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School board extends BASE charter

Submitted by on 1, February 9, 2011 – 12:02 amNo Comment

Alameda’s Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday night to extend the Bay Area School of Enterprise’s charter, though the school must meet a list of conditions in order to retain it.

The vote was largely a formality, as the board is required to okay a charter as long as it meets a list of basic criteria. Still, board members acknowledged the school’s strong support – and challenges they said the school has faced.

“I commend the administration for (dealing with) the struggles you’ve been going through over the past year, and for your fortitude and persistence in making a difference for the young people you serve,” school board Trustee Niel Tam said.

The renewal resolution approved by the school board said the school needs to improve classroom instruction and provide better training and support to teachers. It also said the school needs to do “considerable work” to bring itself into legal compliance with its special education students’ individual learning plans. It also offers a long list of documentation the school must submit to the district.

Some 50 people turned out to support the school’s renewal bid, including parent Brian MacNamara.

“They really have created what I feel is a home feeling there. The kids really need this alternative program,” MacNamara said.

Mary Gallagher, a board member for Alternatives in Action, which runs the school, thanked the school district for their help in getting through the renewal process and said that concerns she had once held about the loss of key stakeholders had proved unfounded.

“The organization today is stronger than it has ever been,” Gallagher said.

Founded in 2001, BASE was the first student-initiated charter in the country. The school serves 113 students from Alameda and Oakland, many of whom come to the school behind in credits or with skills below grade level, and it works to put them on the road to college.

The renewal is set for five years.

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