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Topic: First Place

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December 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

State’s first charter school on probation; timeline set for fixes

A state commission overseeing charter schools on Wednesday released a series of deadlines for improvements to the state’s first charter school, First Place Scholars in Seattle, which has floundered since classes began in September.

By Jan. 5, the school must hire an interim special education director, to replace a contractor who quit in late October. Currently, no First Place teacher is qualified to work with some two dozen kids who qualify for help with special needs.

And by this Friday, the school must describe how it  has been meeting those kids’ needs since the contractor left.

The deadlines are part of ongoing negotiations between the commission and First Place following the commission’s rejection of the school’s improvement plan last week. Not only did the school fail to turn in its proposed fixes on time, it hardly addressed any of the commission’s concerns, the commission said in a letter to the school Tuesday.

As a result, the school is now on probation, meaning commission staff will visit monthly to make sure the school is following  its charter, a contract that allows First Place to operate as a publicly funded, privately run institution, similar to thousands of charter schools in nearly every other state across the country.

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Comments | Topics: charter, charter schools, First Place

December 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

State commission rejects Seattle charter school’s correction plan

Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

First Place Scholars in Seattle. Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times.

The state commission overseeing Washington charter schools has rejected a corrective action plan from First Place Scholars in Seattle, the state’s first charter school.

The plan from First Place, which has floundered since opening in September, was deficient in some key areas and not submitted on time, said Joshua Halsey, the commission’s executive director. As a result, Halsey said he didn’t have enough time to review it.

Now begins a round of stricter negotiations, where Halsey will detail what changes First Place must complete or face losing its charter.

“The next step is to go over (the corrective action plan),” Halsey said. “It will become more prescriptive, as opposed to the school having the ability to pick the plan and how they’re going to go about that.”

School leader Linda Whitehead did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

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Comments | Topics: charter schools, First Place