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Parents, faculty vote tonight on Sardis charter model
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The Sardis Elementary School community will have the opportunity tonight to give its thumbs up or down to a proposed charter school model that could be enacted at the Hall County elementary school in the 2009-2010 school year.

Jan Hughes, principal of Sardis Elementary School, said school system educators will be present at the 6:30 meeting tonight in the school’s gym to answer parents’ and teachers’ questions about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. The proposed charter enrichment model allows children to be grouped based on their interests and talents, enabling teachers to implement the state curriculum through the vessel of students’ curiosities.

Hughes said Sardis Elementary School has a wide range of student needs, with the student body being comprised of all kinds of students including "non-English speaking and very bright gifted children." She said the pending schoolwide enrichment model would help teachers to address the needs of students in an innovative fashion typically reserved for gifted students only.

"(A charter) gives us a little more flexibility in hiring and in how we want to set up instruction, and maybe even get some funding," she said.

In September, the state gave the Hall County school system a $5,000 research and planning grant to explore the possibility of implementing a charter program at Sardis Elementary School.

"Now the next step is a vote from parents and staff to see if they want us to go ahead with it," Hughes said. "Basically it’s saying whether we want to work together in the planning and move forward with our charter school."

If parents and staff approve the charter school model tonight, the charter proposal will be sent to the state Board of Education for review. If the state approves the charter model for Sardis Elementary School, the new instructional approach could be implemented next year with the assistance of at least $100,000 in state or federal funds.

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