Wednesday, June 11, 2003

New charter school opening

Academy will offer grades K-5

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

EVANSTON - Alliance Academy of Cincinnati will become the 17th charter school operating in Hamilton County this fall.

The school is scheduled to open Aug. 21 in the old St. Mark School building at Duck Creek and Montgomery roads in Evanston. The K-5 school, with a capacity for 400 students, will add a grade every year through eighth grade, eventually hoping to serve about 700 students.

The academy will hold its second parent informational meeting at the school tonight.

Charter schools, which first opened in Ohio in 1998, are publicly funded, tuition-free schools run by community groups, parents, nonprofit agencies or for-profit companies.

Alliance Academy of Cincinnati will be managed by National Heritage Academies. National Heritage Academies is one of the nation's largest charter school providers, operating 32 schools in four states, including two schools in Dayton, Ohio.

"What we try to do is focus on the basics and ensure that children are rooted in core knowledge information and substantially grow from that on an interactive level," said Kathleen Gallon, board president of the Alliance Academy of Cincinnati.

"To me, learning is a process. Learning should be fun and exciting, as well as challenging. It should be challenging from both sides of the fence. It should be challenging for the students, as well as challenging for the teacher. I think this curriculum offers that and that's why I like it," said Gallon.

The school will also emphasize values.

"The other things I think will make the Alliance Academy of Cincinnati kind of stand out: We will have a very strong parent involvement program," she said.

Gallon, a former teacher, is president of Success Matters Inc., a business consulting and training firm downtown.

"The parents are encouraged very, very strongly in all of the National Heritage schools to have not only a strong voice, but a strong involvement in the school," she said.

The Alliance Academy of Cincinnati has hired Brian Duffy as principal. Duffy spent the last three years as chief school administrator and principal for New Jersey's Montague Township Schools.

Of 17 charter schools in Hamilton County, three are operated by Cincinnati Public Schools, and 14 are sponsored by the Ohio State Board of Education. One of the 14 is in Mount Healthy City School District, while the rest are in Cincinnati Public Schools District.

Sabis Educational Systems Inc., which ran a charter school called Sabis International School in Mount Auburn for two years, has preliminary approval for a new charter school from the University of Toledo Charter School Council.

If the company wins final approval in late June or July, the International Academy of Cincinnati would be housed at the former site of Sabis International School.

To learn more

Parents interested in learning more about the Alliance Academy of Cincinnati, a new charter school, can attend a 7 p.m. meeting today at the former St. Mark's School building, 3500 Montgomery Road, Evanston.

Parents can meet the new principal, members of the school board and representatives of National Heritage Academies, which will manage the school.

Enrollment applications will be available for grades K-5 at the meeting or by calling (800) 699-9235.


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