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Beaverton School Board denies proposals for at-risk, Chinese-based charter schools

Chinese school concept generates enthusiasm with leaders

The Beaverton School Board denied two proposals for public charter schools Monday night, but encouraged applicants for a Chinese-oriented school to modify and resubmit its proposal.

After determining applications for Horizons' Outreach Charter School and the Oregon Hope Chinese School did not meet the district Charter School Review Team's established criteria, the board voted unanimously to deny their applications.

Several board members expressed optimism, however, that financial- and instructional-based shortcomings in the Oregon Hope Chinese School's proposal could be successfully addressed to fulfill a worthwhile community niche.

The school would provide a comprehensive, high-proficiency 'bilingual and bi-literate education environment' with an emphasis on Chinese, English and mathematics. OCHS would serve grades K-3 in 2012-13, adding a new grade each year, up to eighth, and cap enrollment at 360 students.

'The review team is excited about this opportunity,' said review team Chairman Carl Mead of the OCHS. 'But this time the recommendation will be denied because (the proposal) doesn't demonstrate financial stability.'

Board member Mary VanderWeele agreed. 'I think this application holds a lot of promise, and I look forward to its resubmission,' she said.

The Horizons' Outreach Charter School would have provided about 150 at-risk middle and high school students a 'rigorous and relevant education' combining 'best practices in proficiency-based instruction and project-based learning,' according to the proposal.

The review team concluded that its proposal did not demonstrate an ability to generate sustained support and financial stability for the school, meet stated goals or provide a comprehensive instructional program for low-achieving students. The applicant also failed, the team determined, to describe how HOCS would differ from existing Beaverton schools.

'This application did fall short in many areas,' said Board Chairman Tom Quillin. 'We appreciate (the team's) rigor in identifying these things.'