Mosier prepares to open charter school

Mosier community members have created the first Charter School in the Gorge. The board of directors and Administration leader Carole Schmidt, hope to create one of the best primary learning centers in the Gorge, according to Schmidt.

The school charges no tuition and the present enrollment has a low teacher-student ratio. As of Thursday, enrollment was at 88, slightly larger than the spring 2003 figure.

Enrollment continues weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the school through Aug. 27. For more information please contact Tami Berthold at the school, 478-3321.

Schmidt said the Mosier school board, administrators and teachers have decided to select the following priorities for their new school: a multi-age learning environment to allow children to flex their various skill levels and incorporate themes across a broad spectrum of subjects, to focus on core subjects in the morning hours and an afternoon emphasis on Spanish, science, music, art and computers.

Volunteers will provide more one-on-one time with students and offer a Spanish immersion pre-school and enrichment kindergarten.

Volunteers are needed and encouraged. Please call if you are interested in helping with: reading, science, art, music, Spanish, physical education or a mini course on just about anything.

Charter School legislation allows for special nonsectarian public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. The “charter” is a performance document contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success, according to Schmidt.

She said the length of time for which charters are granted varies, but most are granted for 3-5 years. At the end of the term, the Chenowith school board, which grants the charter, may renew the school’s contract. Charter schools are accountable to their sponsor — usually local school board — to produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they exercise increased autonomy in return for this accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the public that funds them.

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