A public schools’ job is to create a standardized environment for students of the general population; however, public schools don’t always meet the needs of the students. Charter schools exist to meet the needs of the students and are more open to parental involvement and local control over state and bureaucracies’ control. However, “charter schools may deter some minority, poor, and working families from seeking enrollment by requiring them to complete volunteer hours and failing to provide transportation and free lunches to eligible students” (Schnaiberg 2000). My school I create will take the benefits of public schools and the benefits of charter schools to create an emphasis on individual learning and respect for cultural diversity. My school offers students in preschool through twelfth grade, an extended school day and longer school year, because most of December is off. My secular school is founded on respecting and encouraging other religions thus the school works around religious holidays, creating all secular and religious holidays off days.
School is in session September 3rd through June 20th. Students in early childhood education program and kindergarten are in class Monday-Friday 7:30am-12:30 pm. Students in first through fifth are in class Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:45 pm. Students in sixth through eighth are in class Monday-Friday 6:45am-4:45 pm. Students in ninth through twelfth are in class Monday-Friday 6am-12:30 pm. Students in ninth through twelfth grade are required to have a Monday-Friday work experience internship; students under sixteen have an on-campus internship (1-4pm), while students over sixteen have an off-campus internship (1:30-4:30pm). My school’s goals are to have students by the end of twelfth grade be able to understand and comprehend at or near college level. In addition, students will learn three languages (English, Spanish, and another), read music sheets, be able to play a musical instrument or sing, have life skills, and have a knowledge of the diverse world we live in. All students preschool through twelfth grade will learn English composition, math, science, grammar, social sciences, geography, reading, literature, foreign languages, visual/performing arts (music, art, theatre, and dance), cultural diversity, U.S. government/economy, and physical education. Middle school students will learn speech: interpersonal communication, small group communication, argumentation, intercultural communication, public speaking, and forensics/debate. Middle school and high school students will learn required electives: basic life skills, introduction to computers, cultures of the world, nutrition/health/safety/careers, life skills, philosophy/religions/cultural anthropology, and human sexuality/anatomy/physiology. My school’s goals are to have students prepared for college and/or having a job as well as serving in the community. In addition to a work experience internship, high school students are required to take personal electives, which are any additional high school electives taken through the local community college or 30 units of college units though AP, CLEP, Dantes, etc. Middle school students are required to take personal electives, which are any additional middle school electives that are high school level. All students sixth through twelfth are required to complete community service to graduate and achieve units (10 units=20 hrs). Middle school students are required to complete at least sixty hours of community service and high school students are required to complete at least eighty hours of community service to graduate. Middle school students are required 360 units to graduate including personal electives and community service; high school students are required 520 units to graduate including personal electives, work internship, and community service. Summer school is required for middle school and high school students. Students are required at least twenty units. Repertory and accelerated classes available. My school holds a high standard for the teachers as well for the students. Students are expected to behave, strive for excellence, respect others, have a good character, and be willing to learn, while the faculty is expected to do the same. “Most charter schools do not require their teachers to be certified” (Borsa 1999). However, my school requires all teachers K-5th to hold a Teaching Credential and a Masters Degree and teachers 6th-12th are required to hold a Masters or Doctoral Degree in the area they teach. My school promotes a healthy life style, school uniforms, and parent involvement. Parents are required to pay one fee that covers all school material, lunches, schools uniforms, field trips, and other necessary items.
The food at my school, which is free, and healthy, that means no soft drinks, cookies, candy, chips, or any other junk food; all birthdays at school will be celebrated without unhealthy food. Parents are encouraged to eat healthy and show students healthy life styles. Students are required to wear a school uniform, a short-sleeved tee shirt with school logo and black pants/shorts/dress/skirt or for formal attire is long-sleeved shirt and black pants/shorts /dress/skirt. The shirt will have a color to represent a grade: Pre-K: Pink, K: Purple 1st: Blue, 2nd: Turquoise, 3rd: Green, 4th: Light Green, 5th: Yellow, 6th: Orange, 7th: Red, 8th: Maroon, 9th: Brown, 10th: Black, 11th: Gray, and 12th: White. Like the school uniform, backpacks will be in the color of the school uniform and have the students name on it. My school has no state standardized tests, but the use of state standards. Instead students are required to test into each grade through a test that measures their cognitive and behavioral level. The complete cognitive test has twenty-seven essays and 2030 multiple choice/true-false questions, which is two essays and 140 or 150 questions per grade. The cognitive test measures what the student should know by the end of each grade. Students can challenge an exam if they feel the grade or class they are in doesn’t reflect their abilities. In addition, students are required to take a “test out exam “in each subject. It serves as a measure for student learning, and an evaluation for teachers and parents. This exam is compared to the “test in exam” and options for tutoring/after school help for struggling students. If student doesn’t score higher than 80 percent on an exam, they won’t be promoted to the next class or grade unless they successfully retake the exam. The exam can be retaken twice before the student must repeat a grade of class. My school doesn’t use the Standard Letter Grade, but gives students the option for it. Instead of standard letter grades, students in K-5 will have a grade of Pass (B- or higher in Standard Letter Grade) or No Pass (C+ or lower in Standard Letter Grade). Then 6-12th grade students will have the option of keeping their grades in Pass/No Pass or having standard letter grades. (Students will be put on Academic Probation if their GPA reaches 2.99 or below.) Behavior, class participation, in-class work for students K-12 will be graded in O=Outstanding, E=Exceeds Expectations, A=Acceptable, P=Passing, N=Needs Improvement. Each week behavior and participation reports are sent home so parents can see how their student’s behavior and participation improves or becomes a problem. Teachers and parents go over the child’s portfolio, which includes tests, papers, art, quizzes, and other in-class material each quarter. At the end of the year students evaluate their own work and other’s work in the portfolio. The student, the teacher, other students, and the
parent grade the portfolio like pieces of art are evaluated at an art gallery. My school gives students the option of independent study or regular classroom learning in middle school and high school. All preschool through twelfth grade students are put in their cognitive level and in small classrooms of twenty students of less; however, middle school and high school students have the option of regular class or packets. In regular class students participate in in-class assignments, quizzes, and tests; students must earn homework and extra credit.
Students must have at least 240 points out of 300 to pass each quarter; otherwise the quarter will be repeated in packets. In a packets class or independent study students come to class participate and take in-class quizzes and tests; however, class work is done in packets. Students must have an A- or higher to move on to the next packet. Packets are allowed to be taken home and are equivalent to one week of regular class in-class work; only Physical Education, Speech, Science Lab, and Visual/Performing Arts are not allowed to be taken in packets. The packets are recommended for students who are ill, on religious holidays, etc., which prevent them from attending class. In addition, all students on holiday (December) have the option of completing packets for credit and completing quizzes and tests online with a proctor; the packet requires an A- or better to move on. Overall, my school focuses on creating an emphasis on individual learning and respect for cultural diversity; however, there are intuitional and individual barriers. Intuitional barriers will arise when parents who aren’t secular will try to implement their beliefs into the curriculum, but this school offers a well-rounded approach to learning not faith-based learning. In addition, problems may arise when parents try to control what the child learns and what they become; parents are encouraged to let their children be good at what they are good at. Small class sizes and indivualized learning can cause problems for students and parents who want a more mainstreamed education. Students may feel it is too hard for them, but this school is meant to be challenging in academics, but not in socializing. Since there will be intuitional and individual barriers, parents and teachers are encouraged to be open and discuss any problems and look for what is in the best interest of the child. My belief is that education should offer students prepare students for life outside of education. I provided a school that offers students an extended school day and longer school year and summer school to keep kids out of trouble and respect religious beliefs. My school has educated students prepared for college and/or having a job as well as serving in the community. In addition, I provided a school that promotes a healthy life style, school uniforms, individual learning, good behavior, options in learning, and parent involvement. The goal of my school is to prepare and educate students to learn and be the best they can be in whatever they are good at. This charter school will create an emphasis on individual learning and respect for cultural diversity and more. Although this charter school will have intuitional and individual barriers, the school will provide more positive learning than a negative one.
References Borsa, J., Ahmed, M., & Perry, K. (August 1999). Charter School Goverence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration, Jackson Hole, WY. ED 436 856. Schnaiberg, L. (2000). Charter schools: Choice, diversity may be at odds. Education Week, 19(35), 1, 18-20.