An elementary school serving a large Latino population in the Orange Unified School District may become Orange County's second charter school this fall.
Such status would allow parents and teachers of Jordan Elementary School to vote to continue bilingual education, despite district efforts now underway to drop native-language instruction for Spanish-speaking students.
Charter schools such as Santiago Middle School, the county's only charter, are released from following most provisions of the state's education laws. Santiago is also in Orange Unified.
Kit Dameron, principal of Jordan, said she and the staff were intrigued by the success of Santiago, which serves as the middle school for many of their students.
She and three members of the school's charter committee presented the idea to the district's school board Thursday. The board must approve the charter, which then goes on to the state for final adoption. If all goes as planned, Jordan could open in September under its new status.
Released from supervision by the district's school board, the school would be run by a 13-member board of parents, staff and three representatives with educational expertise.
The charter notes that the school has unique needs, with 87% of its 600 students coming from poor homes with limited English. Classes will be geared toward fostering literacy and learning skills, it says.
"One of the nice things about being a charter school is we can have teachers and parents making decisions specific for Jordan School," Dameron said. "We're different from most of the elementary schools."
The school board is set to vote on the issue at its May 8 meeting.