New Charter School Proposal Builds Steam

By Shelley Widhalm, Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Two Loveland women whose sons will be entering kindergarten in the fall wanted their children to attend New Vision Charter School in Loveland.

Neither made the lottery, and the boys now are on a waiting list.

The women, Trisha Coberly and Tamara Cramer, realized there are more than 400 other children on that list. Their own children did not make the top 100.

“There seems to be a great need for charter schools,” Coberly said.

Coberly and Cramer, who met last year through their sons’ preschool, decided to explore starting a second charter school in Loveland for grades K-12. They held an informational meeting April 10 and are planning a second on Thursday to share their vision and ideas.

“We were floored by the response,” Cramer said.

Twenty parents and community members attended the first meeting, and since then, another 30 have called or e-ailed to show their support, Cramer and Coberly said.

“I want this to be a community-driven school,” Cramer said. “I didn’t want this to be two women saying we want a charter school.”

Like New Vision, Coberly and Cramer are proposing that their charter school follow the Core Knowledge curriculum and leveling method of teaching.

Leveling allows students to learn at their own pace in each subject instead of according to their grade level.

Coberly’s son, for example, is reading at a first-grade level and by the time school starts will be at a second-grade level, she said. Leveling will allow him to continue at that level instead of at the kindergarten level, she said.

Core Knowledge teaches a body of knowledge that allows students to build on what they know as they move through the curriculum, Coberly said.

Following the informational meetings, Coberly and Cramer plan to form a core group of people who will be asked to commit to the two-year process of developing and opening the school.

Members of the committee will receive first priority in the lottery system for their children, followed by faculty and staff, then the public, Cramer said.

Charter schools, which typically are developed through grass-roots efforts, are public schools funded through state funds, grants and fundraising efforts, Coberly said.

But building the school will have to be funded from grants and donations, she said.

“Right now, we’re in the exploration phase,” Coberly said. “We’re determining if there is enough interest.”

Charter applications are due each year by Sept. 1. If approved, a school is allowed to open the following fall.

Coberly and Cramer hope to open the Loveland charter school by fall 2011 or 2012.

“Were just two moms, so we need all the support we can get,” Cramer said.