WENATCHEE — Parents, students and community members are invited to a tutorial on charter schools Thursday.
Pinnacles Prep, Wenatchee’s proposed charter public school, and the Washington State Charter Schools Association are co-hosting a Charter Schools 101 event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 504 S. Chelan Ave.
Light snacks will be provided and staff from the Wenatchee Public Library will be on hand to keep kids busy with a robotics activity.
Experts from the state organization will talk about the hows and whys of state charter schools in general and Pinnacles Prep Principal Jill Fineis will speak about the vision for the proposed middle and high school that, if all goes according to plan, will open in September 2021.
The first year, it would serve grades 6 and 7, then add a grade each year until it is serving grades 6 through 12. The plan is for about 70 students at each grade level, for a total of 490 students.
“We hope to provide information about the Washington charter school sector and the vision of Pinnacles Prep,” said co-founder and board member Sara Rolfs. “We hope to hear feedback from the community as to our vision and what we might be missing. We have some specific questions that we want feedback on and will engage attendees in small group work.”
The school is working its way through the submissions process to the state Charter School Commission. The application deadline is February 2020, which will trigger commission interviews with board members in April and a public forum in May, Rolfs said. The commission will decide in June whether the application moves forward.
If approved, a contract would be signed in September, followed by a year of hiring core staff, facility acquisition and remodeling.
In the past 15 months, the school’s organizers, which include co-founders Rolfs and Rick Wray, have organized as a nonprofit 501(c)3, established a startup board and hired Fineis as principal. This month, the startup board transitioned to a founding board and established a family and community engagement committee. A facilities committee will come together next month.
According to the statement on its website, Pinnacles Prep’s mission is to embrace equity and inclusion and offer a personalized learning experience that prepares all students to succeed.
The current founding board members include Rolfs and Wray, Karla Soto Mullins, Alma Chacon, Karen Rutherford, Flora Fernandez, Tod Treat and Rafael Aguilar. Mullins and Rutherford also served on the startup board, along with Terry Valdez and Mat Lyons.
“Our startup board committed to one year to help generate the initial vision of Pinnacles Prep and initiate outreach,” Rolfs said. “The founding board is the entity that will be submitting the charter application.”
Board members are selected by recommendation, vetting and skill set, she said.
The board is expected to remain at eight or nine members this year.
“We will look to expand in the future as the organization grows,” she said.
Anticipation of the charter school has been a topic of conversation for Wenatchee School District officials concerned with a further decline in enrollment that could have an impact on the district’s budget.
For additional details or to RSVP for Thursday’s meeting, call Rolfs at 679-2043 or email her at email@example.com.