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Board OKs charter school

CEC to open in fall 2018

By Robert Cloud

The Waupaca School Board approved a five-year contract for a new charter school.

Called the Chain Exploration Center (CEC), the school will have a maximum of 54 students in third through fifth grades when it opens in the fall of 2018.

CEC will initially have three teachers and be located on the second floor of the current Chain O’Lakes Elementary School building.

Two additional grade levels will be added each subsequent year, with the goal of providing K-8 education by 2021-22.

The contract requires the charter school to maintain an 18:1 student-to-teacher ratio as it grows.

School board member Pat Phair stressed at the Jan. 9 meeting that CEC is a public school and enrollment will be open to all students within the district.

The school board also approved changes to the contract to obtain a waiver from the state.

State statutes require the charter school to give preferential treatment to students who live in the area primarily served by Chain O’ Lakes Elementary School.

The waiver will allow the charter school to be open to all students within the district.

Phair said the CEC will have its own governance board, but the Waupaca School Board will have oversight of the program.

“They have lots of freedom and liberty,” Phair said, “but they still answer to us.”

Education at the charter school will be project based with a focus on collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem solving.

The four primary areas of project-based learning will be STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), environmental studies, arts and agriculture.

Rhonda Hare, the district’s director of instruction, said CEC students will have to take the same tests as all the other students.

They will be learning the basics of math, reading and writing in the morning and working on their projects in the afternoon.

The charter school contract indicates parents will play a role in helping develop a Personalized Learning Plan for their children.

“It really has to be the student and the parent who want to be there,” Hare said.

Enrollment for the charter school begins Feb. 1 and ends on March 15.

More information may be found on the Waupaca School District’s website.

School board election
Three seats on the Waupaca School Board will be up for election in April.

Incumbents Sandra Robinson and Betty Manion will be on the spring ballot.

Steve Shambeau will not seek re-election this year.

Mark Polebitski will run unopposed for his seat.

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