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Mandarin only one of charter schools starting in Alameda

February 28, 2011

Charter schools on the rise in Alameda

Submitted by Michele Ellson on 1, February 28, 2011 – 12:03 amNo Comment
Nea Community Learning Center’s lead facilitator, Maafi Gueye, talks to prospective families on Tuesday.

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Jason and Anne Buckley moved to Alameda a year ago specifically for its good public schools. They have since determined that the best educational opportunities exist for their incoming kindergartner, Stella, at local charter schools.

The couple applied at the Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts, a K-8 charter in Oakland, and are also looking at Urban Montessori, which is currently seeking a charter from the Alameda County Office of Education to open a K-2 school next year. But Anne Buckley said she’s really hopeful the family will get into Alameda’s Nea Community Learning Center, which opened in 2009.

“All of our eggs are in this basket,” Anne Buckley said.

Charters have become increasingly popular here in Alameda, and a growing number of charters – which are public schools – are drawing interest from Alameda students. Nea, for example, had 718 people who were wait listed or had recently applied for 141 open spaces at the K-12 school as of last Tuesday night, when a few dozen parents attended an informational meeting on the school (the school’s application deadline is today, February 28).

Overall, charter school students make up more than 11 percent of Alameda’s public school student population, with more than 1,100 students in charter schools here. That’s including about 550 students who enrolled at The Academy of Alameda Middle School charter that opened this year and close to 350 at Nea, which opened at 2009 and is seeking to add 100 students in 2011-2012. (The district also hosts the Alameda Community Learning Center, which is Nea’s sister school serving grades 6-12, and the Bay Area School of Enterprise, a non-traditional high school charter.)

Mandarin immersion charter Yu Ming is considering a site in Alameda and hopes to serve K-1 families across northern Alameda County when it opens in the fall (its plan is to grow into a K-8 school by 2018), while Urban Montessori, whose leaders hope to find out whether their charter is approved on March 8, have collected several local parent volunteers and are also talking to interested families here.

Read more here.

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