Charter middle school approved for PB next fall


Another charter school opening in Pine Bluff aims to prepare students for college, a spokesman said.

The Quest Middle School of Pine Bluff will open its doors for the fall semester in August 2013 to a maximum of 220 students in the fifth through the eighth grades.

The school will be located at 320 S. Blake St., that previously served as the Pine Bluff office of the U.S. Census Bureau and had once served as a discount store next to Sav U Mor grocery store.

The Arkansas State Board of Education approved a request Nov. 1 for Responsive Education Solutions of Lewisville, Texas, to establish the open enrollment charter school in Pine Bluff.

“It will have a college prep curriculum that teaches the students how to implement study skills at an earlier age and prepares them to be independent learners at an earlier age,” said ResponsiveEd Arkansas Regional Director Virginia Perry. “The curriculum is somewhat classical and utilizes innovative teaching methods.

Perry said that the school will add a grade level every year beginning in the fall of 2014 until grades 5 through 12 are offered.

“The high school grades will be housed in a different building,” Perry said.

Perry said that the school aims to have two teachers per grade.

“We plan to hire all Arkansas staff and will be advertising for positions locally and on the ResponsiveEd website,” Perry said.

“Our main mission is to provide our students with hope for the future, to tell them that they can be what they want to be and to teach them the skills that will allow them to continuously learn,” Perry said.

The ASBE also approved requests by ResponsiveEd to open the Premier High School of Little Rock and the Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville for the fall 2013 school term.

Background

ResponsiveEd was founded in 1999 and is currently Texas’ largest public charter school holder, with more than 50 public schools located throughout the state, including Premier High Schools, Vista Academies, Quest Middle Schools, iSchool High, Founders Classical Academy, the Foundation School for Autism and the Texas Virtual Academy.

Perry said that the schools operated by ResponsiveEd do not charge tuition because they are open enrollment charter schools and not private schools.