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Chipman to go charter?

Submitted by on 1, May 28, 2009 – 6:00 amOne Comment

71Parents and staff at Chipman Middle School will be making some decisions in the coming months about whether they believe the school should become a charter or magnet in the 2010-2011 school year.

The school’s leadership is required to put forth the restructuring plan because it has not met federal testing standards. Specifically, the school has not met adequate yearly progress goals for African American students in English Language Arts and math. African American students make up 29 percent of the school’s population.

This year, school officials brought in an outside expert to work with teachers and develop instructional methods in an effort to help boost scores.

Chipman Principal Jud Kempson did not return a call seeking comment.

If Chipman were to go charter, the school would have more flexibility in spending much of its money and would also receive state funding to get up and running. But the school would draw enrollment and funding from the district and it might not get the same facility it is currently housed in, and little things like services for students and union participation would have to be worked out.

As a magnet, the school (and its money) would stay in the district and would operate within state and district guidelines, it would stay in its current Pacific Avenue location and its teachers would remain in their same union. But the school would have the same limited flexibility in spending its money that other public schools do, and it would not get additional state funds to get off the ground.

School staff is slated to vote on whether the school should go charter or magnet by June 1, and Chipman’s School Site Council will consider the recommendation and vote on June 8. They’ll present their plan to the school board in October.

In the meantime, there’s a great 14-page PowerPoint that lists all of this stuff out and dates for meetings and additional work to be done this summer and beyond, up on School Board President Mike McMahon’s website.

Speaking of going charter, the district is holding its second of three meetings on the future of public education in Alameda at 6:30 p.m. this Tuesday, June 2 at Edison Elementary School, 2700 Buena Vista Avenue. This one’s about what the district would look like if all our schools were charter schools. For more information, you can check out the district’s Facebook page.

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