Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Charter school approved to open in Newburgh area

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Albany/HV: Charter school approved to open in Newburgh area
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The State Board of Regents green lights a charter school in the Newburgh area. It'll be the Mid-Hudson's first charter school. As YNN's Elaina Athans tells us, it's aimed at helping people who walked away from their education.

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- "Nothing else has worked in the City of Newburgh," said Newburgh Prep Executive Director Tom Fitzgerald.

A charter school coming to the Newburgh area after recently given the go ahead by the state. It'll essentially be a place of second chances aimed at helping high school dropouts.

"The students who do not achieve, the students who do not fit in, the students who just cannot attend traditional school anymore, these are the students we want to work with," said Fitzgerald.

The curriculum will be vastly different from a public education. At Newburgh Preparatory Charter High School, there will be longer school days, a six week summer program and individual learning plans tailored to each student.

The unique program features could help city kids, according to librarian Doris Free.

She said, "I think they’re willing to learn but you have to find a way to get them."

The Board of Trustees is hoping to enroll 105 students in the first year and open doors for the 2013 school year. But between now and then, there is a lot of work to do.

"The building is very important and we’ve looked at a number of sites," said Fitzpatrick.

A location hasn't be locked in yet, staff needs to be hired and money has to be raised. The board of trustees right now just has promised funds from the state that'll cover a portion of the overall cost to own and run a school in an area with a large high school dropout rate. Fitzpatrick says in Newburgh, it's around 39 percent.

"We feel if we could turn that around and saved really these students from dropping out it could change their lives. It would affect, perhaps, the gang problem in Newburgh, the crime problem in Newburgh, the drug problem in Newburgh and ultimately the poverty," said Fitzpatrick.

These large and pressing issues are goals to be tackled during the five years the school has been chartered for so far.

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