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Assumption School Officials Explore Converting Building to Charter School

The announcement comes after the Archdiocese of New York announced last month plans to close the Assumption School at the end of this school year..

Editor's Note: The following announcement was sent by the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill. If you would like to post your news to Patch, click here.
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In the wake of Assumption’s School closing, Father John Higgins has announced that he will explore the possibility of using the school building as a home for a new public charter school. A Founding Board has been organized and has filed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the New York State Education Department—one of two charter school authorizers in New York State.

As public schools, charter schools are free and open to all students, including those with disabilities.

Charter schools are non-selective; they enroll students through a non-discriminatory admissions lottery. Each charter school is governed by a volunteer board of trustees, which typically includes educators, community members, and leaders from the private sector.

Charter schools were established to provide families with educational choice and educators with the flexibility to create schools that best meet the needs of their students. Charters have freedom to establish their own policies, design their own educational program, and manage their human and financial resources. In exchange, they are held accountable for raising achievement and helping their students meet state learning standards. There are currently 244 charter schools authorized in New York State.

Said Higgins:“Assumption School has provided Peekskill families with an educational option for over 100 years. With its closing, there will be a real void. One of the ways to fill that void is to establish a public charter school at no cost to families. Of course, it would be open to any Peekskill child. I would welcome the building being used as it has been used for all these years—to educate generations of Peekskill’s children.”

If the authorizers accept the Founding Board’s application, the charter school will open its doors in September 2014 and will begin serving children from Kindergarten through third grade with a plan to add one grade a year up until 8th grade. It will stress high academic standards and, though Higgins makes it clear that it will not be a Catholic school, it will be guided by a values-infused curriculum with a goal of forming students who can reflect on their choices and actions and establish a community of mutual respect, interdependence, perseverance and integrity.

The Board will hold town meetings at various locations throughout Peekskill to educate the community and gather feedback. Community members may also contact guardianacademypeekskill@gmail.com for further information.

theobserver February 15, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Bravo Father Higgins!
Ray Adamick February 15, 2013 at 10:10 PM
What a good idea to a school in the downtown area, better yet, a non Foster idea!
Dutch February 15, 2013 at 10:24 PM
And how is this school funded? We do not need another school that will raise our already to high school taxes.
Ray Adamick February 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM
What a downer, just be happy that it's still a school and not a business that we don't really need.
elizabeth February 15, 2013 at 10:59 PM
i agree with you dutch school taxes are already too high
sayitsnotsojack February 16, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Help them out however we can, imagine what the free spending and tax current school board and adminstration of the renowed Peekskill school district would want to spend if the Assumption kids come into the district. Look what they are going to spend to open Uriah Hill.
Wendy Kelly February 16, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Haven't heard a bad thing yet about a Charter School. Know a kid that is a 2nd grade Bronx ans President of his class and told his Grandma we have issues that we present to the school official. That is our future Brandon rocks and models in Babino Vogue this month.
Common sense February 16, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Great Ideal, wrong building and leadership. The Gaurdian has served it's purpose and has many great memories but it's old and outdated. It has many issues that will cost money to fix and update and the parish management has proven that it can't finance a school on it's own or has the leadership to do so. It is not Handicap friendly and if you pass by you'll see air conditioners in some windows not winterized, some windows just plain open and can't close. Paint peeling off from different area's of the old Gaurdian Building and school, "Is it lead paint?". No proper FIRE ZONE around the building connected to the parking lot. "Why hasn't Peekskill City Code Enforcement or Peekskill Fire Marshall's picked up on this?" The only thing this Charter School at the Our Lady of the Assumption and Gaurdian will do is satitfy a hand full of people who are afraid to send their children to public schools or have the finances to keep them in Catholic Schools. It's Parish leader has also proven that he CAN'T manage it's finances, The Archdiocese has full control over the Assumptions books because of it's carelessness and grossly misshandling of it's money, the real reason the parish lost it's schooling in the first place.
Patty Villanova February 16, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Having gone to the Assumption school more years ago than I care to admit, I think the idea of turning it into a charter school is a good one. Many parents in this area do not want to send their kids to public schools for a variety of reasons that are their own. Why can't they have school choice since they are paying Westchester/Putnam sky high property taxes? Why must they be forced to send their children to state schools that are mainly indoctrination centers for the culture du jour? Catholic schools in particular have shown that they can do an excellent job of really educating students in the basics: reading, writing and math. Public schools are a perfect example that throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it. We pay some of the highest costs per pupil in the USA yet it doesn't translate to better test scores or other benchmark improvements. Charter schools have shown that they can be successful even in the poorest neighborhoods. Right now the Assumptiion school is serving a very challenged population of recent immigrants, many of whom don't speak English; imagine what the cost per pupil will be to "educate" these kids in Peekskill's public schools with all the special ed mandates and other high cost extras. Parents/taxpayers should be allowed to have a choice as to where they send their children to be schooled.
Kirsten Berger February 17, 2013 at 04:40 PM
You think our school taxes are too high? Compare them to other towns where the schools are much better and then you wouldn't be saying that!
Joe Shmoe February 21, 2013 at 06:48 AM
For one...they may have picked up on it..however schools do not fall under building codes..they fall under educational law and churches yet another. It could be the building is old law and is grandfathered from having to update to newer codes/laws. I agree with you..stinks..but sometimes it is what it is.
Suzanne DiMicco February 22, 2013 at 02:54 AM
After reading the application, I personally would have liked to see the "anticipated" vision of the school be directed at the 100% of the community and not the 40% - that is truly dissapointing. All in all, who wouldn't want another choice for their kid(s)?

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