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updated: 2/5/2014 3:18 PM

Charter group wants to open kindergarten to 8th-grade school

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  • Karen Schock, president of the Elgin Math and Science Charter School Initiative, talks to members of the Elgin Noon Rotary Club about the group's charter school proposal. Group leaders will discuss their plans at a community forum Tuesday.

       Karen Schock, president of the Elgin Math and Science Charter School Initiative, talks to members of the Elgin Noon Rotary Club about the group's charter school proposal. Group leaders will discuss their plans at a community forum Tuesday.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Elgin Math and Science Charter School Initiative will conduct a community forum Tuesday to answer questions about the group's charter school proposal.

"It's going to be a presentation with more specifics about the school," said Karen Schock, a retired U-46 teacher and president of the charter school initiative. "We want to really answer the questions people still have about the charter school."

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The forum will be from 7 to 9 p.m. in the community room of the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin.

The group is planning to submit an application for a kindergarten through eighth-grade charter school to the Elgin Area School District U-46 school board by month end. After that, the district has 45 days to conduct a public hearing on the matter by state statute, Schock added.

The proposal must be vetted by the U-46's charter school review committee, the school board and the community before going to state for approval.

The Elgin charter school initiative has been working for more than a year and a half to research charter schools.

Schock said group leaders have decided to move forward with creating a curriculum based on "expeditionary learning," a teaching method allowing children to implement what they learn in the classroom through hands-on projects.

The New York-based Expeditionary Learning claims its model "challenges students -- even those starting with low skill levels -- with high-level tasks and active roles in the classroom."

If approved by the U-46 school board and the state, the Elgin charter school would be an option for students who don't have the scores to get into U-46's gifted or academy programs, or have the need for special education. Yet, the charter school would be a public school with open enrollment allowing any student from U-46 to apply and admissions would be determined by lottery, not test scores.

Schock said the group also has submitted a Request for Proposal to the city of Elgin to use a portion of a 53-acre, wooded campus that used to house the Fox River Country Day School, off Route 25, north of Interstate 90 in Elgin.

"Obviously, the main building, which was built in 2005 is just a beautiful building. We were hoping to utilize that and a couple of the other buildings and possibly grow," she said.

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