Charter Schools Booming in Arlington - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Charter Schools Booming in Arlington



    The demand for charter schools is on the rise in Arlington. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014)

    A growing number of families are turning to charter schools, because they feel their children aren't being challenged enough in public schools.

    Tuesday marked the start of the new school year for students and staff at Arlington Classics Academy, and on day one, the kids were busy learning.

    "I like it because the teachers are really nice," said Kailey Cartwright, a third grade student at ACA. "We get to play a lot of games, and it's just really fun."

    ACA is a charter school, meaning it receives state funding and is tuition-free like a public school, but it has more control over what it teaches like a private school.

    "We try to set a very high bar academically," said ACA Board President Greg Hale. "Our goal is for our eighth graders to leave us with many high school credits."

    Hale said ACA was created because many parents in Arlington did not like the emphasis on standardized testing in public schools and felt a curriculum centered around those tests wouldn't challenge their kids.

    ACA students are required to take the STAAR and TEKS tests, but Hale said they're expected to learn more than what those tests cover.

    "It's not really fun if everything is too easy," said Ava Hattendorf, a fifth grade student at ACA.
    The students at ACA seem to enjoy this brand of learning and so do an increasing number of families.

    Enrollment at the school has tripled since it first opened in 1999, and a brand new 10-classroom wing was added onto its existing building along South Bowen Road for the 2014-2015 school year to accommodate growth.

    Plus, there are approximately 800 students on the wait list for the school.

    Just up the street, a brand new charter called International Leadership of Texas will open later this month. It, too, has a lengthy waitlist.

    "I can speak to what's worked for us, and that's been the high bar and high expectations," said Hale.

    Hale said the ACA board is now considering expanding the school to include grades 9-12 because of the demand.