District denies charter school, cites lack of support for English learners

2012-12-16T21:38:00Z 2012-12-16T22:44:02Z District denies charter school, cites lack of support for English learnersISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
December 16, 2012 9:38 pm  • 

A petition to start a new charter school in the Napa Valley Unified School District has been denied by the district’s board of trustees.

A small group of teachers had proposed to start a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that would combine independent studies with traditional classroom learning. Students would be home-schooled three days a week using an online learning program and, for two days a week, students would be taught by a credentialed teacher in a classroom.

In October, lead petitioner Leslie Gracia said the goal was to attract local students who are currently enrolled in independent study programs not associated with the Napa Valley Unified School District. At Thursday’s board meeting, district officials said this was one of the many areas where the petition lacked sufficient evidence for implementing a successful program.

When calculating the funding from average daily attendance, the projections seemed “overly dependent” on parents in neighboring counties abandoning their independent study programs, said Maren Rocca-Hunt, director of elementary education.

Rocca-Hunt and other district officials were in charge of reviewing the petition and giving a recommendation to the board to approve or deny the request.

Rocca-Hunt told the board the petition also lacked a comprehensive description of the charter school’s educational program, specifically as to how it would meet the needs of English learners.

Latino students represent the majority of Napa County’s student population at 51.9 percent, and English learners make up more than 20 percent of all local K-12 students, according to a Napa County Office of Education report titled “2012 Education Review.”

The home-based curriculum for the new school would have been primarily in English, and the proposed budget did not appear to include any bilingual support for non-

English-speaking parents, according to district officials.

Gracia, who works for another charter school not associated with Napa Valley Unified, submitted the petition in early October. Gracia had hoped to open Gateway Collaborative by August 2013, with 100 to 125 students enrolled in the first year.

Gracia did not return requests for comment Friday.

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(4) Comments

  1. glenroy
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    glenroy - December 17, 2012 5:26 am
    If they aren't attracting students that are home schooled now…how does denying the Charter solve the problem of learning English when they’re remain beyond reach?
    The Charter appears to offer a solution to a problem the district has little effect upon, if not abandoned.
  2. Wreckless
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    Wreckless - December 17, 2012 5:56 am
  3. kevin
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    kevin - December 17, 2012 10:10 am
    You're missing the point glenroy, this proposal does nothing to advance the agenda of the CTA.

    Therefore, by definition, it must be rejected....
  4. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - December 19, 2012 10:42 am
    ....I'm afraid you knocked that one out of the park Kevin...

    Sad day when a program comes along that will help, as opposed to harm those who need it most, is rejected on what seems to be a technicality. We had our experience trying to save the auto shop classes that was based on a very successful program in and out of state.
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