The Guardian Academy, if it’s approved by the state Education Department, won’t be another Assumption School, according to organizers.
But officials are hopeful the charter school can help fill the hole that is created when the Assumption School closes at the end of this school year. A group of Peekskill community members are applying to the state for the creation of a charter school at the Assumption School building, with the goal of opening in 2014.
Charter schools are public institutions that are run independently by a board of parents and other community members. They receive their funding through a per pupil formula that is determined by the state and paid by the school district the institution is located in.
“We realize that there’s such a void and we feel think that this could provide parents in the community with another option,” said Audrey Warn, a member of the founding board responsible for the charter’s school application to the state. “All kids learn differently and this is one way we can reach more kids and give them all they need to be successful.”
Warn said the charter school’s founding board is made up of six members. Warn is the only board members who is also an Assumption School parent.
“The ultimate goal was trying to find a way to keep the Assumption School open,” Warn said. “We just found out about the Assumption School, so all of this came about quickly.”
To date, 244 charter schools have been given the go-ahead to open in this state as of January. The Amani Public Charter School in Mount Vernon and the Charter School of Educational Excellence in Yonkers are the only two charter schools in Westchester County that are currently open.
Warn said an application was submitted to the state earlier this month and decision is expected during the summer.
Even if the school is approved, Assumption parents should not count on being able to just enroll their kids at the Guardian Academy.
“The Assumption School building will be closed next year, even if we’re lucky enough to get approval,” Warn said.
To start, the academy would open with grades K-3, with each grade containing two classes with about 25 students apiece. An additional grade level would be added each year following the school’s opening, with the eighth grade being the highest grade level.
By law, religion classes can’t be taught at the school. But there will be character education component to the curriculum, Warn said.
“Ultimately, it’s not just about academic success,” Warn said. “It’s also about being a good citizen.”
Warn said it is still unclear if any modifications would need to be made to the Assumption School building in order for it to operate as a charter school.
“We’ll find that out after our application is reviewed,” Warn said.
In the meantime, Warn said public meetings will be scheduled throughout the community in order to gain public feedback. People can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if they have additional questions.