Friday, January 17, 2014

Now We Wait...

Erin Martin speaks about the proposed Sunnyside Charter Academy at a public forum held last night as part of the state’s process in approving charter schools. Photo by Laura Gjovaag.

As of January 8th, 2014 we have officially completed the application process for Sunnyside Charter Academy.  That process included:

1) 300+ page application (providing extensive details on educational programs, school performance standards, governance and management, budget projections/plans, and facility options.) You can download and read the actual application here .  We think it's a pretty amazing document that over 20 parents, teachers, community members, and other professionals helped write.

2) 75 minute Board Member interview with an evaluation team of 4 members.  This evaluation team was appointed by the Washington State Charter School Commission. The team consisted of people from all over the country including Washington State.  They provided expertise in at least four areas: Finance, Educational programs, Board Governance, and School Management.  We felt like our interview with our board went very well, and feel like we have a very good shot at being approved for this charter.  To learn about the members of our board for Charter Schools of Sunnyside, please click on this link

3) One hour Public Forum at Perry Technical Institute in Yakima, held January 8th at 6:30 pm.  This forum was open to both supporters and non-supporters alike.  Three members of the Washington State Charter School Commission were present.  They listened to a 10 minute presentation given by Brittany Weaver and Erin Martin, founders of Charter Schools of Sunnyside; the non-profit organization proposing to govern Sunnyside Charter Academy once the charter has been granted. Followed by the presentation was a 30 minute public comment forum.  Fortunately for us, all the public comments were in support of our vision.  A variety of people spoke on several issues they felt strongly about which included: Inclusion and Special education, Parent involvement, Highly capable programs, and Community Partnerships.  Even a couple of young school aged kids spoke.  One spoke on how being raised in a monolingual family and the importance of community and parent involvement positively affected her life. You can read the full article summarizing most of the speakers by clicking this link .

Over 40 people attended the forum in support of Sunnyside Charter Academy.  Words cannot express our gratitude for this overwhelming support traveling the 45 minutes to Yakima on such a cold, wintery night and on such short notice too.  It goes to show that there are many people in our community who really are passionate about our kids having another educational option here in Sunnyside.  We are deeply grateful for the support.
Commissioners Chris Martin, Dave Quall and Kevin Jacka (L-R) listen to the presentations and public comments last night in Yakima. The commission will be making a final decision on the 19 current charter school applications at its next regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30, in Seattle.

Again, thank you to all who helped support this effort.  It was, no doubt, a huge undertaking.  And we are grateful for the continued support.  Please keep our school in your thoughts, and keep your fingers crossed that on January 30th, we will be one of the 8 schools officially approved to become a charter school this year.  Please spread the word and send a letter of support on our behalf.  There's still time! Just as long as you've sent it by January 24th!  You can type up a one-page, 12 point font letter, and send it to:

The Washington State Charter School Commission
P.O. Box 40996 
Olympia, WA 98504-0996

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