Scientist describes concept for new STEM-centric charter school - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Scientist describes concept for new STEM-centric charter school

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Would you want to send your child to a high school that allows them to graduate with certifications in technical trades, or to a middle school that focuses on STEM, as well as art? That choice could be just around the corner now that two applications for new charter schools were officially received this week.

Could Guam see two new charter schools this coming school year? That's a possibility now that two applications were received by the Guam Charter Schools Council on Thursday. Dr. Anthony Sunga is the board of trustees chairman for the newly proposed SIFA Learning Academy.

 "So what I'm proposing," he told KUAM News, "Is actually a STEAM learning center, and STEAM is you've heard the word STEM before - Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics - I'm putting that A in there for Arts. So we believe that introducing this in the educational system at a very young age, and in this case we're working with middle school [students] into these STEAM fields, it would engage the cognitive learning and thinking."

Dr. Sunga said the school would focus on projects-based learning that helps students understand the applications of concepts they're learning. The charter school council is considering the middle school's application for School Year 2018-2019. Sunga said the school has interim financing available and has already purchased a property in Tiyan.

"So we're willing to absorb those costs, only because we want to start as soon as possible," he shared.

Meanwhile, Career Tech Academy Charter School vice chair Steven McManus is also eager to get the ball rolling. The technical education high school submitted its application back in February, and already has a facility available in Agat. "We want them to graduate with nationally recognized certifications in fields such as architecture and construction, allied health," he said.

"Especially because of the current H-2 crisis and the fact that Guam, not only has a short-term crisis, but definitely has a long-term crisis."

Although submitted six months ago, the application was only officially accepted on August 31 because the council was unable to meet due to a lack of a quorum. McManus plans to file an appeal to have the application decision rendered as soon as possible. Charter council chair Amanda Blas and member Jon Fernandez.

"According to the law, there is room for 7 charter schools in Guam," he said. "As we know one of our existing charter schools covers elementary middle and high school and three different educational levels so the question is does that constitute as three different charters? Or one charter? And that will affect the number of charter schools that can apply in the future, so we will be sending a formal letter to the AG requesting her opinion on that."

He added, "We have 45 days from the filing of the application to move forward and then 60 days after that to make a decision, so we're up against the clock."

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