A new charter school is taking public input to gauge interest in bringing a new campus to either Sherman or Denison.
Responsive Education Solutions recently began looking into bringing one of its charter schools to the area. The nonprofit organization currently runs over 70 charter schools in Texas, including 22 classical education style campuses. Director of Communication for Responsive Education Solutions Billy Rudolph said the organization is looking to bring a new “classical education” style charter school to North Texas.
“We are branching out and expanding beyond the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to make sure everyone has access to school choice,” Rudolph said
He described the schools as having a classical style education that would combine liberal arts, music and Latin with the traditional core classes of English, math and science. Rudolph said there would also be a strong civics component with an emphasis on teaching students virtues and morals alongside their academics.
“What makes our schools different is we focus more on the moral character part of the education as an equal focus to the academic portion,” Rudolph said.
He said classical education goes back to ancient Greek and Latin studies, but the school will also combine modern sciences, math and the arts with western culture to provide what he called a modern curriculum.
The school is still early in the process and Rudolph said it wouldn’t be able to open for classes before the fall of 2020. He said the current discussion is to develop a kindergarten through fifth grade campus and then add grades up to eighth depending on the level of interest. Rudolph said the school will offer free tuition to Texas residents.
“We have had steady responses,” Rudolph said. “There is interest in the community. We want to let it (the survey) run a bit longer to see how viable a school will be there.”
Rudolph said there has been interest expressed to the organization to put a school either in Sherman or Denison, depending on where the need arises. He said the plan would be to look for a suitable building currently in existence that would meet the school’s needs and move into that.
Last a month a group of Grayson County superintendents met with Texas District 62 Rep. Reggie Smith to discuss issues schools face during this legislative session — including their concerns regarding charter schools.
Denison Independent School District Superintendent Henry Scott said he spoke with Smith about charter schools and how they impact districts
“They need to be held more accountable,” Scott said. “In many cases, they don’t have an elected board. They are freed from a lot of state requirements we have to abide by. Even though they are considered a public school, they still have capacity to pick and choose students much like a private school. A public school doesn’t have those choices.”
Scott said he didn’t believe charter schools were geared to serve rural areas as much as metropolitan areas.
Rudolph anticipated push back from public schools on grounds of the funding issue.
“The money belongs to the student the entire time,” Rudolph said. “What makes our school different is we focus more on the moral character part of the education as an equal focus to the education part.”
He also said his schools are held to the same accountability standards as the independent school districts. Rudolph said while it would operate as a charter school, it would have a look and feel more in line with a private school in many respects, including having a dress code.
“It is more a college preparatory feel,” Rudolph said. “There is a level of etiquette and discipline you would see on a classical school campus you wouldn’t find at a traditional ISD campus.”
He said, as of 2018, all of Responsive Education Solutions’ campuses have met standard according to Texas Education Agency evaluations. Rudolph said those looking for more information can visit the website www.classicaledu.com or call Responsive Education Solutions’ main offices at 972-316-3663