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Sat, May 25

Enrollment up, new programs in place at some charter schools

Prescott Prepatory Academy Director Jennifer Womack and secretary Maria Tornambe watch a Skype training session Friday as they prepare for the Aug. 13 opening of the school. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

Prescott Prepatory Academy Director Jennifer Womack and secretary Maria Tornambe watch a Skype training session Friday as they prepare for the Aug. 13 opening of the school. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

A number of charter schools in the quad-city area have big changes

in store, including a name change for Kestrel High School, a new site location for Pace Preparatory Academy in Prescott, and a big enrollment boost at the Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center in Prescott Valley.

Start dates and time vary depending on the school. Information is available on each school's website, as is information on what parents and students can expect at each school.

Prescott charter schools

Tri-City College Prep High School Superintendent Mary Ellen Halvorson said sign-up sheets are available for parents interested in carpooling. She added that the school will offer a new art gallery, a cross-country bike club, and more.

Charles Mentken, with Prescott's Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy, said that students can look forward to international travel opportunities in the coming school year, not to mention a larger student body and increased outdoor activities.

Emily Dolan with BASIS Prescott asked parents to encourage the learning process with students and celebrate academic progress. "BASIS Prescott is excited about its inaugural year in the quad-cities," Dolan said.

Jennifer Roderick, director for La Tierra Community School, said the first week will be devoted to character education, establishing new routines and rhythms, and discovering the rich expedition content students will embrace for their first semester of learning. "Remember to wear good shoes for walking," Roderick said. 

The campus will expand this year to include new offices at the home at 134 N. Virginia Street.

Jenny Womack, director for Prescott Preparatory Academy, reminded parents the school has undergone a name change. "We changed from Kestrel because we no longer offer the same things Kestrel used to. We're more focused on helping kids to graduate," Womack said.

Extra tutoring, life skills education, an after school program and more will be offered in the coming year, Womack said.

Mountain Oak Charter School will begin classes on a Tuesday, according to information on its website. The Waldorf-inspired charter school first opened its doors in 1999.

While classes have already begun at Skyview School, parents are reminded to check the website for updates at, which states the school will follow the Prescott Unified School District this year when it comes to school closures and delays related to weather.

Terese Soto with Willow Creek Charter School said students are asked to maintain a high standard of excellence both socially and academically, which includes the rigorous Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.

"While this is a positive shift for all students statewide, it may help parents to familiarize themselves with the AZCCRS by going online to," Soto said.

The school will start the year with new computers, a new art teacher and a new kindergarten paraprofessional, she said.

Prescott Valley charter schools

Jeannette Bray, principal of Prescott Valley's Canyon View Preparatory Academy and Park View Middle School, said the first three days of school - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - will focus on light pre-testing, skills alignment, and class orientation. "Attendance is mandatory for students on those days," Bray said.

An open house is also planned for Aug. 4 from 4 to 7 p.m., she said. School sports will switch to the Canyon Athletic Association - a statewide organization that competes with private and public schools, Bray added.;

Elaine Sakelarios with Pace Preparatory Academy in Prescott Valley said Pace has moved to a new location for the new school year. The school is located at 6711 East 2nd Street in Prescott Valley, across from Sherwin-Williams. Transportation to and from school is available for those who contact school administrators in advance.

Cindy Franklin, owner of Franklin Phonetic School, said enrollment is full, but encouraged parents to contact the school to get on a waiting list if interested. Thanks to a recent 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, most of the school's after-school programs will be free, Franklin said.

Patrick Wellert, principal for Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center Inc., said to expect a higher number of students at the school in the coming year.

"We're expecting about 230 students on our campus this year, which is our largest number ever," Wellert said. "We will be holding prom and graduation up here this year. We're creating our own community here."

Wendi Akins, with Acorn Montessori Charter School, invited students to a free breakfast on the first day of school.

Last year Acorn introduced a new reading curriculum that aligns with Arizona's new College and Career Ready Standards. "This year we will start a brand-new aligned math curriculum," Akins said.

Monika Fuller with Prescott Valley Charter School said an open house is planned for Friday, Aug. 8, from 1-7 p.m. Supply lists and enrollment applications can be printed from their website at

A new building, new classrooms, an indoor lunch and athletic area, and ample parking will greet students at the start of the new school year, she added.

Chino Valley Charter School

Susan Siegfried, administrative secretary with Mingus Springs Charter School in Chino Valley, said staff at the school is available to offer any kind of help needed when classes at the school begin on Aug. 4.

Follow Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.


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