City school board OKs one of six char­ter ap­pli­ca­tions

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Talia Rich­man trich­man@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Tal­iRich­man

The Bal­ti­more school board voted to ap­prove just one out of six char­ter school ap­pli­ca­tions, prompt­ing out­rage from char­ter sup­port­ers who crowded a meet­ing Tues­day night.

The Bal­ti­more In­ter­na­tional Academy West was the only school to re­ceive board ap­proval to open for the 2019-2020 school year. It will be mod­eled on the Bal­ti­more In­ter­na­tional Academy, and it has plans to even­tu­ally en­roll 1,200 stu­dents in kinder­garten through eighth grade.

The board re­jected the other five ap­pli­ca­tions, fol­low­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of schools CEO Sonja San­telises.

An­gela Al­varez, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the school sys­tem’s Of­fice of New Ini­tia­tives, said the char­ter ap­pli­ca­tion process is “right­fully rig­or­ous.”

Pub­lic com­ment be­fore the vote was heated. Sup­port­ers of the pro­posed AmesSand­town Free­dom and Democ­racy Academy packed the room and held signs en­cour­ag­ing the board to ap­prove their bid for an el­e­men­tary school in West Bal­ti­more. They chanted “Just say yes, we’ll do the rest” be­fore and dur­ing the meet­ing.

The Free­dom and Democ­racy Academy would have been op­er­ated by North­wood Ap­pold Com­mu­nity Academy Inc., which runs two char­ters in the city: NACA I and NACA Free­dom and Democ­racy II.

“We do not un­der­stand the way we’re treated,” founder Ce­cil Gray said.

But Al­varez said the district found prob­lems with the school’s plan for aca­demic growth and the ways the op­er­a­tor an­tic­i­pated ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents with spe­cial needs.

The board also re­jected CEC Bal­ti­more Cam­pus, a mid­dle and high school in East Bal­ti­more with a fo­cus on global af­fairs; the all-boys, board­ing-op­tional Bal­ti­more Latin School, which would have fo­cused on lan­guage im­mer­sion, the arts and sciences; and the DaVinci Col­lab­o­ra­tive High School, a year-round school that would have em­pha­sized in­tern­ships.

The board de­clined a re­quest from the Green Street Academy to add an el­e­men­tary school to its mid­dle and high school pro­gram.

But it sup­ported Bal­ti­more In­ter­na­tional Academy West. Like the orig­i­nal, it will be a lan­guage im­mer­sion school. Stu­dents will take nearly all classes in Ara­bic, Chi­nese, French, Rus­sian or Span­ish.

The board also voted Tues­day to ap­prove a new school po­lice pol­icy. The district says the reg­u­la­tions are aimed at pro­tect­ing schools with­out crim­i­nal­iz­ing stu­dents.

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