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Guam's first charter school opening in August

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Mayors Council of Guam received an update from the National Institute for Direct Instruction, which is set to open the island's first charter school next school year. Come August, the island will see its first charter school.

Project director Donna Dwiggins says the charter school will be opened to students from kindergarten through 7th grade and will include a literacy academy for students coming out of 8th grade who are not academically ready for high school. Dwiggins spoke with island mayors this morning with hopes to go out into the villages to spread the word about the new charter school.

"We're planning on the enrollment cut off to the at the end of April," she explained. "At that point, if we have more students than the number of slots dedicated to the school, then we would actually conduct a lottery."

Dwiggins says they're hoping to obtain some space from the current JFK High School campus in Tiyan after those students move into their new campus in Upper Tumon. "We are proposing a partnership that we would be able to use a small portion of that campus at least initially. One of the problems with charter schools across the U.S. is the facilities issue. And with the military buildup and the increase in students coming to the island, there's really a need for expanded capacity and we believe we can be an option to help with that expanded capacity," she said.

With the school set to be ready by August, she says she's hoping - with the help of village mayors and the community - the word would get out about the new charter school where direct instruction will be taught to students. Dwiggins said, "We're going to move forward with getting the word out to parents. Hopefully by the time we would really have the lottery conducted, we will have the facility in place."

If you would like to inquire about this charter school, you can e-mail Donna Dwiggins.

The mayors also heard from officials from the non-profit organization New Vision and Manny Duenas from the Guam Fisherman's Co-Op. Duenas spoke about fishing issues and the shark finning bill that recently went up for a public hearing weeks ago.

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