Dear Mighty Ants,
As we conclude this school year, we are very proud to announce that we are anticipating a 95.7% graduation rate this year, a more than 4% jump over last year’s already impressive 91%. While these numbers are not yet official, I can confirm that every graduating student is leaving New Hope Academy with a plan for success, including 86.6% going on to college or the military, a nearly 3% improvement over 2011. We’ve achieved major milestones this school year, even sending every single one of our basketball team players, girls and boys, to college—every single one. This is game changing.
Our accomplishments are measured by the success of our students. This year has been a true reflection of how we are changing our educational landscape with choice beyond traditional public school options. Our commitment and determination to foster a new generation of students that is prepared to compete in a global economy has gained notice and support from community leaders, including Robert Kinsley, Deb Stock, Ken Wesler and Mayor of York, C. Kim Bracey.
We are working hard to tell our story. During the past two months, State Senator Joe Scarnati, Deputy Secretary of the PA Dept. of Education Carolyn Dumaresq and State Representative Eugene DePasquale have toured our school and experienced our impact first-hand. After touring, we’ve heard phrases like, “impacting kids’ lives,” “a chance at success for the future” and “very creative in delivering education.” This is why we believe in choice.
Our passion for a better-than-average education that includes performing arts, science, mathematics and technology is palpable. We will not stand for our nation falling behind the rest of the world’s students. The US ranking 14th in the world for reading, 17th for science and 25th for mathematics is simply unacceptable. Change begins with choice. It starts here, with us.
Just as our students prepare for summer, New Hope Academy Charter School administrators, 3 Cord, Inc. and the Urban Impact Community Fund will be gearing up to ensure our students and their families have access to a public education of choice. We will be hard at work telling our story and sharing our successes with decision-makers who will positively affect the appeals process for our Charter.
Charter schools offer choice, innovation, accountability and put kids first, as it should be. I’m very concerned that the current discussion on education has been solely focused on dollars without sense. Educational funding should be tied to performance and student-centered outcomes. More money does not mean improved performance. More accountability does.
We are anticipating and prepared to go through an appeals process for our Charter. We are confident that we will win. As we continue our focus and prepare to be open in the fall, we will also be preparing to service more students in our community. Your commitment to the children we serve, your drive to raise the bar and your desire for increased accountability are what will make New Hope Academy Charter School the school of choice.
Please enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it.
The final hearing for both sides to gather information was held this past Monday. We are very pleased with the performance of our legal team and are ready to move forward with confidence.
The window for York City residents to log public comment with the School District will be closing March, 24th. If you have not had the opportunity to do so, please go to the right side of your screen and click on “sign now” under “Renewal Letter.” An E-mail will be sent on your behalf to firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure your voice is heard.
The School District is required to issue their final decision at a public hearing. The earliest this hearing will be scheduled is mid April. We will be sure to notify you when the hearing is scheduled. If the School District votes not to renew our charter, we will take our appeal to the Charter School Appeals Board at the State level. Both sides will present their case and following Board review, we anticipate a favorable ruling in late summer.
Parents should have quality information and multiple options so they can choose the best school for their child.
All parents regardless of income should have high-quality schools to choose from including high-quality traditional public schools, district-run magnets, charter schools, private schools, or even virtual schools.
Among the biggest barriers to increasing high quality school options are operational regulations. While new school providers must agree to transparency of academic results, there should be no arbitrary limits on the number of schools that can offer high quality public education choices to parents. There should also not be limits on their school governance and management that would infringe on their ability to operate as autonomous and innovative schools. In the specific case of public charter schools, states must provide authorization processes that do not hold schools hostage to district politics.
Senate Bill 904 would facilitate the creation and continued operation of Pennsylvania’s charter and cyber charter schools. The Opportunity Scholarship program will provide tuition assistance to low-income students stuck in failing schools to allow them to attend a school that will better meet their needs.
*Source - http://www.studentfirst.org