ARTech’s Authorizer Approved!
Well, this is the season of giving, and ARTech and Prairie Creek were handed an early present today with the announcement from the Department of Education that the Northfield School District had been successfully approved as a charter school authorizer.
It’s not been an easy process. Dr. Richardson, the district’s superintendent, completed an initial application that totaled almost 3oo pages. Even that wasn’t enough, MDE requested further documentation to be submitted before granting authorizer status.
Both ARTech and Prairie Creek have developed a strong collaborative relationship with the district. It certainly would have been a difficult process to find a new authorizer. Prairie Creek is currently in the process of contract renewal and ARTech’s contract with the district will be up for renewal at the end of the 2011/12 school year.
There’s been plenty of commentary in recent weeks, including a Northfield News editorial, about the stringent application process that has faced prospective authorizers. Indeed, the application process led to many traditional school districts, Faribault for example, deciding not to pursue authorizer status. To date, Minneapolis and Northfield are the only districts that have been approved.
I believe that Northfield is fortunate to have excellent public school choice. We are also pleased to have a neighboring traditional district that recognizes this, and has gone the extra mile to keep the collaboration going. A recent Star Tribune article reflected on the direction that charters and traditional schools can, and should, go in sharing educational ideas and initiatives.
I for one applaud Dr. Richardson and his board for having the vision to support innovation in education and choice for the students of Northfield. You can read more about this at the Northfield Patch site where Corey Butler has already posted a piece on this news.