MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When the Monongalia County-based West Virginia Academy opens for business in the first week of August, 450 students will begin classes at one of the first charter schools in the state.
President and Board Chair John Treu said the strong enrollment figure is a result of months of outreach and communication with parents in the area. When capacity is reached in a grade level those students will be placed on a wait-list in the order they were received.
“We’ve been listening to parents all along and so the response in strong enrollment is really just a reflection of our willingness to listen, respond and address the concerns of parents,” Treu said.
Despite labor problems across all sector Treu said hiring staff and teachers is nearly complete. According to the West Virginia Academy website, there are teaching and administrative positions available.
“Of the about 30 faculty and staff that we need we’re probably at about 27 or 28 right now,” Treu said. “We’re just basically wrapping up our hiring process now.”
The school is located at 763 Chestnut Ridge Road in a former WVU research facility. Treu said the building already has security and safety features required in schools, but they are making some modifications to make room for class space. Treu said they have a capacity there of about 530 students.
“We are planning for growth,” Treu said. “We think during the second year at some point, depending on how construction goes we should be moving into a new facility that will accommodate more students.”
The primary recruiting area encompasses Monongalia and portions of Preston County. The academy will also offer before and after school programming in addition to advanced placement courses, sports and clubs.
“Any student in West Virginia can attend our school, but we do have a primary recruitment area,” Treu said. “The only difference between someone in the primary recruitment area and someone outside is we provide transportation to students in the primary recruitment area.”
The Advisory Committee of Families (ACF) is the official parent association. The president of that group will also hold a seat on the board. Parents can also be members of the ACF and participate as a volunteer at events.
Treu said the academy will follow the same standards and reporting system as public schools. As students progress, the subject matter is linked across classrooms to lesson a real-world context.
“At our school we’re much more coordinated, so the parents know exactly what’s being taught,” Treu said. “It’s also better for sequential learning because we won’t have as many knowledge gaps among our students because the teachers will be a little more coordinated on what they’re teaching.”