|Charter school proposed at Bingham Elementary site|
|Lansing State Journal|
By: Kathleen Lavey
|July 11, 2012|
|Board to consider endorsing endeavor
The mothballed Bingham Elementary could become a health-focused charter school in the fall of 2013 under a proposal the Lansing school board is expected to receive Thursday night.
President Myra Ford said she is willing to consider the idea of
endorsing a charter school if the board can determine it will benefit students
The Lansing School District has previously been reluctant to authorize charter schools connected to the district. Five independent charters lie within the district’s boundaries, including Lansing Charter Academy, Cole Academy, Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Academy. Windemere Park Academy on West Saginaw Highway is a stone’s throw from the district’s border.
The school’s concept is being created by the Michigan Public Health Institute and would be operated by Choice School Associates, a Grand Rapids-based school management firm. The Lansing School District and Central Michigan would sponsor the school’s charter and an independent board would govern it.
“We really want to help children to be active and healthy as they move towards an independent and successful future,” said Cynthia Cameron, chief program officer for the Michigan Public Health Institute. She said the focus would include social, emotional and physical health.
The school would start with kindergarten through third-grade and could expand through sixth-grade.
Bingham’s proximity to Sparrow Hospital and Eastern High School, as well as an ongoing health initiative on the east side sponsored by the Allen Neighborhood Center, make it an attractive location, Cameron said.A handful of Michigan’s more than 500 school districts sponsor charter schools, including Detroit, Harper Woods, Livonia, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Suttons Bay, said Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association for Public School Academies.“They need to look at what they’re trying to accomplish, what they might not be able to do through the district itself,” Quisenberry said. “It’s a great conversation. I’m glad they’re having it.”
Detroit Public Schools has authorized 14 charter schools, including several high schools for academically at-risk students, schools with a science and technology focus and schools that focus on college prep.
The Suttons Bay school district, near Traverse City, operated a Montessori school that it broke off as a charter school.
“It was so unique that it needed to be independent, but the district wanted to maintain its relationship to the school,” Quisenberry said. “It also provided some opportunities for other families, not just in Suttons Bay.”The Lansing School District closed Bingham, Elmhurst and Wainwright elementary schools and Ottto Middle School in June as part of a massive restructuring plan that now includes prekindergarten through third-grade buildings, fourth- through sixth-grade buildings, and moving seventh and eighth-graders into the district’s three high schools. That will start at Sexton and Eastern high schools this fall and at Everett High School in the fall of 2014.
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