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Posted on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

New charter middle school seeks to open in Ypsilanti

By Danny Shaw

An Ypsilanti-based nonprofit is seeking to open a new charter school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the city.

Representatives of Central Gardens Middle School are requesting a charter from the Ypsilanti Public School District to build and operate the charter academy within the city.

The Ypsilanti Board of Education will discuss the proposal Monday at its meeting.

Gerri Allen, supervisor of communication services for Washtenaw Intermediate School District, said if the board authorizes the school, it will be the first local school district in the county to do so. If the proposal is rejected, Central Gardens still can apply for a charter from any other authorizing organization.

It would be the third charter middle school in the Ypsilanti area, along with Fortis Academy and South Arbor Charter Academy.

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, said it is rare for a charter to be issued by a competing school district.

Among the 255 charter schools in the state, 228 operate under charters issued by colleges, he said. Other authorized bodies, such as a local or county school district, issued the remainder.

Fortis, Victory Academy and Arbor Preparatory High School operate under charters issued by Bay Mills Community College in Brimley. According to Bay Mills’ website, the college has issued more than 40 charters across the state.

Both South Arbor and New Beginnings Academy are chartered through Central Michigan University.

While Central Gardens Middle School doesn’t have a location yet, the proposal states its organizers are scouting potential locations in Ypsilanti.

The school is anticipating 60 sixth-graders, 60 seventh-graders and 40 eighth-graders for fall 2013, according to the proposal. Full capacity would be 220 students.

The proposal states Creative Change Education Solutions, a nonprofit organization based out of Ypsilanti, will develop the school’s curriculum.

Neither of the school's listed organizers, Gina McGovern nor Michele Jones, returned a call seeking comment.

McGovern also is board president of Excellence for Sustainability Education, an Ypsilanti nonprofit since 2010.

“We feel that offering a unique local public middle school program will only serve to strengthen our community,” the charter proposal states. “It will help students and parents engage more deeply with the people and places closest to them.”

The proposal has three main academic goals listed for Central Gardens:

  • 90 percent of students will demonstrate competency on at least 90 percent of the required standards.

  • Students will meet or exceed the state average performance as measured by the MEAP
  • Student average daily attendance rate will exceed 90 percent

The proposal can be found at the board’s website in the Feb. 6 meeting packet.

The board is expected to review and vote on the proposal during Monday’s meeting at 7 p.m. at Ypsilanti High School.

Contact reporter Danny Shaw at 734-623-2544 or


Monica R-W

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

Promises....promises.... But at least this charter school did stop by the school district it seeks to operate within and request permission first.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

and the siphoning of resources continues.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 6:14 a.m.

I agree, Greg. If the Ypsi citizens will not demand and change the schools into viable operations, then charter scholls should grow and replace them.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 4:17 a.m.

Sending your child to Ypsi schools is tantamount to child abuse. More options are needed for parents who do not want their children to go to any of the failing schools in Ypsi.


Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

Maybe parents believe that a charter school will provide a better education than the normal, public school system. Time will tell.