The Collier Charter Academy on Immokalee Road will open in August. (Submitted photo/Lewis Perkins)
Collier Charter Academy, opening in August on Immokalee Road, gives students a choice other than traditional public school education. Although charter schools are considered public schools, they are liberated from the politics displayed in many traditional public schools. Both, traditional and charter schools answer to the Florida Department of Education and other education boards and are nonprofit. This means that in order to generate money for supplies, salaries, and equipment, both schools must adhere to and be held accountable to these governing boards. There are no differences in adhering to state standards, (which includes participating in the FSA), teacher to student ratio, or teacher certification. While traditional public schools have zones where students are required to attend schools in their zones, charter schools allow parents to decide to withdraw their child from their zoned school and enroll them in a charter school. The important thing to remember is that students have the choice to return to their zoned mainstream school. Parents, wishing to enroll their children in a charter school, will have to provide their own transportation. Although the school does have certain circumstances where they will provide transportation, these incidences are few. Collier Charter Academy will offer extracurricular activities based on the demands after school begins. Spokesperson for the Collier Charter Academy, Colleen Reynolds, states: “We will host tutoring sessions in fall and spring based on student need as well as provide opportunities for after school enrichment sessions to take place in the fall and spring based on student interest.” The school will also encourage parent and community volunteers to further enhance the student’s learning experience. Collier Charter Academy is dedicated to meeting individual student needs and has a state-of-the-art facility for students to receive engaging and differentiated instruction. Through the Franklin Covey Foundation, Collier Charter Academy will introduce a program called the Leader in Me. Reynolds adds: “This program teaches students leadership and life skills that can be applied to not only the academic setting but their real world experiences. The program empowers every student to reach their full leadership potential because we believe every child can be a leader.” Franklin Covey’s seven steps to success, (Be Proactive®, Begin with the End in Mind®, Put First Things First®, Think Win-Win®, Synergize®, and Sharpen the Saw®) are the bases of producing students who are community role models. These steps also help Collier Charter Academy incorporate a positive behavior approach to discipline. “The 7 Habits through the Leader in Me program will also serve as a guide for all students on how to be a student leader and role model for others. These programs will support classroom management and discipline issues that may arise.” Furthermore, Reynolds adds: “Our school will prepare students for a rewarding future by using the whole-child approach to teaching. We need to prepare our students for the 21st Century. In addition to providing a high quality academic choice for students, we will also employ teachers, faculty and staff. We have built a beautiful new campus that also contributes to the local economy. Our schools are known for giving back to the community.” Although the open enrollment deadline for this coming school year has passed, students can apply throughout the year by going on www.CollierCharter.org and click the “APPLY HERE” button or call 321-413-9380 and speak to the enrollment manager. Prospective students are chosen through a lottery. As more seats become available, new names will be chosen and others will be put on a waiting list. For those wishing to find out more about Collier Charter Academy, an information session will be held on May 22 at 6 pm at 15205 Collier Boulevard, Suite 110.