21st Century Charter School


PARENTS BOYCOTT CHARTER SCHOOL; May 10, 2006; Post-Tribune (Gary, IN)
A parental uprising at 21st Century charter school led to a class boycott and an overflow of parents at a School Board meeting Tuesday. The fledgling charter school that lured 220 students from Gary public schools is nearing the close of its debut year with a $100,000 deficit, a sudden change in principals, and criticism from parents over topics ranging from school resources to lack of learning…

Michelle Williams said her son is not learning skills required for his grade. Instead of doing seventh-grade algebra, he's doing basic addition and subtraction, she said, causing her to supplement his studies at home.

Williams also said the school had not kept its promise of providing one computer for every two children. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Teasley of the school's management company GEO said that was untrue.

Williams, whose son boycotted Tuesday, said she might decide to withdraw him altogether.

One parent, who said her child was injured at school, complained that the school promised a nurse, counselor, and social worker but had provided none.

Teasley said the school is looking to hire a nurse.

GEO also was criticized for the decision to make former teacher and director of operations Tamika Chambers the principal after Leonard Brown resigned abruptly last week.

While some parents whisper he was forced out, Teasley and other staffers said he resigned at an administrative retreat without coercion.

Parents criticized Chambers for failing a majority of students in her classes for things like failing to bring in assignments.

Chambers has a master's degree in business administration, a teaching certificate, is working on her doctorate, but lacks an administrative license…

Liz Rendell, parent outreach coordinator, said parents have been concerned about teacher behavior: one child was disciplined by being hit with four drumsticks, while another student, she alleged, was "touched improperly."

"I've had my children out since Thursday," Rendell said, who also expressed concerns about a teacher viewing Internet pornography at school.

Teasley said two teachers were suspended for a week for the drumstick and touching incidents…
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TEACHER'S AIDE CHARGED IN CHOKING INCIDENT; May 27, 2006; Post-Tribune (Gary, IN)
A teacher's aide was charged this week with using a garbage bag to choke a student is on unpaid administrative leave, school officials said Friday. Clarence B. English Jr., 25, was charged with neglect of dependent in connection with the Feb. 15 incident at 21st Century Charter School.

"Mr. English has been suspended until further notice without pay and will not be allowed to return to the school building pending the outcome of his case," the school's general counsel Dana Johnson, said Friday.

An arrest warrant has been issued for English, who told Detective Cpl. Nelson Otano he would turn himself in after charges were filed…

English was in a social studies class when he and a 12-year-old student exchanged words. The boy and two classmates told police English used a plastic garbage bag to choke the victim until his eyes turned red and he was unable to breathe, court records state.

After the incident, "we had a visit with the mother and apologized. The mother had accepted the apology and so did the student," Kevin Teasley, CEO for the school's management company said Friday…
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LOCAL CHARTER SCHOOLS CITED BY INDIANA STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNTS; March 31, 2011; The Times of Northwest Indiana (Munster, IN) 
The Indiana State Board of Accounts has released reports on three local charter schools, citing examples of poor record-keeping and money management.

Reports were released in mid-March on the 21st Century Charter School of Gary, Charter School of the Dunes in Gary and the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy. All three reports covered the period of July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010.

The educational management company for Charter School of the Dunes and the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy is Chicago-based American Quality Schools. The management company for 21st Century Charter is Indianapolis-based GEO Foundations.

Paul Joyce, deputy state examiner, characterized the problems in all three reports as an overall lack of internal control procedures established by the charter school boards and the management company for the schools. He said they are either not following the controls in place or don't have controls to follow…

With the expansion of charter schools across the state, Joyce said the Indiana State Board of Accounts workload has increased dramatically. He said if the Indiana Legislature approves the current language for charter schools, board of accounts officials hope to get the authority to establish internal control policies and procedures for charter schools to meet minimum standards…

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