The Florida Department of Education may reverse the decision to deny Parrish Charter Academy’s charter school application.
On Friday morning, the Florida Department of Education Charter School Appeal Commission met and voted unanimously to recommend that the State Board of Education grant Parrish Charter Academy’s appeal, according to press secretary Audrey Walden.
If the State Board of Education does in fact follow the recommendation of the commission and grant the appeal during their next meeting, Sept. 13, it would reverse the Manatee County School District’s decision denying the charter contract.
Parrish Charter Academy officials were delighted with the decision, board member Deborrah Metheny told the Bradenton Herald on Friday afternoon. School officials are confident that they will get their appeal granted after getting the unanimous recommendation from the appeal commission, which they felt was the biggest hurdle.
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After a unanimous recommendation by school district staff to deny the charter school request from Parrish Charter Academy last year, the Manatee County School Board denied the application. Staff had felt that application only met state-statute criteria in 10 areas, partially met those standards in four areas and did not meet them in five areas.
“Most of the confusion was surrounding the education program design, the model we want to use in our school,” Metheny said Friday.
The charter school intends to use the experiential learning model, which is not used in Florida currently, according to Metheny. Concerns with their application by the school district seemed to surround the unknown model, she said. The model is used in about 150 schools in the U.S., such as in Idaho for example, she said.
“I think the commission today was satisfied that we had adequate plan and that we are on our way to be able to implement that for a successful school,” Metheny said.
The experiential learning model, she explained, is about giving students experiences so they can implement what they are being taught in the classroom. For example, students being taught about the ocean in a science class may be taken out to the water so they can have some hands-on experiences.
Metheny said research supports the theory that children and adults learn more deeply and retain information longer when using this teaching method.
If Parrish Charter Academy gets their charter contract, they plan to open the K-8 in the Fall 2018, which would come to a growing area of the county in need of more schools.