“We’re blindsided by it.”
“We’re rushing through this.”
“This is our first time really hearing about this.”

   Comments such as these dominated a Tuesday night community information session for the proposed Barlow Park Elementary play-based charter school.

   Parents and community members voiced worries that the Barlow Park staff and the Ripon Area School District were charging ahead without a clear plan or concrete details.

   This concern was rooted in the fact that the new charter school would be unlike any other in the school district.

    According to Tanya Sanderfoot, principal of Barlow Park Elementary and Journey Charter schools, the proposed charter school will be play-based instead of project-based like Journey or Quest charter schools.

   This means it would incorporate scheduled times set aside for guided play and free play along with time focused on academics such as math and reading.

   But the key difference is how the students will be separated or categorized. Under the traditional system, students are placed in grades based on the date their birthday fell on, meaning they are categorized by age.

   Sanderfoot explained the new charter school would instead place students in classrooms not by age but by their competency levels.

Read the full story in the Feb. 7, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.