University of West Alabama-affiliated charter school approved – News – Tuscaloosa News – Alabama News

University of West Alabama-affiliated charter school approved – News – Tuscaloosa News – Alabama News

A new charter school affiliated with the University of West Alabama is scheduled to open in August 2018 after unanimous approval of the plans by the Alabama Charter School Commission on Tuesday.

“It’s a great day for the university, for the local community and the region,” said UWA Trustee Justin Smith, who led an ad hoc committee on the proposal. “We truly believe that the university charter school will transfer not only Sumter County but serve as model to transform the Black Belt.”

The University Charter School plans to start with pre-kindergarten through fifth grade in 2018 and add grades six through 12 in 2019. The school will be located in existing facilities at UWA in Livingston initially as part of an agreement with the university with future plans for a standalone facility.

The University Charter School will be a UWA-affiliated school with a mission to be a rural, diverse K-12 school, according to its mission statement. The school would feature a rigorous and integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) focused, project-based and place-based curriculum.

“This is going to be a model that is going to impact more than just Sumter County in my view,” Alabama Charter School Commission member Ed Richardson said.

UWA officials and members of the charter school’s board of directors presented the proposal to the commission Tuesday in Montgomery. The delegation argued the school would spark renewal in the rural county that has struggled with high rates of poverty and unemployment and a declining population.

“It will allow us to create big opportunities in this very rural setting,”…

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