The Allentown School Board held a public hearing to discuss LVenture Charter School on Tuesday, December 17. Unfortunately, the hearing got off on the wrong foot when the previous hearing went over their time by a hour and a district employee had to be called to turn on the presentation system. However, once we got going, our team was pleased with the dialog.
Mark Lang introduced LVenture Charter School with a 15 minute presentation. He used this PowerPoint presentation, and also showed a short video of students reacting to learning in a student directed, inquiry based environment. Here is the video:
There were not a lot of questions. One board member seemed very familiar with inquiry based learning, and asked how we would deal with retraining all our teachers for this very different paradigm of learning. Of course, we know that is a key issue and have extensive professional development included in our plans. She also asked some good questions about how special education fits within the LVenture environment. Another board member asked a good question about how a student with limited language skills would be assisted in a project based environment. We were also asked about how we handle physical education, our graduation standards, and the difference between PBL in the middle school grades versus the high school grades. One additional question related to the information collected during the pre-enrollment process. It seems that the consultant who told us the process we included was standard was not correct, so we agreed to not collect any private information such social security numbers at that time.
There was also discussion about our community support. Unfortunately, because of a major snow storm that day which closed all schools and administrative offices, we ended up with only one parent at the hearing to speak for LVenture Charter School. However, Mark talked about the great reception he had at an event in Allentown on the evening of Halloween Trick or Treating. He talked to about 50 young parents from off the street, and all but one or two were very interested in the school. Mark and Ralph Fiore also talked to a group of mostly middle school students at St. Luke’s Neighborhood Center a few weeks ago. These kids were all very down on school. However, they loved our hands on approach. One asked “you mean I can study things that interest me?”. They were so interested that we decided to not talk to more students until we have an approved application; it would just be too cruel to get their hopes up before we are sure the school will open. We also are fortunate to have one of the most respected and entrepreneurial leaders in the urban core of Allentown in Pastor Greg Edwards on our core team. Greg is helping us make further connections within the urban community. All these things suggest we will have no trouble recruiting students and parents.
The ASD Board cannot act on our application for 45 days from the hearing date. In the meantime we will continue to build our community contacts in preparation hopefully for a September 2014 school opening in downtown Allentown. Please contact us if you are interested or can help. Thanks.