Imagine: an inner city public school with a waiting list of anxious parents who live outside the school’s geographic boundaries, but want their young child to start school here.
Bonham Academy is an in-district charter in the San Antonio Independent School District, which serves more than 54,000 students. That means Bonham still functions as a tuition-free, neighborhood school, and is held accountable to district academic standards. Their charter status, however, obtained in 2007, requires the school to offer innovative alternatives to standard curriculum.
The charter status also opens enrollment to students who would not be slated to attend the school based on their address, a boon to schools struggling to achieve full enrollment in the urban core. Neighborhood kids do not have to fight for a spot, but open places are assigned by lottery to applicants outside the school’s boundaries.
“Bonham Academy: A Parent-Driven Success Story”, Bekah McNeel, Rivard Report, February 22, 2013.
McNeel explores the many programs that make Bonham special: the dual-language curriculum, the Book Share station, the Slow Foods garden, the certified wildlife habitat, and the fine arts enrichment: visual arts, theater, and dance.
See my earlier post about the difference between an in-district charter and a public open enrollment charter school (e.g., KIPP, IDEA, BASIS). Also, see my earlier posts here, here, and here about controversial renovations at Bonham.