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|August 14, 2012 - 31 New Charter Schools Opening in Michigan This Fall: ‘Innovation at Every Turn’|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vice President of Communications
31 New Charter Schools Opening in Michigan This Fall: ‘Innovation at Every Turn’
LANSING, Michigan (August 14, 2012) – Parents throughout Michigan will have a number of innovative new school options this fall, as 31 new charter schools are opening around the state. The list of new charter schools was released today by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association. With these new sites, there are now 276 charter schools in Michigan.
The new charter schools are located where parents want them, particularly in southeast Michigan, including 10 new schools in Detroit. There are also new charter schools opening in Brighton, Farmington Hills, Flint, Grand Rapids, Harper Woods, Hamtramck, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Plymouth, Saginaw, St. Helen, Tawas City, Ypsilanti and Zeeland. There’s a mix of elementary schools, K-8 buildings and high schools.
“When you look at the list of new public charter schools, you’ll see there’s innovation at every turn,” said Dan Quisenberry, President of MAPSA. “There’s a high school in Detroit that’s located at a hospital, giving students a head start on a career in the medical field. There’s a language-immersion school in Farmington Hills where children will be learning Chinese in kindergarten. There are blended-learning schools in Lansing and Grand Rapids that will look and feel like small colleges, offering a mix of online and classroom learning.
“What we see is that charter schools are meeting the promise of being accountable and innovative,” Quisenberry added. “Parents now have more public school options for their children as they look for the right educational fit.”
Quisenberry also pointed out one new charter school that’s opening this fall in St. Helen, a small town in Roscommon County in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.
“A few years ago, the only elementary school in this small town of St. Helen closed down, and the parents were distraught,” Quisenberry said. “They were upset that they were losing their local school, and they weren’t happy that their children were going to be bused out of town to go to school. So they spent several years putting together a quality plan to reopen their local school as a charter school, and this fall, their dream is becoming a reality. This is innovation in its purest form – a group of parents, educators and community leaders coming together to build a new school that will fit the needs of their students.”
The new charter school in St. Helen is called the Charlton Heston Academy – named for the late actor, who grew up in the town.
The list of new schools also includes two Turnaround Schools – traditional public school districts that have chartered all of their school buildings – Highland Park Public Schools and Muskegon Heights Public Schools.
Nine charter schools are also closing this year, and another is merging with a different charter school. That brings the total number of charter schools in Michigan for 2012-2013 to 276.
There were 255 charter schools in the state last year, educating more than 115,000 students (about 7 percent of the statewide total).
The charter school landscape in Michigan changed in late 2011, when Gov. Rick Snyder signed SB618 into law. The legislation raised the cap on the number of university-authorized charter schools allowed in the state. Public universities will authorize 20 of the 31 new charter schools opening this fall (the law would have allowed up to 150 new university-authorized schools).
“Opponents of school choice tried to instill the fear that if the cap was lifted, we were going to see a flood of new charter schools opening across the state,” Quisenberry said. “As we can see, those fears were unfounded. With these new schools, the focus is still entirely on quality and innovation. The university authorizers continue to be extremely careful and diligent when it comes to approving new schools. It’s very difficult to open a charter school in Michigan, as it should be. That’s never going to change.”
New charter schools for the 2012-2013 school year:
Cornerstone Health High School. Authorized by Grand Valley State University, the high school will operate in a partnership with the Detroit Medical Center, and will be part of the Cornerstone Schools network.
Detroit Innovation Academy. Authorized by Central Michigan University, this is a sister school to the Detroit Leadership Academy. It will open as a K-5 building, and will add a grade each year until it’s a K-12 facility.
Escuela Avancemos. Authorized by Grand Valley State University, the elementary school is an outreach of Avancemos! Educational Services, a multilingual and multicultural provider of tutoring and educational enrichment in the Detroit area.
Madison Carver Academy. Authorized by Grand Valley State University, the school will start as a K-4 building, and will eventually add grades 5-8. It will be part of the Cornerstone Schools network.
WAY Academy Detroit. Authorized by Lake Superior State University, WAY Academy is a high school designed for students who have struggled in a traditional school setting. WAY stands for “Widening Advancements for Youth.”
WSC Academy. Authorized by Lake Superior State University, there will be WSC Academy campuses in both Brighton and Ypsilanti. WSC Academy is an alternative education high school that will combine classroom learning with online education. The school day will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., giving students the opportunity to both work and attend school.
Faxon Language Immersion Academy. Authorized by Grand Valley State University, the school will serve grades K-5. Faxon will offer an internationally focused education through language immersion. Among other offerings, students will be taught Chinese or Spanish beginning in kindergarten.
The New Standard. Authorized by Saginaw Valley State University, the school will open as a K-5 building and will add a grade each year until it’s a K-12 school. It will be managed by the Romine Group, which manages four other charter schools in Michigan. It will be located in the Flint Powers Catholic High School building.
Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology. Authorized by Lake Superior State University, the school will be an arts-focused middle and high school. The school was founded by gospel singer and Pastor Marvin Sapp.
Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids. Authorized by Central Michigan University, the school will be a blended-learning high school managed by Connections Education, the company that manages the Michigan Connections Academy, a cyber charter school in Okemos. There will also be a Nexus Academy opening in Lansing this year.
River City Scholars Charter Academy. Authorized by Bay Mills Community College, the school will be a K-8 building managed by National Heritage Academies, the state’s largest charter school management company.
Starr Detroit Academy. Authorized by Central Michigan University, the school will open as a K-5 building and will be located in the former Bishop Gallagher High School facility.
Academy of International Studies. Authorized by Central Michigan University, the school will be a K-5 building that will establish relationships with sister schools in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
Caniff Liberty Academy. Authorized by Oakland University, this will be a K-8 school with an educational program designed to meet the multi-cultural needs of the community.
Evergreen Academy. Authorized by Grand Valley State University, the school will be a K-6 building managed by the Foundation for Behavioral Resources, which manages three other charter schools in Michigan.
Learn, Live, Lead Academy. Authorized by Bay Mills Community College, the school will serve grades K-6 and will be a business-focused entrepreneurial academy.
Nexus Academy of Lansing. Authorized by Central Michigan University, the school will be a blended-learning high school managed by Connections Education, the company that manages the Michigan Connections Academy, a cyber charter school in Okemos. There will also be a Nexus Academy opening in Grand Rapids this year.
Michigan School for the Arts. Authorized by Oakland University, this is a K-8 school offering a college preparatory curriculum with a focus on the performing and visual arts.
Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy. Authorized by Bay Mills Community College, the school will be a K-8 building managed by National Heritage Academies, the state’s largest charter school management company.
Wolverine Academy. Authorized by Saginaw Valley State University, Wolverine Academy will have three campuses – two in Detroit and one in Saginaw. All three will be strict discipline academies (a special designation of charter school designed for students that have been expelled, suspended or are in the judicial system). The Saginaw campus of Wolverine Academy will be a secure facility serving incarcerated students.
Charlton Heston Academy. Authorized by Lake Superior State University, this K-8 school is located in Roscommon County in the northern Lower Peninsula. The school is several years in the making, and was formed by a group of local parents when the only elementary school in the small town of St. Helen closed down. The school is named for the late Charlton Heston, who grew up in St. Helen.
South Pointe Scholars Charter Academy. Authorized by Northern Michigan University, the school will be located in the Willow Run area, on Ypsilanti’s eastern edge. The school will be a K-8 building managed by National Heritage Academies, the state’s largest charter school management company.
Innocademy. Authorized by Lake Superior State University, Innocademy will be a K-8 school. It’s not technically a new school; it’s been operating as a magnet school within the Zeeland Public Schools district, and is now converting to a charter school.
In addition to the schools being chartered by state universities and community colleges, the following charter schools will also be opening this year, authorized by local school districts and intermediate school districts:
DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
HIGHLAND PARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
IOSCO REGIONAL EDUCATIONAL SERVICE AGENCY
The Michigan Association of Public School Academies advances quality education through choice and innovation. MAPSA has been the unified voice of the public charter school movement in Michigan since 1996. MAPSA represents more than 115,000 students, 5,000 teachers, dozens of authorizers and more than 50 education service providers working in 255 public charter schools in the state. MAPSA assists the state’s public charter schools in their mission to deliver achievement, choice and accountability through advocacy, communications, technical assistance and professional development services. For additional information, please visit www.charterschools.org.