The State Board of Education reviewed a proposal for a new, service learning-centered charter school in the Concord area, reported the Concord Monitor:
Boscawen educator [Stephanie Alicea] wants to start a new charter school in the Concord area based on the idea of service learning – an educational model that integrates community service with instruction.
“Service learning is an integral part of the academic work. It teaches students that the skills they’re learning can be put to use to make life better,” she told the State Board of Education, which can authorize charter schools, during a hearing on Thursday.
State Board members expressed enthusiasm for the Capital City Charter School – but also told Alicea they needed more details before green-lighting the project. It’ll likely come back up before the body in January.
Alicea envisions the Capital City Charter School would ultimately serve grades 6 through 12, although it would start as just a middle school and eventually grow to include a high school. Enrollment would start with about 60 kids in the first year, she told the board, and would ideally grow to about 320 students by its fifth year. The student-to-teacher ratio would range from 20 to 15 students per teacher.
Service-learning models exist in a number of schools across the country, Alicea said, including in Massachusetts and Vermont.
The projects students undertake can take many forms. A common one is a community garden, she said, where kids can integrate a host of academic subjects – biology, math, even literacy – into hands-on learning.
Board members said they liked the idea, but they urged Alicea to find additional people to serve on the school’s board of directors to lend a broader array of skills and support to the project. They also pushed her to clarify items in CCCS’s proposed budget to make sure the school had the resources it needed.