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Largest charter school in the state begins classes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The first week of secondary school classes is underway at the West Virginia Academy in Morgantown, one of the new public charter schools in the Mountain State.

West Virginia has had no charter schools until now, after passing a state law allowing them in 2019. Charter schools would receive financial support from the state’s public education system and would be given greater operational latitude in exchange for the possibility of losing their right to operate if they fail.

John Treu

The school has an enrollment of 458 students, which is believed to be the largest of the new public charter schools. As of last month, the Eastern Panhandle Preparatory Academy had 366 students enrolled.

According to school president Jon Treu, they carefully selected a building on Chestnut Ridge Road just outside of Morgantown that could be repurposed without a major facelift or an interior reconfiguration. The location also made it ideal for the primary service area of Monongalia-Preston counties, Treu said.

“It’s what used to be a West Virginia University research facility. So the positives to that are it has all the same safety standards required for that type of facility which meets the standards for public schools as well,” Treu said.

The school provides before and after school programming and tailored education experiences for students. The STEM and Language Arts programs attempt to meet students where they are academically along with the West Virginia Ambassador program to promote character development and civility.

Treu said they have made views of parents a priority from the inception of the organization with the survey used to develop the mission.

“We have a sitting position on our governing board for a parent of students,” Treu said. “A parent on the parent organization for the school has a seat on the board.”

The charter school program is new, but the institutions will follow all rules set forth by the West Virginia Department of Education.

“All the data you get on public schools in terms of test scores and various information about students at a particular school- they’ll have that same information about our school because we report on the exact same system.”

Primary students will begin classes next Monday, Aug. 8.

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