Redfield group hopes for new charter school in 2014

A non-profit corporation supported by a group of residents from Redfield and surrounding communities hopes to open the Redfield Tri-County Charter School in time for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

RTCCS — which would be an open enrollment charter school — is one of nine organizations planning to open 11 new schools in Arkansas next year. The groups filed letters of intent with the Arkansas Department of Education by the July 1 deadline.

They now have until Sept. 3 to file a full application with the ADE.

Amanda Kight is the secretary of the RTCCS organization.

“We plan to offer a curriculum that is project-based and utilizes new technology to engage the students in the learning process,” Kight said. “The students will be involved in hands-on experiments and this concept will apply to all subjects.”

Kight said that the RTCCS plans to offer grades six through eight for the first year of operation with 50 spots in each grade.

“We believe that capping a first year enrollment at 150 students will allow for a successful start for the school,” Kight said. “We plan to offer an additional grade level per year after that until we have a full grade six through 12 program.”

Kight said that adding the additional grades is a natural strategy to allow the students who will be attending the school the ability to graduate from RTCCS.

“The elementary grades in Redfield are currently served by M.A. Hardin Elementary School, which is in the White Hall School District,” Kight said.

“We recently joined the Arkansas Public School Resource Center,” Kight said. “They offer assistance with developing curriculum as well as legal advice so we will be able to use them as a resource as we move forward. We also have the names of a couple of people who have experience with opening charter schools that we can call on.”

Kight said that the group plans to recruit its student body from three particular areas.

“We are looking at bringing in kids from the eastern edge of Grant County who have long bus rides to Sheridan as well as kids from southern Pulaski County around Hensley who also have long bus rides within the Pulaski County Special School District,” Kight said. “We will also have kids coming from right around Redfield.”

“That is where we got the idea to incorporate the tri-county theme into the name of the school,” Kight said. “A lot of people who live in Redfield work in Little Rock, so RTCCS would be a good choice for their kids.”

The group plans to lease land at 1811 Highway 365 north for the school, which is the former location of the KATV Channel 7 broadcast tower which collapsed in early 2011.

“Our plan for a charter school is pretty typical when a public school is closed in a community,” Kight said. “The Friends of Weiner organization is also hoping to open a charter school after they lost their public school.”