Gwinnett at center of charter amendment fight

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Gwinnett locally approved charter schools

Gwinnett Online Campus in Norcross

Opened: 2011

Serves: grades 6-12 (4-12 beginning in 2013)

Uniqueness: option for students who don’t attend a traditional school campus and take classes online, usually from home with extensive teacher interaction and support

2012 enrollment: 179

Performance data: none available yet

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Lawrenceville

Opened: 2007

Serves: grades 9-12

Uniqueness: accelerated curriculum focusing on mathematics, science, engineering and technology, with internships in related research institutions, businesses and industries

2012 enrollment: 851

Performance data: highest SAT scores in the state for 2012: average of 1941

Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville

Opened: As a conversion charter, 2010

Serves: grades 11-12

Uniqueness: offers technical education programs a half day, students co-enrolled at home school, dual credit and potential industry certification

2012 enrollment: 1,024

Performance data: testing data go back to the students’ home schools

New Life Academy of Excellence with locations in Duluth (K-8) and Norcross


Opened: 2007, renewal in 2009 and 2012

Uniqueness: K-8 school with focus on Chinese language and culture

2012 enrollment: 582

Performance data: CRCT 3rd grade reading 2011-2012 — 53 percent met standards and 44 percent exceeds standards. This compared with the districtwide average of 39 percent meeting standards and 55 percent exceeding standards

Source: Gwinnett County Public Schools

Gwinnett, Ivy Prep timeline

May 2007: Ivy Preparatory Academy’s founding board petitions Gwinnett County Public Schools to open a campus for girls after submitting a letter of intent in 2006. Nina Gilbert, a former Gwinnett school administrator, leads the charge.

June 2007: Gwinnett County Public Schools rejects Ivy Prep’s petition.

January 2008: Ivy Prep appeals to the state Board of Education for approval as a state special school and is approved.

August 2008: Ivy Prep opens with 200 students in Norcross.

June 2009: After operating exclusively on state and federal funds, Ivy Prep appeals to the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and wins approval.

September 2010: Gwinnett County Public Schools files a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court challenging the state charter commission’s constitutionality and ability to approve charter schools. Six other local districts join the lawsuit. The case pits Gwinnett, Atlanta, DeKalb, Henry, Bulloch, Candler and Griffin public schools against the commission, the state Department of Education, former Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox and Ivy Prep and others.

May 2010: Fulton Superior Court Judge Wendy L. Shoob rules that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission can approve and fund schools.

October 2010: The Georgia State Supreme Court hears the arguments in the case after seven local school districts appeal.

May 2011: State Supreme Court declares the Georgia Charter Schools Commission unconstitutional.

June 2011: The Gwinnett County school board offers Ivy Prep a one-year charter to keep its doors open, but the school rejects the offer and rescinds its application. Ivy Prep leaders charge that the school board offered significantly less than Gwinnett County Public Schools’ per-pupil funding of $7,549.

July 2011: Gwinnett school board approves Ivy Prep for a one-year contract with funding of $4,400 per pupil.

January 2012: Ivy Prep heads back to the state for consideration of its charter application after its renewal application was rejected by the Gwinnett County school board. There were two applications: one for a boys school and one for the girls school. The local board cites the school’s financial instability as reason for denial.

May 2012: Ivy Prep is approved as a state charter school again after the State Board of Education approves a two-year contract.

School performance data: On eighth-grade writing test for 2011-2012, 90 percent met standards, 3 percent exceeded standards. This compares with the district average, 76 percent meeting standards and 17 percent exceeding standards.

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