Charter school enrollment up in Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Charter school enrollment up in Michigan

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(08/01/12) - More than 8, 900 students were enrolled in the Flint Community School district during the 2011 2012 school year.

According to a district spokesperson, that number indicates a decline in enrollment.

The spokesperson says one reason is more students are enrolling in charter schools.

According to Emily Zeltman, the spokesperson for National Heritage Academy, charter school enrollment is up 6.7 percent in the state of Michigan.

Zeltman says her office has received more than 39,000 applications from parents wanting to put their children in charter schools in Michigan.

Local parents say they're leaning toward charter schools more now than ever before.

Danna Robinson's 14-year-old son attended Ridgefield Academy in Flint. She says the school offered a quality education, something she didn't feel he was getting before.

"The curriculum is better for the kids as far as classroom size. It's smaller, they have an extra teacher in there so that if a kid is behind, you got somebody there that would be there to help them out," she said.

Calvin Sims is the principal at New Standard, a new charter opening in Flint. He's going door to door trying to make his pitch directly to parents.

"We're around 100 students enrolled right now and we're looking to exceed that and get around 400 students. Maybe a little bit more for kindergarten through fifth grade. Our hope will be to have three classes per grade level , so that's K-5. Up around 24 students or less," he said.

Sims says The New Standard also focuses on smaller classroom sizes and more hands on training for students.

"We need that for our children. Without the hands on, our kids can be left behind. It's worthless because they leave a child behind, that's crazy because they are being left behind in Flint schools," Robinson said.

"For the balance of the day, we're going to focus a lot on our main classes such as math, reading, technology, English, and things like that, and our goal is we want to keep this building opened as much as possible," Sims said.

New Standard Charter School is sharing space in the Powers Catholic building on Carpenter Road. Powers will move to its new campus near Michigan School for the Deaf next year.

ABC12 was not able to reach Flint School Superintendent Linda Thompson.

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