Tahoe Truckee charter school announces enrollment deadlines, preps for opening | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Truckee charter school announces enrollment deadlines, preps for opening

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; With only six months until a new charter school plans to open, officials are searching for staff and launching a district-wide campaign for student enrollment.

The Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, a charter school with an emphasis in hands-on learning, was approved earlier this month by the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Trustees to begin classes for the 2010and#8211;11 school year.

The decision has since sent school officials into a frenzy of activity as they search for a school director, three teachers and a school site in Truckee to host an anticipated 63 kindergarten to fifth grade students.

and#8220;Up until this point, I think it’s just been a learning curve of what it takes to create a public school,and#8221; said Erica Stein, the school’s co-chair.

Stein said a group of parents responsible for brainstorming the idea for the school has been working in planning committees for the last year to prepare for the opening.

A school director, acting as a principal, will be chosen in May, Stein said, with teacher hires to follow. The school has also set a student application deadline for April 15, and a final student selection lottery to be held at the end of April.

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and#8220;The next big thing we’re doing right now is planning family information nights,and#8221; said Stein, referring to five presentations planned to boost student enrollment through parent outreach.

The presentations take place in Truckee, Tahoe City and Kings Beach, Stein said, and educate parents about the school’s philosophy, its Expeditionary Learning curriculum and how parents can enroll kids in the school.

and#8220;Our team is really excited about the Expeditionary Learning curriculum,and#8221; Stein said. and#8220;We’re just dedicated to bring something new to the district for our students.and#8221;

Sharing Stein’s enthusiasm, Dave Curry, TTUSD director of educational services, said he reviewed the school’s educational program and he’s eager to see it in action.

and#8220;Implementation is everything, and their program looked pretty solid in measuring achievement,and#8221; Curry said.

A task still to accomplish is creating a memorandum of understanding between the school and TTUSD. As an independent charter school which won’t rely on district funding, Stein said the MOU is needed for district services such as English Learner support, special education and possibly transportation.

Superintendent Steve Jennings said he and district will working with the school as it develops what staff and resources it will need from the district.

and#8220;… they have to determine what exactly they want from the district,and#8221; Jennings said.

In line with the school’s inclusive philosophy, Stein said it will ensure the school reflects the district’s current demographics (30 percent free-lunch qualified students, 70 percent non free-lunch students) and also include non-English speaking students.

Eventually, Stein said the school hopes to provide more enrollment and facilities that can accommodate up 132 students between Kindergarten and eighth grade.