Welcome to the unofficial beginning of SUMMER. Yes, at last, even if it’s been 50 degrees for most of the weekend. We have been hard at work with CCA and wanted to bring you a few updates on our progress. Here goes…
First, we want to thank everyone for helping to get the word out. Our community is growing strong, with over 450 subscribers to this newsletter, and more joining each day. Also, since the launch of our “Intent to Enroll” survey, more than 60 families, accounting for nearly 100 students, have expressed strong interest in the school. This is rather remarkable, since we have not begun any of the real marketing efforts that we have planned for the Fall. This is mostly grass-roots demand and is a great credit to our community.
Charter School Program Grant
Last week we completed submission of our grant application to the Chart School Program. CSP grants provide vital funding for school start-up and are given to new or expanding charter schools that offer a “high performing” educational model. The planning year grant for CCA would provide $100K of funding, starting this summer, for eligible costs. Even more important is that it would place CCA in line to receive a further $350K and $250K in the first two years of school operation, for a total value of $700K. CSP funds are from the federal government and distributed by the Ohio Department of Education. We will learn if we are awarded the grant in just a month – fingers crossed!
The search continues! Yep, the long saga in pursuit of a 9-acre property owned by the Village of Evendale has concluded with Evendale’s decision not to sell to CCA. This was a surprising turn of events, as the Village leadership had encouraged our interest over the course of several months. We developed concept plans for construction and use of the property, as well as extensive documents that addressed every concern raised. In the end, the Village decided to follow results of a public survey that showed a 70-30% opinion to not sell. Much of the opinion was driven by a desire to protect the majority interest of the local public school district. In view of that, we felt 30% support was a very good result for CCA.
We are grateful to all of you who completed surveys and attended the Evendale public meeting to show your support. And an unexpected benefit of having gone through this public process was the free publicity we received. We reached many new families and it was wonderful to see the interest and support of CCA grow.
We now move on to focus on other property options that are just as appealing. Most are located in the same general area, in or near Evendale. This area has a relative abundance of available property, is close to major transportation corridors, and is located in a “challenged” school district, as required by Ohio law for a new charter school.
The presentation about CCA at the Evendale public meeting generated considerable interest in the school’s curriculum. In response, we have now added curriculum maps to the website. For each grade, you can now view the main content for every subject for every month of the school year. Of course, we will be opening the school with only grades K-6, but you can also see what this lower school work will be preparing students for in the upper school. Lots of nourishment there for heart, mind, and soul!
Visit to Hillsdale College
On April 22-24, the Board had the distinct privilege of travelling to Hillsdale College for board training with the Barney Charter School Initiative. We had plentiful lectures from Hillsdale professors, BCSI staff, and principals from existing BCSI schools. Most gratifying was the opportunity to meet the boards from other new K-12 BCSI schools from Oklahoma, Idaho, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and many others. We learned a lot from what they are doing and enjoyed sharing stories of successes and challenges. It is wonderful to be a part of this growing national movement to restore the proper purpose and subject matters to K-12 education. We closed the weekend with a reception at the home of Hillsdale College President, Dr. Larry Arnn. He provided some words of inspiration and sent us off with our marching orders in no uncertain terms!
We have been getting good coverage in the press, and this month that extended to a new platform: podcasting. Upon learning about CCA, Canceled Out with Scott and Max invited Board President Jed Hartings to a one-hour conversation about classical education and plans for CCA. You can listen to the podcast here. There is also plenty of excellent content about classical education elsewhere online, and we encourage you to check it out. We highly recommend, for instance, the Hillsdale-sponsored lecture on Learning from Washington and Lincoln by Terrence Moore. It’s a great way to make use of your driving and commuting time.
We wish you all a happy Memorial Day. Please take a moment to remember all the American patriots who made the greatest sacrifice to secure our nation’s liberties.
More news will be forthcoming, and we hope to get together with you soon!