Support of public school academies benefits all

SVSU’s reach extends beyond just college-age students.

The university authorizes and supports 19 public school academies, also known as charter public schools, in seven regions across Michigan.

In its role as authorizer for the public school academies, SVSU works to review educational plans, establish and maintain safety codes and ensure Michigan laws and regulations are met, among other duties.

According to School and University Partnership Office Director Craig Douglas, SVSU can help the academies solve problems they face by offering solutions and resources, such as helping educate schools about the best practices for safety drills.

“SVSU can help support the academies if they have challenges,” Douglas said. “We want to help them meet those needs, and we really try to reach out and help them succeed.”

According to SVSU’s website, a public school academy differs from a traditional school in that it exercises more autonomy over its mission, curriculum and teaching styles.

SVSU’s website provides curriculum, assessments and instructional resources for the public school academies that were developed through collaboration with SVSU members and teachers from public school academies.

While the curriculum for a public school academy might vary slightly from a traditional school, the academies are still held to the requirements set out in the Michigan Curriculum Framework.

Douglas said one area in which curriculum might vary is fine arts. Public school academies can offer more dance or performance opportunities for students than traditional schools can.

“You can see the innovation and creativity occur depending on the mission and the educational program of the school,” he said.

Public school academies employ certified teachers, are not religiously affiliated and do not charge tuition. The academies can teach grades K-12, or any combination of grades.

While public school academies are still state-funded as traditional schools are, the authorizers of public school academies receive three percent of the state funding for those schools in order to pay for oversight and support staff.

Douglas said the arrangement is beneficial for both SVSU and the students, teachers and parents of the public school academies it supports.

Teachers in the public school academies can take advantage of reduced rates for graduate coursework at SVSU, paying 50 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for 12 credits per year at any of SVSU’s campuses.

In addition, scholarships are available for students who graduate from public school academies and seek to attend SVSU.

“That there is a scholarship that could help students from these schools is awesome,” Douglas said. “Having that edge is a great benefit.”

School leaders from the public school academies meet monthly at SVSU, allowing them to share best practices, discuss common issues and take advantage of on-campus opportunities.

“Supporting public school academies helps SVSU stay connected with other communities across the state,” Douglas said.

In the future, Douglas hopes to continue to improve SVSU’s support of Michigan public school academies.

“I want the students in the schools we authorize to grow at a personal level, but also as they age to come to SVSU and take advantage of our opportunities,” he said. “I want to expand the opportunities for student success.”

Douglas said another goal is increased participation from SVSU faculty, staff and students in support of the public school academies.

“I think the sky’s the limit. With technology, it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face,” he said. “I want to accelerate the exploration of these opportunities for public school academies.”

This entry was posted on Monday, January 12th, 2015 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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