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Charter Schools Council reviews applications

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Guam Academy of Charter Schools Council is reviewing a couple of applications to create more charter schools on Guam. The Council recently held a work session to review two applications. According to chairperson Rosa Salas Palomo, these applications came in shortly after the Council approved a charter school for the National Institute for Direct Instruction, which took place back in July. 

Rand Coffman submitted an application for the Atdao Charter School and Peter Caso turned in a proposal to create the Blue Ocean Academy Charter School.  "NIFDI also addresses secondary education, but these two are for definitely high school. And one of them is more technologically oriented than the other. I think it's called a ‘virtual high school' and we need to talk about what a virtual high school is," he said.

The Atdao Charter School's mission is to establish an independent study program. It will provide service to the students who find it challenging to sit in a traditional classroom setting for students. It will service students from the 9th through 12th grade and will accommodate about 500 students.

Meanwhile, the Blue Ocean Academy Charter School's mission is to provide a comprehensive, creative and customized public education program through virtual classrooms. The school will also offer cultural immersion, stem, college preparatory and general education where students can also participate through hands-on learning activities at educational community centers. Public hearings will be held this month for both applications.

"By law, we have to have a public hearing within 45 days from when the application is submitted. And one of these applications was submitted on August 31, September 30 and October 1 was already 30 days. So within the next two weeks, we need to have something scheduled," said Palomo.

For the time being, she says each application is being closely reviewed and the Council may want to come up with a more uniformed way for applications to be submitted in the future.  "They have objectives and just as with any program, this is where I'm really using my proposals and writing skills and writing learning objectives," she said.  "We need to make sure their objectives and what they're proposing to do are aligned and at the same time that the budget speaks to these objectives and activities."

Palomo says applicants need to make sure they also respond to the current pay scales for employees at the Department of Education. She says those proposed costs should also be included in their proposals.

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