University high school charter approved by state board today

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University high school charter approved by state board today

The State Board of Education in Sacramento today approved University High School, a new, experimental charter school sponsored by the School of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Fresno.

The university will now proceed with incorporation of the school as a non-profit organization, expected to be final by summer’s end, and begin development of a board of directors to establish policies for curriculum development and hiring policies.

The school’s target opening date is the fall of 2000, said Dr. Vida Samiian, associate dean of arts and humanities.

Chartered by the Sierra Unified School District Board of Trustees in April, the project received a $149,847 grant from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin May 28 to begin setting up operations.

University High School, specializing in music, liberal arts and sciences, would open next year with about 75 Fresno and Madera County 9th graders, said Samiian. Eventually, the enrollment will cap at 400 students.

The school, which received unanimous support from the Sierra trustees at their April 8 meeting, will provide an accelerated college preparatory education with a special focus on music, Samiian said.

“Students will receive a strong foundation in music and in the liberal arts and sciences in a small high school environment while benefiting from the opportunities available on a large public university campus,” she said.

With the state board of education approval secured, organizers are developing the curricular and administrative structure of the school this summer. Samiian said when Fresno State’s faculty returns in the fall, committees that will include educators and other individuals from the community will be created to develop curriculum.

She said local interest in the new, experimental project is high.

“We have been getting calls daily from people interested in participating in some way,” Samiian said.

The state’s grant will help with the ongoing planning and to begin finding a staff, Samiian said, adding that student recruitment will probably begin this fall.

Facilities on campus for the school have not yet been arranged but will be part of the planning process in the next year, Samiian said. However, an office has been set up in the School of Arts and Humanities, (559) 278-2540.

For more information, contact Samiian at 278-3056 or UHS coordinator Wendy Costa at 438-7614.