Page 22 - Scene Magazine 43-03 March 2018
P. 22

Education Scene
BY TIM ALLARD, Superintendent Calhoun Community High School
   As I approach the end of my 6th year at Calhoun Community High School, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some history about our school. Often people have asked me what our school is, where it is, and are baffled that they have never heard of it before. Truthfully, before I was hired, I had never heard of Calhoun Community High School.
CCHS is a chartered public school academy. Charter schools became legal in Michigan in 1993. The motivation be- hind the authorization of charter schools was to offer parents and families choice in where they would like their children to receive their education. According to the National Charter School Institute, there are 44 states that allow charter schools; there are 3 million students attending charter schools; there are 6,900 charter schools nationwide; and there are 129 thousand charter school teachers. Many charter school are K-8, but there are a fair number of charters that are 9-12. CCHS is a 9-12 Alternative High School. We ac-
A Three Legged Stool
cept students from Calhoun County, but sometimes enroll students from Berry or Branch County too. Because we cover such a large geographic area, we are not able to offer transportation. Furthermore, our funding is solely based on state and federal aid. As such, we cannot ask voters for a bond issue or sinking funds. Without these resources, we have to use our fund- ing to pay for staffing as well as a facility and various service contracts for things like food service, technology support, and management fees.
CCHS came to be in the year 2000. At that time the four superintendents of Harper Creek, Pennfield, Battle Creek, and Lakeview along with the president of Kellogg Community College agreed to the concept of one alternative high school that would serve all four districts and our unique population. Our structure and mission were designed to help stu- dents who had fallen behind in credits and were in danger of not graduating. While still meeting the requirements for the
Michigan Merit Curriculum Diploma, we offer fewer credits to graduate and small- er class sizes for more individualized support. As such well over 1000 students have earned their high school diploma from CCHS. It’s likely that many of these individuals would not have graduated had it not been for our school.
What does a three legged stool have to do with all of this you ask? In order for our school to exist and continue its mis- sion, we need three things in place. 1. A management structure. 2. The charter. 3. A facility. Over the last 3 years we have been taxed with the need to replace each leg. At the birth of our school we were managed by the Lakeview School Dis- trict. Lakeview has always valued our program and continues to support it with many students as well as service con- tracts. However, it is costly for a district to manage a charter school and as such we could no longer afford to use their services. We were able to maintain the first leg, however, by contracting with AccessPoint HR for management and hu- man resource support. They have been an excellent partner and they manage many charter school across Michigan. As for the second leg, for the first 15 years of our existence we were chartered by Kellogg Community College. We were the only school they ever chartered. Two years ago they saw their mission and resources for this responsibility changing and we were informed that they would no longer char- ter us. Nonetheless, we reached out to other colleges that hold multiple charters and were fortunate to partner with Bay Mills Community College. Finally, and maybe most importantly is the facility. CCHS began with a few classrooms in a church. As they grew, the need for more space was met by the Lakeview School District. CCHS has leased space at its current location at the Territorial Build- ing on Arbor Street for the last 12 years. It has been a great run, but as our current lease expires at the end of 2019 we will be needing to relocate. We are currently working to secure a new site and we’re confident we can make that happen. Hav- ing all three legs of our school in place will allow us to continue our mission of serving our students. Many students need another chance and another choice. We hope to continue to be a choice for many years to come.
 Another Chance – Another Choice
                      SMALL CLASS SIZES
               Have you lost credit in your current high school?
Are you more successful in a small learning environment with lots of support and one-on-one attention? If so, maybe you should check out Calhoun Community High School. We run a safe and orderly school,
offering the Michigan Merit Curriculum to students who want to
earn their diplomas and move on to college or work.
269-565-2483 •

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