been in trouble with the law. One of the requirements is that they be accepted to a college to graduate. This could not be a requirement at a traditional public high school.

BTW, BVSD has another type of choice school called a "focus" school. (I believe Jeffco has the same type of school, but they call them "option" schools.) These schools operate within the district curriculum, but apply it in their own way. One of these schools in BVSD is a Montessori school. The difference between a charter and a focus school is that focus schools have teachers hired through the regular school personnel system and have the same graduation requirements as the neighborhood schools. BVSD also has a Core Knowledge focus school and an integrated studies focus school. Peak to Peak, OTOH, is a Core Knowledge charter in the elementary grades.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, TX
69 posts, read 302,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
They are free to hire/fire their own teachers, who need not be certified teachers.
This is the only part that worried me. I'm going to certainly do research. I wish I could afford catholic school...I went to private schools all my life and I feel I got a good education and at the same time, learned about God and the faith. I'm not overly religious or overly catholic (if there is such a thing) but I did enjoy those things about my own education and I would love my children to experience that too.

I've only checked into one so far $700 per month for both kids...possibly if we lower our rent payment.....LOL
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:01 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 12,448,827 times
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It seems to me that many charters have some specific educational philosophy in mind, and tend to attract families that believe in that philosophy. Common approaches are Montessori, Dual-Language, Core Knowledge, Classical, Arts-Centric Education, Science and Technology Focus, etc.

I've been doing all kinds of reading on the various philosophies -- and I find that I like ALL of them, but not necessarily all of them seem a good fit for my own child. Since children are all different, I think that the key is knowing your own child, and finding a curriculum that matches your child's learning needs and styles.

For this reason, I'm very enthusiastic about charters, because I like the idea of being able to tailor the school to the needs of my child, rather than the other way around. Recognizing, of course, that for many children the traditional neighborhood school may end up being the best choice of all.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:08 PM
 
148 posts, read 617,167 times
Reputation: 88
Hi again, folks...

First thing: Katiana, I hope it didn't come off as me thinking you were intentionally trying to scare.

Second: On teacher certification...

Quote:
Originally Posted by txspamom View Post
This is the only part that worried me.
There are some useful things to be learned from teacher certification programs if one is going to teach in standard schools. (Been there, done that...) That having been said, by no means are they an indicator of whether a person is a good teacher or not.

FYI, many, many Catholic schools employ teachers that have not completed a state certification program. Only recently has the trend started to reverse, and that's mostly because it's a marketing tactic. The general population hears or reads that a school's teachers aren't certified, and they gasp and go elsewhere.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:39 PM
 
1,472 posts, read 2,496,163 times
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Default charter schools...

What are they? I have seen them mentioned sporadically in different areas of Denver.

I wonder if they are a very GOOD thing...or are they SUB-par schools?

Can someone elaborate for me? Thanks.

Last edited by suzco; 04-20-2008 at 06:08 PM.. Reason: merged post with existing thread
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