Today, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board approved the fifth public charter school for the state: Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School. The school is set to open in the fall of 2018 in Clarksdale, Miss., and at full enrollment will serve students in grades K-8. In the fall of 2018, the school will enroll 150 total students in Kindergarten, first, and second grades. The school intends to add one subsequent grade level each year until all grades (K-8) are served. Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School is the first charter school approved to operate in the Mississippi Delta. All other approved charter schools are located in Jackson, Miss.
“Today is an historic day for public school children in the Mississippi Delta. Clarksdale Collegiate, the first Mississippi public charter school to be approved outside of Jackson, will provide a free, college-preparatory public school choice for families in the Delta,” said Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First. “Reviewers recognized the quality of Clarksdale Collegiate’s robust application as well as the outstanding leadership of its founding school leader, Amanda Johnson. The Clarksdale Collegiate school plan is dedicated to high-quality teaching, college readiness, and student engagement. Throughout the rigorous application process, Clarksdale Collegiate also received strong letters of support from community members in Clarksdale, across the Delta, and statewide, proving that demand and support for the school are strong.”
Charter schools are free public schools. Charter schools get their name from the contract—or charter—that the school signs with the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. The charter describes the rights and responsibilities of the school and contains goals for the school’s academic and financial performance. Like traditional public schools, charter schools:
- Must accept all students who apply, unless there is not enough room, in which case they must randomly draw names for admission.
- Cannot charge tuition.
- Administer the same state tests and are rated by the same accountability system as traditional public schools.
- Are subject to the same restrictions on teaching religious doctrine as traditional public schools.
- May not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, disability or other categories, including academic or athletic ability.Are subject to an independent audit of their finances.
- Are subject to civil rights, health, and safety laws.
No students or teachers are assigned to charter schools by a school district. Rather, parents choose to enroll their children, and teachers choose whether to apply for employment.
The mission of Mississippi First is to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. Mississippi First is a leading voice for state-funded pre-K, high-quality public charter schools, and rigorous state learning standards.