After the Anchorage School Board had earlier postponed action on the recharter application by Family Partnership Charter School, the homeschool, parent-driven, student-centered charter school has won its 10-year recharter, with an enrollment cap of 1,850 students and an opportunity to increase to 3,000 students.
With 1,850 as the cap, the school will be able to see a 10 percent growth each year for over the next five years. At 1,850, the school will be providing education to about 4 percent of the Anchorage School District students.
“Parent after parent, student after student, staff member after staff member, proudly testified on behalf of our school. As I sat and listened to these testimonies, my heart filled with pride and love for our students and their families,” wrote FPCS Principal Jessica Parker. “It is the highest honor of my life to partner with you as you lead your students to their best possible futures. Our charter states our school is a bridge between home-school students and formal education; we are also a bridge between home-school students and their futures, which are full of possibilities.”
Parker said that she heard during the school board meetings that Family Partnership is the future of education.
“We have a formula that works – parents and educators working together to provide options for children’s individualized learning plans. We are closing the achievement gap for students. We are providing career and college opportunities. We are inspiring young athletes. We are helping struggling students with flexibility and choices that help them prioritize medical or personal struggles. There are many reasons families choose to home-school, tailoring education to fit the child. To quote one of our founders, Happy Chronister, ‘We cut the jacket to fit the kid, not the kid to fit the jacket.’ Home-schoolers are flourishing,” she wrote, thanking parents for taking the time to testify on behalf of the school. “We would not have won this fight without your voice,” she said.
Some on the Anchorage School Board are leery of homeschooling in general, and uncomfortable that so many are fleeing the traditional classroom in Anchorage to work under the guidance of FPCS. In the end, the board supported the renewal due to the pressure of multiple testimonies in favor of it, voting 4-2, with board member Dave Donley recusing himself because his children attend that school.
The school’s first charter application was presented to the Achorage School District in 1996 and unanimously approved in January 1997. Final approval by the State of Alaska Board of Education approval came on June 23, 1997. FPCS opened its doors a week later.