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charter schools

Phil Gover is Sovereign Community School’s founder.
Caroline Halter / StateImpact Oklahoma

Sovereign Community School is new charter school in Oklahoma City with a focus on Native American culture and identity. It’s also part of a movement of tribes and tribal citizens using publicly funded, privately run schools to take control over the education of Native children. 

A sign is seen outside of 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City, where Epic Charter Schools leases 40,000 square feet for administrative use.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A state investigator’s search warrant filed in court Tuesday seeks evidence of alleged embezzlement of state funds and obtaining money under false pretenses at Epic Charter Schools, including through the use of “ghost students” who receive no actual instruction at the school.

Caroline Halter / KGOU

In this episode of Capitol Insider KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley speak with Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who shares her thoughts on the state's new report cards, regulating virtual charter schools, and school funding. 

In English class at The Academy of Seminole, students write descriptive essays.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two years ago, the Oklahoma State Board of Education for the first time exercised its authority to approve a rural charter school.

The decision was contentious. A local school board had already denied the charter’s application twice, saying it was incomplete and there wasn’t enough support for the school.

 

The State Board overturned the local board’s decision, which left some wondering who’s really in control of their community.

Epic Virtual Charter School’s dramatic growth has been driven in part by marketing efforts such as creating a children’s play area at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City.
Mashiur Rahaman / Oklahoma Watch

Leaders of the state’s largest virtual charter school contributed at least $145,000 total to the campaigns of dozens of candidates this year, records reveal, a show of increasing political muscle as the school is experiencing dramatic growth.

Pre-kindergarten teaching assistant Rose Mashinda talks to students in a French class at Le Monde International School, a public charter school in Norman.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Students as young as 4 spend the day at Le Monde International School learning to speak, write and read in French or Spanish. On a recent day, a class of boys and girls greeted their principal with an enthusiastic “Bonjour!” Another class crafted Eiffel Towers out of craft sticks.

Proposal Would Expand Unproven Concept: Online-Only Alternative Schools

May 25, 2018
Creative Commons CC0 / Pixnio

The state’s largest virtual charter school wants to open an alternative high school for at-risk students, saying the school will better address the needs of struggling students who already attend or will enroll in its regular online school.

elementary school library
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

With the start of the 2018 legislative session eight days away, lawmakers have submitted a flurry of proposals related to education.

They range from the expected — proposed salary boosts and other financial compensation for teachers — to the unexpected, like bills to allow schools to sell and place ads on school buses and to permit students to apply their own sunscreen.

The intent of many other proposals is still unknown, as many education-related bills were submitted as “shell bills,” written with no substantive text and to be amended later.

Matt Whittington, of Edmond, enrolled in Epic Charter Schools because the flexibility of online classes fit with his commitment to gymnastics. The family made special efforts to ensure that the arrangement worked.
Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

Virtual charter schools stand to receive the largest share of local tax funding if a lawsuit by a pro-charter-school group is successful.

That gain could occur despite the fact that virtual schools have fewer expenses than brick-and mortar ones, with few or no buildings to purchase and no transportation to provide.

New Rating System Proposed For Virtual Schools

Aug 11, 2017
Stephen Chin / Flickr

The state agency that oversees virtual schools has proposed a new grading system to improve oversight of the schools, which have experienced persistent low academic performance coupled with climbing enrollment.

Epic Virtual Charter School has been operating in Oklahoma since 2011, and just opened a new location in Orange County, California a few months ago. However, local superintendents in the O.C. area already want Epic shut down.

Officials from the Anaheim Union High School District and Anaheim Elementary School District have filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Board of Education for approving Epic’s charter in November 2015, despite staff recommendations not to. They say the charter was approved illegally and in violation of California’s Charter School Act.

ABLE Charter School’s administrative offices are located in an office building on North Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Watch

For the first time in its four-year history, the state board that oversees virtual charter schools has decided to shut down one of the schools, citing a pattern of violations.

The Statewide Virtual Charter Board voted Thursday to end its contract with ABLE Charter School, the newest and smallest of the state’s five virtual schools.

The school, which has an enrollment of 61 students across the state, had come under fire for being out of compliance with several state laws and rules. ABLE’s superintendent said the school will appeal the decision.

Matt Whittington, of Edmond, enrolled in Epic Charter Schools because the flexibility of online classes fit with his commitment to gymnastics. The family made special efforts to ensure that the arrangement worked.
Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s largest online charter school is on a track of explosive growth, nearly tripling its enrollment over three years, to almost 8,500.

That pursuit of lightning growth by Epic Charter Schools – a goal affirmed by its co-founder – shows no signs of letting up. Epic officials predict enrollment will near 10,000 by mid-school year.

The Norman Public Schools' administrative offices.
Jennifer Palmer / Oklahoma Watch

Parents upset over the axing of a Norman Public Schools language program are driving an effort to create what could be the state’s second charter school allowed outside Oklahoma City and Tulsa under a new law.

A group of parents is asking the district to sponsor the school, which would continue the mission of a French immersion program that was eliminated in the spring at Reagan Elementary School to save the district $400,000. The charter school, Le Monde International School, also would offer Spanish immersion.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Aurora Lora proposes a revised KIPP charter school expansion plan during a July 18, 2016 board meeting.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

After months of debate, board members of Oklahoma City Public Schools voted to expand KIPP Charter Schools at Monday night’s meeting. But the expansion will not go as originally planned.

KIPP currently runs a middle school out of F.D. Moon Academy, and has been fighting to extend its rigorous academic model within the district. The charter school proposed starting an elementary school in Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and hoped to share space with Douglass High School as well. However, Superintendent Aurora Lora says a task force will do more research to decide the locations.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A state audit released Wednesday shows a foundation designed to help charter schools has collected about $3.2 million more in payments from school building leases than it payed when it originally purchased the properties.

Real estate developer Grant Humphreys wants to stop operating Carlton Landing Academy, located on the shores of Lake Eufaula, as a private school and re-open it as a public charter school.
Leilani Ott / Oklahoma Watch

Editor’s Note: Carlton Landing is an underwriter of KGOU. This story was produced by our content partner Oklahoma Watch. Both newsrooms at KGOU and Oklahoma Watch are editorially independent from KGOU’s fundraising.

A proposed charter school in a lakeside resort community would mark the state's first expansion of public charters into rural areas under a new law allowing for their presence statewide, school officials say.

okhouse.gov

Hundreds of students and parents for school choice in Oklahoma are packing the halls of the Capitol and urging the Oklahoma Legislature to provide more opportunities for charter schools in the state.

A large crowd rallied on the south steps of the building Wednesday before coming inside to eat lunch and visit with their lawmakers.

Board Of Education Suspends Charter School’s Funding

Dec 20, 2014
a school classroom with empty chairs
comedy_nose / Flickr Creative Commons

The State Board of Education has suspended its funding to Alexis Rainbow Arts Academy until it has provided the board with a variety of records and financial reports.

ASTEC high school students work as a team to conduct a science experiment at a Module workstation. The Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) Schools became Oklahoma’s first start-up charter school in 2000.
ASTEC / Wikipedia Commons

The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration asked policymakers Wednesday to place stricter requirements on virtual charter schools during an interim study evaluating the effectiveness of Oklahoma public charter schools (H14-069).

Ryan Owen, counsel for CCOSA, presented a list of recommendations to the House Common Education Committee, which included stricter accountability and reporting requirements and a moratorium on enrollment into these virtual charters until efficacy of these schools can be proven.