Arkansas Education Board approves three LISA Academy schools for Fayetteville

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The Arkansas School Board on Wednesday gave final approval to LISA Academy’s public charter school plans to offer K-12 in Fayetteville.

The recently approved amendment to LISA Academy’s state-issued charter calls for the construction of two buildings to house three schools on South McGuire and West Van Ashe streets, north of Fayetteville. Kindergarten through fifth grade is scheduled to open in the 2023-24 school year, followed by middle school in 2024-25 and high school in 2026-27.

The Board of Education ratified the charter school’s plans at a meeting in which – for the first time – it reinstated a teacher’s license to an individual who had permanently surrendered his license in 2011 amid a state investigation into allegations he violated the state’s educator code of ethics.

Board of Education members noted that LISA’s Fayetteville campus will be located some distance from residential neighborhoods.

Hasan Sazci, assistant superintendent and principal of LISA Academy’s Springdale campus, told the board that a traffic study showed the school is within a 20-minute drive of several residential communities and that the system will provide school bus transportation if there is a demand. for that.

Luanne Baroni, another assistant superintendent and director of communications for the system, told the council that the advantage of the location is that it is accessible to families in Fayetteville and Springdale. LISA Academy has a K-8 school in Springdale and families want access to a LISA high school, she said.

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RISE THE CAPE

Last month, the Arkansas Charter Licensing Group approved the LISA Academy system’s proposal to open three schools in Fayetteville.

The State Education Board followed by accepting the panel’s recommendation to add three schools to the charter and increase the system’s maximum enrollment cap from 1,168 students to a total of 6,800 students to be served in Central and Northeast. western Arkansas.

The Board of Education has the authority to accept the charter committee’s recommendation on a charter plan or conduct its own review of the proposal before making a final decision.

The LISA Academy system, headquartered in Little Rock, is the largest charter system in the state by number of campuses.

The system currently operates seven schools in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Springdale, as well as Arkansas’ LISA hybrid school. It is building three additional K-12 schools in Rogers to serve the Rogers and Bentonville areas. The Rogers campus will begin opening to elementary students in August 2022.

KLS II Leasing is constructing LISA Academy’s Rogers campus on Horsebarn Road and will also construct the Fayetteville campus. KLS will own the buildings and lease them to the LISA Academy system.

KLS, an affiliate of the Walton Family Foundation, will charge the system 12% of public funding generated by campuses.

LICENSE RESTORED

The state Board of Education routinely places on probation, suspends, revokes, or takes other action on teacher licenses.

The conditional reinstatement of Christopher Parker’s permanently revoked license by the Board of Education on Wednesday was a first for the board and was only recently made possible by Arkansas Code Annotated 6/17/40.

Reinstatement of license to teach English/Language Arts and Drama and Speech is conditional on completing 36 hours of professional training. Once hired by a district, he will be on probation for three years and must work with a mentor teacher during this time.

The status allows reinstatement after passing 5 or 10 years and meeting other qualifications.

Parker told the board that he surrendered his license in 2011 rather than submit to a state investigation into allegations that he violated the state’s teacher code of ethics while working in Lake Hamilton School District.

Parker, who has since obtained a teacher’s license in South Dakota and has applied for reinstatement of his Arkansas credentials, admitted to failing to adequately supervise his classes of students, failing to report inappropriate behavior by students to his supervisors and promote a philosophy about creativity that has been interpreted as indoctrination. .

He told the Board of Education that he had wrongly focused his attention on the school’s large theater production at the expense of his other teaching responsibilities.

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