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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane board approves district’s second charter school

Spokane Public Schools’ board authorized the second charter school in its district Wednesday with a 4-0 vote.

The approval is practically a repeat of the board’s first authorization of a charter school nine months ago.

Like the first charter school, the leader is another participant of the Washington State Charter Schools Association fellowship program. Travis Franklin went through the same program as Brenda McDonald, Pride Prep’s leader.

Like the first, Spokane International Academy is an untested, brand new charter.

Like the last time, the board denied the California-based iLead – an established charter with not-so-great performance measures.

Board member Deana Brower acknowledged that it seems unfair to judge the school on test scores when the other applicant had no track record to look at. While she approved of the untested charter, Brower said, “in the future I will be hesitant.”

Franklin, who quit his job with Mead School District for the opportunity to start a charter, was excited and relieved about the approval.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our community in this new capacity and look forward to building and opening a world-class public school that will serve the students of Spokane for many years to come,” Franklin said.

Spokane Public Schools in January approved the first charter school in the state, Pride Prep, which will serve students in sixth through 12th grades. That school is led by McDonald, a former Garry Middle School principal.

Spokane International Academy proposed a K-8 school. The school will have a strong internationally recognized curriculum; all students will learn English as well as a second language. The students also will partner with community organizations to give students service learning opportunities, according to the charter’s application.

At the end of eighth grade, students will be taken on a teacher-led educational excursion.

Franklin hopes to engage low-income children as well as the refugee population, he said.

The charter is expected to open in fall 2015, and Franklin already has signed a tentative agreement for the school to be located in the former St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Hillyard.

Franklin expects to enroll 160 students the first year in kindergarten, first grade and sixth grade.

The former grade school teacher said starting in both upper and lower grades will help align the curriculum in the upper and lower grades.

Franklin’s hope “is for kids to feel like they can do anything when they leave the school.”