Proposed Bridgeport Charter Would Focus on Upper-grade ESL Students

The Great Oaks Foundation has submitted a proposal to create an upper-grade public charter school in Bridgeport scheduled to open in August, 2015.

“We believe that our approach, which includes an extended school day, rigorous classroom instruction and several hours of tutoring every day, will prepare students for college and ensure their future academic success,” Christina Grant, Great Oaks Foundation vice president, said in a release last week.

The foundation has previously opened public charter schools in Newark, New Jersey and New York’s Lower East Side.

The plan for a new Bridgeport public charter school submitted by the Great Oaks Foundation calls for a middle and high school program focused on students for whom English is a second language.

If anyone (ahem, Jon Pelto) suggests that such a school wouldn’t be just what the doctor ordered for Bridgeport, they need only look at the city’s graduation rates. [State Department of Education, Performance Reports 2012-2013, Bridgeport]

In Bridgeport, only 55.8 percent of students from homes where English isn’t spoken graduate high school in four years.

FYI, the percentage of students in Bridgeport classified by the State Department of Education as “ESL” is 13 percent of the total student population. That’s more than double the statewide average of of 5.5 percent [State Department of Education, CEDAR, Number of English Language Learners, Bridgeport]

The Great Oaks school would begin with a class of 100 sixth graders in the 2015-16 academic year, and grow by one grade every year.

Among the letters of support for the proposal sent to Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, was one from Bridgeport Councilwoman Lydia N. Martinez

“Great Oaks brings tremendous opportunities, resources, strong parent engagement initiatives and a culturally diverse administrative team that will be an asset to our community,” she wrote.

The proposed Great Oaks school would lease space in the Bridgeport Trade and Technology Center on Barnum Avenue before moving to a more permanent school building.

Hartford Courant reporter Vanessa de la Torre has the full list of public charter school applicants. [Hartford Courant, 1/30/2014]



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