The New Year brought good news to Connecticut residents working for better educational options in some of our most underserved communities. The state finally released a charter school Request for Proposals (RFP). This means that new school applicant groups can move forward with the goal of making their visions for new schools, and more public school choice for Danbury families, a reality.
As a Danbury resident, I am very pleased. I have been working with educators who hope to found the Danbury Prospect Charter School, which is currently seeking state approval to become a thriving K-12 public school option for Danbury families. The release of the RFP brings us one step closer. The parents and advocates who have been working on behalf of Danbury Prospect Charter School over the last 10 months commend Governor Malloy and Commissioner Wentzell for their leadership in releasing the RFP. The Danbury Prospect team plans to submit an application for a new K-12 school.
This step paves the way for more innovative public school options in Danbury, and seats to help relieve overcrowding in our schools.
Modeled after sister school, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, currently operating four successful schools in Brooklyn, New York, Danbury Prospect would educate students using a curriculum built around the prestigious and academically challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) framework, to engage students in inquiry-based learning, nurture curiosity and grow critical thinking skills. Once approved, the school will not only be Danbury’s first public charter, it will also be the first public school in Connecticut modeled around the pillars of the IB program throughout all K-12 grades.
An IB education centers on learners, develops effective approaches to teaching and learning and works with global contexts. In so doing, the program develops multilingual students and fosters intercultural understanding while also encouraging students to consider both local and global perspectives.
With a proposed school-wide enrollment of approximately 1000 students, Danbury Prospect hopes to alleviate school overcrowding while still maintaining a small school feel. In addition, Danbury Prospect will push the academic performance boundaries of students by creating a culture of high expectations for both students and teachers. Currently in Danbury, 3rd through 5th grade students keep pace with their statewide peers in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, but fall significantly behind in middle school (6th-8th) compared to statewide proficiency levels. With a more rigorous and diverse program, and students for 13 years, we can provide the intellectual, personal and social skills necessary for success in college and the global workforce.
Danbury Prospect’s vision is to recruit, hire and retain teachers with a diverse set of experiences, including a wide variety of ethnicities, life and teaching experiences and languages spoken. Just imagine the energy, breadth of experience and innovation they would bring to families and students.
The release of this RFP opens the door to a world of possibilities, innovative globally researched-based instructional practices and new free public school opportunities for the Danbury community– we are truly excited by the prospect!
Tracy Kelley is Danbury Prospect Charter School Project Manager.