At least three new West Valley charter schools were awarded grants in the amount of $250,000 each — Math and Science Success Academy, in Peoria and Glendale, as well as Somerset Academy Arizona, in Goodyear.
The Arizona Department of Education, through the federal Charter Schools Program, awarded and dispersed the grants to the schools.
The Arizona Charter Schools Association provided technical assistance to the schools and the Department of Education to help procure the money.
Funds were awarded to increase the number of high-quality, public charter schools serving disadvantaged students in Arizona, according to a news release.
The grants were part of $10 million in federal Charter School Program grants awarded to charter schools by either opening new schools, replicating campuses, expanding enrollment or adding grade levels.
The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools voted Dec. 10 to grant a charter to Somerset Academy.
“The Arizona Charter Schools Association is committed to advocating for greater choice and expanded opportunities for all Arizona students,” Association Chief Academic Officer Ildi Laczko-Kerr stated in a news release. “We were proud to support this effort and help secure this critical funding, which will go a long way toward increasing the number of quality public educational options in under-served Arizona communities.”
The Arizona Charter Schools Association played a vital role in helping secure the federal grants by providing technical assistance to the majority of schools as they prepared for their federal start-up grant applications. The association also offered ongoing support and professional development for these prospective charter operators through its “Start Smart, Stay Smart” training series, which covers charter application review, governing board development and academic program design, as well as services such as technical reviews and mock interviews. This effort is part of the association’s strategic plan, which supports Arizona’s effort to increase access to quality charter schools for under-served students.