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TUSD charter school sees high school success; low K-6 enrollment in first year

POSTED May 1, 2012 10:19 p.m.

The eCademy Charter at Crane opened at the beginning of the school year with high hopes and aspirations, and while it has not been easy launching the Turlock Unified School District’s newest school, coordinator Manuel Cobarruvias said the year has been a success.
eCademy offers an online education program and independent study program for high school students known as e2020, as well as a independent program for middle school students and home-school program for grades K-6.
Enrollment at the high school level has doubled since last year when the district shut down the Freedom Independent High School and moved students to the new campus at Crane Avenue. More than 190 students have been enrolled at eCademy this year. One of the goals for the high school program was to give students and parents a choice in which type of education they could pursue, as well as offer credit recovery for students who had fallen behind for one reason or another.
“Of 193 students this year we’ve had 50 transfer back to their schools like Pitman or Turlock High, and we’ve had 27 who graduated early,” said Cobarruvias.
Contrary to popular belief, said Cobarruvias, eCademy is not a continuation high school or a community school. Students who have been dismissed from other schools cannot attend eCademy.

“This is a regular curriculum based on California State Standards but students do most of the work independently. It takes a mature student to do well in these programs,” explained Cobarruvias.

Parents choose the eCademy program for their students for various reasons: health problems, work issues, teen parenting, credit recovery, gifted needs, or they simply do not feel a regular classroom setting meets their student’s needs. Because of the individual nature of eCademy’s programs, students who are considering attending the school should be motivated, responsible, and organized, Cobarruvias said.
In order to meet the needs of students who required more flexibility the school offered netbooks and Internet connections at their homes.

“The netbooks have worked out great but it has been surprising to discover that only about of half of our students want them. Many have their own computers or laptops and some kids prefer traditional textbooks,” he explained.
The physical campus location also offers a computer lab for student use and many students utilize the lab during or after their weekly two-hour sessions with teachers.
In the K-6 home school program students enrollment has yet to pick up. Cobarruvias said only 19 students have enrolled and just 14 students have stayed on through the year— due to moving or returning to traditional school settings.
“We want to keep growing next year and I think we will and we need to. People are going to other districts and cities to look for choices and we just need to keep putting the word out that we are here,” said Cobarruvias.
For more information on eCademy call 669-3410.

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