The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC hopes to open K-8 charter school on South CampusBy Joshua Knopp special assignments editor

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor

TCC would like to have the first National Heritage Academies charter school in Texas open on South Campus by August 2014.

National Heritage Academies is a chain of kindergarten to eighth grade schools with 74 locations throughout nine states. The schools focus intensely on student growth and college readiness, said NHA manager of state development Megan Dekraker.

“We believe that we need to make students ready for college,” she said during a presentation at the Sept. 22 TCC board meeting. “We don’t think that high school is always the best place to start. We believe you need to start early with students and have a college-going culture.”

Some things the school does differently include giving multiple yearly college readiness tests that measure growth instead of relative grades, having students develop their own behavioral rules and providing constant feedback with teachers and parents.

At the meeting, the board approved continuing conversations with the charter school as well as opening conversations with Fort Worth ISD. The tentative location would be parking lot 5 in the northeast corner of South Campus.

Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said when NHA approached her, she was excited at the opportunity it presented.

“We know that so many of the people who come through here are not prepared,” she said. “We jumped at the opportunity to do what we can do to make sure that the little ones that are coming on that are going to be TCC students in the future will be better prepared than what they might be otherwise.”

Dekraker said the choice to approach the college was a matter of leadership.

“As we looked at potential partners, our contacts in Texas suggested we begin conversations with TCC,” she said. “We were immediately impressed by the dynamic leadership of Chancellor Hadley and the focus that TCC has on providing educational access. As we got to know more TCC staff, we were continually impressed.”

South Campus president Peter Jordan said that having NHA on his campus aligns well with goals TCC already strives toward. NHA is a high-tech, high-touch chain of schools, or schools that use media and hands-on experience heavily in the teaching process. Jordan said TCC strives to be a high-tech, high-touch environment.

He also said that a charter school would be a good place for teaching internships for education majors, and there is also symmetry with TCC’s long-standing College for Kids program.

Jordan also spoke about the possibility of having an early-college high school on South, though that is a separate project.

“Part of our focus is to create an early-college high school on this campus as well,” he said. “So these students after graduating eighth grade would have the option of going to high school on this campus.”

TCC’s director of facilities and planning Kirby Chadwell said parking lot 5 was an ideal spot to put the proposed school.

“We’ve kind of focused in on the northeast corner of the site,” he said. “It potentially has the option to where you could get the access in and out of the charter school not to be disruptive to the rest of the campus.”

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