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School applies for charter
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Forsyth County News

SOUTH FORSYTH -- The International Charter School of Atlanta is back.

After the school’s application for charter school status was denied last year, the school is back with a larger board of directors and a more concise plan on how to offer language immersion to the region.

Board member Marisa Kashapov said she’s confident the new application, submitted Thursday to the state Charter Schools Commission, will be approved this time around.

“We took everything into account that the charter commission recommended,” she said. “We said we would improve our model. It’s a learning process and we’re a lot stronger, both on our board as well as the education model we’re presenting this year.”

If approved, the school, which would offer language immersion in English, Mandarin, French, German and Spanish, would open in August 2015.

Last year’s application was denied for four primary reasons, including inadequate governing capacity, a budget that created financial uncertainty and no plan to implement the school’s “extremely rigorous” academic program.

Kashapov said the board has new members with diverse experiences to help govern the school as well as a new direction for the program. Instead of being a tri-lingual school, where students would learn three languages, the program will start by just offering two languages.

The plan also changes the reach, dropping to just a kindergarten through fourth grade.

“Last year we were looking for a kindergarten through eighth-grade model, and while that’s still the goal moving forward, and going up to high school, we wanted to start off with just kindergarten through fourth grade,” she said.

The final major component would be addressing the budget, and the best way to do that was to move the location from south Forsyth to north Fulton County, Kashapov said.

“When you look at the budget ... a few properties in north Fulton County were ideal for a school, so it wouldn’t’ take a lot of build-out because they were already set for a school building,” she said.

Despite moving a few miles south, Kashapov said the school would still serve multiple counties, including Forsyth, which is why the application is being made to the state charter commission, instead of Fulton’s school board.

“I’ve spoken to people ... who told me they’re willing to drive two hours to get to the school, wherever it is, because they believe in the vision of our school to make and develop internationally minded, culturally proficient and dual-language professionals who engage and will work successfully in our global market.”

A decision won’t likely be made by the commission until late fall.