Community Prep Looks to Open Charter School

Jul 23, 2013

A Providence private school is planning to close its elementary school and launch a charter school. Organizers from Community Prep say their goal is to find out whether they can extend a successful reputation to a randomly selected group of students.

Community Prep is known for a strong academic program and diverse student body, with many students receiving substantial scholarships. The school is now seeking approval from state officials to close its 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and replace them with a Kindergarten-5th grade charter school.

Community Prep Head of School Dan Corley says the charter school will focus on homeless and low-income students with a goal of preparing them for selective college preparatory schools like Community Prep, which will continue to operate a private middle school.

Community Prep routinely sends students to some of Rhode Island’s most exclusive high schools, including Moses Brown School, Classical High School and Providence Country Day.

“We expect to learn a lot,” Corley said of the switch from competitive admissions to a lottery, which is the hallmark of charter school admissions.

The proposal includes a partnership with Amos House, a homeless services organization and the new school, SouthSide Elementary Charter School, would lease classroom space from Community Prep.

Corley says he is not aware of any other private school in the country with a similar relationship to a publicly-funded charter school.

A public comment period on the proposed SouthSide Elementary Charter School ends July 26th at the State Department of Education.