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Seven Gen Plans to Add Higher Grades

Seven Generations Charter School hopes to one day have a kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade curriculum.

The is taking steps to expand its kindergarten-though-fifth grade education program to include a middle school and, ultimately, a high school.

At the Seven Gen Secondary School Committee meeting Monday night, the members discussed the potential challenges facing such expansion, along with a projected budget for the 2011-2012 school year. The committee was able to use the 2010-2011 budget as a model to rough out a budget for next year. 

The Seven Generations Charter School, a school that focuses on an EIC (Environment as an Integrated Context for learning) curriculum, is funded by public money and only accepts around 45 students per grade. This fall, it will begin its first school year with a sixth grade program and is striving to offer an additional grade each year, adding a seventh grade next fall and an eighth grade in 2013. The ultimate goal is a full K-12 curriculum. 

With a list of revenues and expenses, an estimated calculation of surpluses and deficits, and room for “what-ifs” (i.e. what if we add a cafeteria?), the committee was able to put together an estimated budget. The committee also discussed the effects of a pending $300,000 grant, and the need to contact fundraising committee members in case the grant isn’t awarded.

For now, the school’s building is able to accommodate a full sixth grade, but when the idea of adding seventh and eighth grade was addressed, the committee agreed that even with the estimated $15,000 they have to work with, it would be difficult to expand the building. The committee’s goal is to collect enough money to build a separate building for the higher grades.

Based on these goals, the committee agreed that Seven Gen needs a separate committee to focus solely on the prospect of a high school. In fact, they said many committees are in need of more members and more direction. For example, the current facilities committee is composed of two people.

“The facilities committee needs to come together and come up with a real plan: a timeline, the permits, and whether there are zoning ordinances,” says co-chair Mary Ellen Jackson.

Even though most of the Seven Generations school committees are composed of staff members or parents of students, anyone is able to get involved. If you’re interested in becoming a committee member or in volunteering at the school, head to www.sevengenerationsschool.org/page.phtml/volunteer for more information. 

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