Alaska: Twindly-Bridge Charter School & Homeschooling

Although this article is from September 2006, I think it does well in highlighting the parent-directed mentality coming into conflict with public school mentality and regulations.  

Posted on: Wednesday, 20 September 2006 
Charter School Survives Rough Debut, Looks Toward Smoother Year:
TWINDLY BRIDGE: Parents and School Staff Struggled to Set Roles.
By Becky Stoppa, Anchorage Daily News, Alaska

Sep. 20–WASILLA — While an internal power struggle and low test participation made for a bumpy first year at Twindly Bridge Charter School, hopes run high that a new principal can help the school right its course.

Twindly Bridge serves about 210 students. Its doors opened in August 2005. It is one of three charter schools operating in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. Its founder, Anna Roys, said the school blends the independence of home-school study with traditional public-school structure.

Twindly Bridge parents choose a curriculum and manage most of their children’s education at home. They must develop a learning plan for each child and maintain monthly contact with one of the school’s two teachers.

Parents must submit samples of their children’s work in math and writing each quarter and see to it that their children complete all state-mandated tests each year.

Twindly Bridge in turn offers workshops for parents and on-site activities for students to enhance home-based programs. It offers guidance and support in helping students meet state standards and fulfill high school graduation requirements.

“The whole idea was to try to bring into the school what the home-school community has learned and to bring into the home-school community the best of what (traditional) schools have learned,” Roys said.

Richard Webb, chairman of the Academic Policy Committee, said Twindly Bridge parents, teachers, supervisor and governing board spent the first year struggling to define their respective roles and deciding how best to run the school.

“Some people were saying we need more structure, we need more accountability, we need to be in classes more. Others were saying, ‘No, we need to be independent,’ ” Webb said.

Twindly Bridge determines much of that on its own, said assistant superintendent George Troxel. But it consumed anywhere from five to 20 hours of the School District administration’s time last year, he said.

Troubles at Twindly Bridge proved so time-consuming that district administrators cited them as one reason the School Board should deny an application for a fourth charter school, Highland Tech Valley High Charter School, in August.

But Twindly Bridge was at a disadvantage, Roys acknowledges. Roys, who wrote the school plan and was the school’s supervisor last year, has no public school experience. (end of snips)

Other articles for background information:

Home-school support is on the way
March 25, 2005
JOEL DAVIDSON/Frontiersman reporter

MAT-SU – Public home-schooling in the Valley is popular and growing fast. Roughly 1,100 kids are enrolled this year in the Mat-Su Borough School District’s home-based education programs and at least 200 more are expected to join when the new Twindly Bridge Charter School opens in the fall.  In an effort to accommodate families that want to home school..

Parents who opt to home school through the MSB School District receive assistance from certified teachers to develop curriculum and track student progress. Unlike independent home school, which is also very popular in the Valley, public home-school parents receive government funding at 80 percent of the cost it takes to educate a standard public school student.
Public home-school kids are legally public school students and are required to take state-certified tests to demonstrate academic progress. Independent home-schooling, however, is largely religion-based, Lochner said, and parents are free to teach whatever they want, with no state regulations.

When it comes to testing, the devil’s in the details
August 17, 2007
By John R. Moses

Twindly-Bridge Charter School had another kind of statistical glitch – not enough students who are counted as “economically disadvantaged” showed up for testing. While the actual population of that subgroup is 28, information about which students are economically disadvantaged is confidential, McCauley said. Every subgroup must have 95 percent of its members present for the test scores to count. Twindly-Bridge’s principal was given some simple advice for next year – do whatever you have to do to get all students in school on testing days.

About Annette

Annette - A former homeschool mom in a state with no public school at home programs (yet).
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One Response to Alaska: Twindly-Bridge Charter School & Homeschooling

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