Hayward Approves Two New Charter Schools

The Board of Education voted unanimously last Wednesday to accept petitions that will establish two new Charter Schools within the Hayward Unified School District.

Knowledge Enlightens You Academy Charter School, or KEY, and Silver Oak Montessori Charter School were both approved by the board of trustees for establishment in the summer of 2013.

“I hope we have a very successful future together,” exclaimed Board Member Lisa Brunner.

This was the second time the Board of Education received a petition to approve both charters. The HUSD first received a charter petition proposing KEY Academy in May 2012 but after review, the petition was denied.

“HUSD denied the petition because it did not present a reasonably comprehensive description of the elements required by Education Code Section 47605 (b), and the petition presents a potentially unsound educational program,” according a board of education summary report.

An improved petition was submitted, however there were still concerns in some of the following areas: budget, human resources and in educational programs.  Petitioners of KEY Academy received feedback from district staff on Dec. 4, 2012 and then submitted a final revised version of the charter petition.

“KEY Academy Charter School, proposes a K-8 program beginning on August 2013, they seek a five year charter with an expiration of June 30, 2018,” said Superintendent Donald Evans.

The petition stated that KEY Academy plans to serve over a dozen linguistic backgrounds that include Farsi, Arabic and other Persian dialects.

“I am not a big fan of charter schools, but you guys made suggested changes, so I will vote yes,” said  Lisa Brunner during the meeting. “What I like about your charter is that it deals with second languages, and with the diversity of our community it would be nice to add the Arabic languages to our biliteracy seals in the future.”

The Board of Education approved Key Academy with a vote of 5-0.

“Congratulations KEY Academy, we look forward to seeing great things, and please make us proud,” said Board President William McGee .

The petition submitted for Silver Oaks Montessori states that it would serve students in grades 9-12. Silver Oaks will be connected to Golden Oaks Montessori Charter School, a K-8 program that already exists in the city of Hayward.

“Silver Oak will be a public, tuition free school and aims to offer a Montessori based education to students and families seeking an alternative education in Hayward,” states Silver Oak High School’s website.

“This is a good way for us to look and reflect why we have the community exercising the right for a choice of education, I am hoping that it will pass. I will be voting yes and we will be watching you. We do have high expectations,” Board Member Luis Reynoso said.

Mary Jane Manglicmot, a graduate of Mt. Eden High School and now a parent of a Golden Oak Montessori student, attended the meeting to support the idea of Silver Oak Charter School.

“My child did well in Montessori and I want his education to continue in the program,” she said. She mentioned that her child does not function in a typical class setting, sitting in a chair eight hours a day, and that Montessori offered a way to learn through being active.

After submitting a petition that was denied by the board, Silver Oak petitioners made revisions to their petition based on the feedback they had received from the district.

The Board of Education approved Silver Oak Charter with another vote of 5-0.

Now that the petitions are approved, it is up to the charters schools to start looking for locations to establish their schools, Dr. Reynoso commented.

“If they are having trouble finding a place, then they will go ahead and contact us and we will help them find empty rooms or buildings that they can use,” said Reynoso.

Reynoso further commented that the approval of these two new schools was a positive thing for Hayward.

“In the long run, the more choices the district can provide, then parents will be able to choose which school will help their child best,” explained Reynoso.

There are now five charter schools within the HUSD with the approval of KEY Academy and Silver Oak.