Three new charter schools slated for the Flint area in the fall - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Three new charter schools slated for the Flint area in the fall

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(04/09/12) - If all goes as planned, three new charter schools will be opening in the Flint area come fall.

According to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, The New Standard will be housed in the Flint Powers building when Powers moves into Flint.

Alternative Path will also open along with the Greater Heights Academy.

The Greater Heights Academy plans to open its school in what was once a Kmart on Pierson Road in Mt. Morris Township.

Michigan's laws changed last year, removing the cap on the number of charter schools that can open.

"We know, unfortunately, that too many schools don't meet the needs of kids or prepare them well for the 21st century. The goal really is to drive that equality," says Dan Quisenberry, president of the MAPSA.

The Greater Heights Academy will be modeled after the Holly Academy, in Holly, in Oakland County, one of the top performing charter schools in the state.

"If you look at our cumulative score, last year we were, I think, number four in Oakland County. That's huge," says Lisa Leimeister, Deputy Director at the Holly Academy.  It's an independent, not for profit charter school.

The enrollment numbers at the Holly Academy appear impressive too.

"Eleven years ago when I started, I believe we were right around 300 students.  This year we're at 850 some," says Travis Craven, a teacher at the Holly Academy.

They estimate they could have well over 900 students next year.

Craven will be the Dean of Students, or assistant principal, at the Great Heights Academy in the Flint area where those here hope to replicate this success.

"We've always wanted to take the structures that we have here and take them and put them into an urban setting because we believe that they will work," Leimeister said.

She'll be making the move too.

She estimates they could start with 350 students in grades K-5 with another grade added each year.

Leimeister says small class size, for example, is key. 

They cap it at around 25-27 students.

"I'm going to put the same structures there that are here.  You have to have those engaged parents. You have to have those high expectations for students and high expectations for teachers," she says.

Leimeister says their charter goes before the board of trustees at Central Michigan University later this week for final approval.

The other two schools are already authorized.

According to the MAPSA, The New Standard is authorized by Saginaw Valley State University and Alternative Path is authorized by the Genesee Intermediate School District.

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