Quest accepting applicants


Quest Middle School of Pine Bluff is accepting applications for the upcoming academic year.

The charter school enrolls students from grades five to eight and finished its first year in Pine Bluff in 2013-2014, said Alan Wimberley, the chief education architect for Responsive Education Solutions, the nonprofit that runs the school.

Parents may apply in person at 308 S. Blake St. in Pine Bluff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; by telephone at 870-280-2232; or online at http://questmiddleschools.com/apply-now-pine-bluff-2014-2015.

“We stay small by design to maintain a close relationship with the families in the community,” Wimberley said.

Enrollment will stop at 30 students per grade for a total of 120 students in the building. Similar to a public school, Quest does not charge tuition and does not administer an admissions test to applicants.

Quest Middle School of Pine Bluff is accepting applications until it reaches 30 students in each grade, Wimberley said. If Quest reaches its capacity, it will keep new applicants on a waiting list.

“We have spots open,” Wimberley said. “Enrollment is still open and ongoing.

“We are under the same requirements as any school in Arkansas,” Wimberley said. “The difference between a public school and a charter school is that the charter is not connected to the local district. We have a direct agreement with the State Board of Education. … There is no tuition, no fees, just as if your child attended a district school. We are funded just like a district school.”

Quest is heading into its first year under the leadership of Debbie Foster as principal, he said.

“I hired Debbie seven years ago at one of our schools in Texas,” Wimberley said. “She is proven and experienced. … I have never met anybody who builds as effective relationships with kids.”

Quest students receive individualized instruction with an emphasis on math and literacy.

“Kids can be in sixth grade. But did they learn everything they need previously to be effective in sixth grade,” Wimberley said. “We use diagnostics to measure math and literacy. We sit down personally with each kid to help, not just as a group, but individually.”

Responsive Education Solution operates about 70 charter schools in Texas, Wimberley said. Those schools collectively enroll about 18,000 students, he said.