Richmond's first charter school opens Wednesday

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A lot of nerves Tuesday at Woodland Heights Baptist Church. This is where classes will be held until the Patrick Henry building is renovated. And teachers here say they are ready.

It's a teacher's lesson plan the day before the first day of school. They set up chairs, hammer out the kinks, even climb ladders, but there's a little more excitement surrounding these preparations.

"I can't believe it's a day away. It's less than a day away and I'm very excited. The people I've met have been so good and I'm just excited for them all to come," said teacher Mandi Medhurst.

Wednesday is the first day for 160 elementary students attending Richmond's first ever charter school - the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts.

"There's been a lot of details to sort out. A lot of ups and downs, but when it's something so new it's not unexpected that you would have all those challenges," parent Kristen Larson.

It has been a long bumpy road just to get to this point. But once this place opens it will only be the 4th charter school in the entire state and only charter school for kindergartners through fifth graders.

"Education is not one size fits all. It's about options, and having just that reason to choose. And if they choose a charter school - great. If not, fine. But you always want to have an option," said Pam Boyd.

The school was promoted with an out of the box curriculum meaning students would get out of the classroom more and learn to work in small groups. Mandi Medhurst will only have 15 students in her first grade class.

"It will make a huge difference. Just the amount of things you're able to do, the individualized attention you can give each child. It just makes a phenomenal difference," she said.

Classes for the students enrolled here begin at 8:10 Wednesday morning. 

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