John and Christina Davis are looking for something different from what local public schools offer.
They don't bash the public schools. But they find the opportunity appealing for their four children, ages 3 to 12, to attend a smaller school, with lots of parental involvement and only one campus for kindergarten through 12th grade.
So, the Davises signed on with York Preparatory Academy, a charter school scheduled to open in York County in fall 2009.
The school is in the planning stages.
Information sessions are being offered this week across the county, including 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Lake Wylie Public Library and 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. July 24 at the York Public Library.
The charter school must submit a formal application to a state advisory committee and the state charter school district before it can open.
"We are not adversarial to public schools, frankly, we are a public school," said Rick Walker of Starboard Partners, a North Carolina company that is helping fund the school and get its doors open.
"We are merely a different focus and provide just a different way of doing it, and our choice is through an integrated K-12 school," Walker said. The school would never be larger than 1,200 to 1,300 students, he said.
The plan is to open with 800 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. One grade will be added each year until the school serves students through 12th grade.
Students will focus on building a foundation in math, social studies, science and language arts. They also will be taught physical education, health, foreign language, fine arts, computer technology, environmental and consumer education and character education.
Part of the purpose of a charter school is to allow more leeway in decisions. The setup of York Preparatory Academy will be noticeably different from traditional public schools.
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be on one campus. Age groups will be separated into different school wings. A location for the campus has not been chosen yet.
There will be some mixing of students in different grade levels so that they can progress at their own pace. And middle school students might rotate their schedules, switching up which classes they do first and which they do last.
The school will depend heavily upon parent involvement.
Each charter school is governed by a school committee that can include parents and others.
"The involvement with the school depends on the individual," Christina Davis said. "They're all going to have different strengths. When you really pull at the parents' strengths and you learn what they can give, it will really benefit the school."
For more details, visit www.yorkprepsc.org