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Opportunities for faculty cited as board seeks state OK to take over another school

ARISE Academy’s administration wants to become a charter management organization and run an additional school, the board revealed at its monthly meeting, July 15.

Principal Andrew Shahan said seeking the added challenge was motivated in part by the desire to give faculty the opportunity for continuing growth and professional advancement.

The board has not publicly named the school it might seek to take over, beyond saying that it does not intend to start a school from scratch or charter one of the generally troubled schools currently run directly by the Recovery School District. It will submit an application to the state’s board of education before the July 31 deadline.

Separately, ARISE, now in the fourth year of a five-year contract, plans to file for an extension of its charter.

According to BESE’s Bulletin 126 which governs charter school operations, a charter will be extended if all of the following criteria are met: a) financial risk assessment in year 3 does not require “dialogue”; b) no violation of legal or contractual standards by the charter, and c) the school meets at least one of the following performance standards: a school performance score in year 3 above Academically Unacceptable School (AUS) status or Assessment Index in year 3 above AUS status.

Currently, the school’s performance score is 67.1, an upward trend but still below the state minimum mandate of 75.

Regarding the effort to become a charter management organization, ARISE principal Andrew Shahan told the board he was confident his staff could replicate the academic improvement and school growth achieved at ARISE.

“I feel we have everything in place here at the school right now to manage another school and achieve great results,” Shahan added. “The quality of our teaching and management staff is top notch and is only getting better… we can’t afford to lose educators because we can’t offer them room for professional growth.”

Shahan would be head of schools of the as yet unnamed charter management organization, if it is approved.

In other business, Shahan reported that the ARISE building was left a mess after  former co-tenant, Charles Drew Elementary, vacated the premises on July 1. But help volunteer organizations means classrooms will be ready for the beginning of the school term.

ARISE is still in line to move to the Carver Modular Campus for the 2013-2014 school year when a yearlong building renovation takes place.

Also, school officials announced that ARISE would switch food vendors for the upcoming school year. With a $4,458 grant from Propeller, a local non-profit dedicated to healthy food access, the school will partner with Sodexo dining services to provide all school lunches and suppers.

The cost is roughly same as charged by the previous food service.

The board has scheduled a  budget hearing for August 15 at 6 p.m. The budget draft will be available for public viewing early next week.

The next board meeting is August 15 at 6:30 p.m., following the budget hearing.

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