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Back to school Alabama 2022: New charter schools set to open

AL.com 8/10/2022 Savannah Tryens-Fernandes, al.com
Tommy Bice, left, and Martin Nalls, center, present I3 Academy's charter school appeal to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission on March 25, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. © Trisha Crain/al.com/TNS Tommy Bice, left, and Martin Nalls, center, present I3 Academy's charter school appeal to the Alabama Public Charter School Commission on March 25, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala.

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Two new Alabama charter schools are opening this school year along with two conversion schools previously run by Montgomery County that will reopen as charters.

Public charter schools are tuition-free, privately managed public schools. Currently, Alabama has two types of public charters: Conversion charter schools are existing public schools that are converted into charters and have independent school boards, and start-up charter schools are new public schools established by a non-profit organization.

Read more Ed Lab: Back to school dates across Alabama.

The Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School, located in a temporary site in Bessemer, will open Aug. 22. The school will provide STEM-focused career training as well as dual enrollment opportunities with Tuskegee University.

“In addition to hands-on, experiential instruction, we will provide clearly defined pathways for our diverse student body to enter aviation and aerospace career,” the school’s site states.

Also in Bessemer, the Empower Community School is supposed to open for younger students this month. The school, which serves grades K-2 and 6-7, says it takes a personalized approach to learning that “supports the academic, social, and emotional development of each scholar.” A specific start date is not listed.

The two conversion charters - Nixon Elementary School and Bellingrath Middle School - both will reopen this year with the support of the Montgomery Education Foundation and Phalen Leadership Academies. The schools were previously run by Montgomery County Schools.

Phalen Leadership Academy, which is based in Indianapolis, runs 19 charter schools throughout the country. Their stated goals with the two Montgomery schools are to “serve the local community and create a safe and thriving space for scholars to feel loved, empowered, and encouraged through quality education.”

Ivy Classical Academy in Elmore County was expected to open this fall, but AL.com was unable to confirm an opening date and recent media reports state the school now is set to open next year.

Alabama has been pointed to as a growth point for charter schools nationally. Enrollment has increased 65% in the state, mostly due to new schools opening in the last two years and existing schools adding multiple grades of students.

Alabama was the state with the second-highest charter school enrollment growth during the 2020-21 school year, according to a study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit al.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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