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updated: 5/9/2014 7:04 PM

Elgin charter school group files application

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  • Karen Schock of the Elgin Charter School Initiative talks about the group's charter school proposal with members of the Elgin Noon Rotary Club last year. Also pictured are Kari White, center, and Krissy Palermo.

      Karen Schock of the Elgin Charter School Initiative talks about the group's charter school proposal with members of the Elgin Noon Rotary Club last year. Also pictured are Kari White, center, and Krissy Palermo.
    DAILY HERALD file PHOTO

  • A group proposing a charter school in Elgin plans on using some buildings on the Fox River Country Day School campus off Dundee Avenue.

      A group proposing a charter school in Elgin plans on using some buildings on the Fox River Country Day School campus off Dundee Avenue.
    DAILY HERALD file PHOTO

 
 

After nearly two years of research, the Elgin Charter School Initiative filed its charter application Friday with Elgin Area School District U-46.

The application was timed to coincide with National Charter School Week.

"This has been a long road," charter group President Karen Schock said. "We truly believe it's going to be an exciting, creative school ... an elementary school that has a math and science focus."

U-46 has 45 days to grant a public hearing, then 30 days to render a decision on the proposed school. The application also needs state approval.

"We just received the proposal this afternoon and will be reviewing it," U-46 spokesman Patrick Mogge said.

The charter group is seeking the city of Elgin's approval to lease the former Fox River Country Day School property at 1600 Dundee Ave.

The Elgin City Council has yet to approve the request. Council members previously expressed concern about the projected $1 million cost of repairing buildings on that campus.

"The city has taken a step back. They have to decide what they are going to do with the property," Schock said. Schock said the group also is considering other former school sites in Elgin as alternatives.

The 96-page application offers a broad look at how the school would operate, school culture, academics, business plan, leadership plan, academic goals, and dealing with special populations.

"Our school will be managed by the principal," Schock said. "The founding board is going to be doing a tremendous amount of work during the first year particularly."

The group decided not to hire a charter management firm to operate the school.

"There are many (charter) schools that have them and many that don't," Schock said. "You find all kinds of models with the charter school. We thought the money would be better spent put into programs and for instruction materials, science equipment, computers."

If approved, the school would offer kindergarten through second-grade classes in the first year, and eventually expand up to eighth grade.

The proposed Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School would use Expeditionary Learning curriculum. It is aligned with Common Core state standards, officials said.

Expeditionary Learning allows students to spend a portion of each day dedicated to exploring real-life problems and solutions. All subjects are integrated into the expedition experience. Students produce presentations, booklets, videos or performances based on their expeditions, officials said.

Schock said the initiative's 12-member founding board consulted with the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and Expeditionary Learning, both nonprofit agencies, before submitting the proposal.

"This has been a huge arc," Schock said. "We started from what exactly is a charter school, visited other charter schools, looked at other programs, talked with other charter school national organizations. We're excited about our next step. It's an ending, and a beginning."

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