Next round of applications for charter schools focused on nursing and business mentoring

Two new organizations are applying to open charter schools in West Virginia in the next few years.

The Nurse Workforce Program (WIN) Academy is proposing an accelerated nursing program option for up to 30 high school students in the ten county areas served by BridgeValley Community and Technical College. The application describes the charter school as an initiative of BridgeValley President Casey Sacks.

The focus will be on high school students. Participants are allowed to complete the first year of the assistant-level registered nurse program.

“If successful, WIN Academy will help a small percentage of younger students complete their nursing program in their mid-20s, which will help address the labor shortage of registered nurses – a high-demand/high-wage position in West Virginia ” the group wrote in its application.

The MECCA School of Business Studies hopes to open in Berkeley County for middle and high school students with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and finance. Its application proposal begins in the fall of 2024 for approximately 250 seventh- and eighth-graders. Over time, the school can grow to 850 students in Year 12.

The name stands for MBEF College and Vocational College. “MBEF”, in turn, stands for “Mentoring by Example Foundation,” a nonprofit that works with young people.

“MBLI believes that all students can reach their full potential and will provide students with the opportunity to explore their interests in business and entrepreneurship, while developing leadership skills,” the organization wrote in its application.

The deadline for new applicants to the West Virginia Board of Professional Charter Schools was last week.

Adam Kessel

“The prospect of having general and specialized charter schools in West Virginia is great,” said Adam Keesel, chairman of the committee.

“I would like to see a variety of proven or innovative curriculum models, including classical schools, with varying enrollment sizes that fit the needs and preferences of a variety of families, students and communities across the state.”

He noted that if both new applicants are approved, that would bring the total number of approved charter schools in West Virginia to seven.

“The rate of growth appears to be in line with the legislature’s 10-charter limit in the first three years,” Kissel said.

West Virginia has had no charter schools until now, after passing a state law allowing charter schools in 2019. The first schools have opened to students in the past few weeks.

A few weeks ago, West Virginia College in Morgantown started the school year with 470 students.

As of last weekend, Eastern Panhandle Prep Academy had enrolled 330 students.

West Virginia Virtual Academy enrolled 261 students.

The Virtual Prep Academy has 192 students enrolled.

The fifth Nitro Preparatory Academy, which was approved to open this year, was delayed this year due to site selection and is scheduled to open next year.

Even with legal challenges to the constitutionality of the system, the first charter schools have taken root.

Garrett Balenji

“I don’t think West Virginia fully appreciates the potential of charter schools to solve some of our state’s biggest problems,” said Garrett Barangi, executive director of Cardinal College, which supports various School Choice initiatives. West Virginia.

“For example, in the case of nursing charter schools in the Kanawha Valley, the more you can address issues like nursing shortages upstream, the better it will be for taxpayers, the state and the local community. Once West Virginians are comfortable with educational choices, I expect we will We will continue to see significant growth in charter schools and educational options, which in general is a good thing for children and families.”

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