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Panel recommends new charter school for LISA Academy system

by Cynthia Howell | February 23, 2021 at 12:25 p.m.
FILE — First grade teacher Kailan Johnson works with Cataleya Orozco-Rodriguez on an english assignment in class at LISA Academy in Springdale in this Oct. 29, 2020 file photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Gottschalk)

The Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel on Tuesday endorsed the LISA Academy charter school system’s plan to establish a semi-virtual “hybrid” school for kindergarten-through-12th grades in the coming 2021-22 school year.

The proposed LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School calls for providing students with virtual instruction paired with a requirement that students report once a week — or at least every other week — for one-half day at a time to a campus or satellite learning center.

Student time on a LISA campus or at a satellite learning center — such as a local church, community center or library — will be used for hands-on lessons, taking mandatory tests, tutoring, academic enrichment, special services, sports, clubs and interaction with other students.

“Why a hybrid school? We believe hybrid is the future,” LISA Assistant Superintendent Luanne Baroni said in a presentation to the authorizing panel.

Initially, a student’s half day on-site would be on the campus of the existing LISA Academy Middle School, 21 Corporate Hill Drive, in Little Rock, or the LISA Springdale campus, 301 Holcomb St.

Administrative offices for the hybrid school’s principal and other staff would be at the Little Rock middle school site.

Under the plan, satellite learning centers throughout the state will be added as needed to meet family demand until there are centers in the state’s northwest, southwest, northeast, southeast and central regions.

The charter system’s proposal includes provisions to increase the charter system’s enrollment by 1,050 students for the hybrid school and 200 to the 300-student cap at the LISA Springdale campus. The enrollment cap for the system would grow from the current 4,382 over time to 5,632.

The proposal that is in the form of an amendment to the LISA Academy’s existing state charter to operate will now go to the Arkansas Board of Education later for final action. The state Education Board can choose to accept the authorizing panel’s decision or to review it by conducting its own hearing on the school plan.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.


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