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Goodwill Industries wants to expand its adult charter high school to 3 other Arkansas cities

by Cynthia Howell | June 15, 2021 at 7:26 p.m.
A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.

The state Charter Authorizing Panel on Tuesday endorsed plans to duplicate Little Rock’s Excel Center charter school model for students 19 and older at sites in Springdale, Jonesboro and Fort Smith.

The Goodwill Industries-sponsored proposal will now go to the Arkansas Board of Education for a final decision.

The charter panel voted in support of the Excel Center plan — which hinges on funding — at a meeting Tuesday where it also gave tentative approval to:

• Plans and accompanying waivers from four open-enrollment charter school organizations — E-STEM Public Charter Schools Inc., LISA Academy, Graduate Arkansas and Friendship Aspire Academy — to offer remote instructional programs to students.

• Name changes to the classical academy charter schools operated in Arkansas by Responsive Education Solutions.

The Excel Center proposal calls for raising the enrollment cap from the current 350 students for grades nine through 12 to 1,050 students statewide, to accommodate up to three new campuses at addresses not yet identified.

The Excel Center at 7400 Scott Hamilton Drive, is one of 31 Goodwill Industries adult high schools in the nation but the only campus in Arkansas.

The Arkansas charter school opened in 2017-18 as a way to enable adults ages 19 and older to earn a high school diploma as well as work toward industry certificates in jobs such as fork lift operators, welders and pharmacy technicians.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.

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