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Ferris board of trustees approve charter school status change and contract amendments during July 14 meeting

BIG RAPIDS - During a July 14 meeting of the Ferris State University board of trustees the board considered several items related to the University's authorized charter schools, including a status change for Joy Preparatory Academy of Detroit and a contract amendment with Huron Academy of Sterling Heights.

Joy Preparatory Academy is being put on probation due to unsatisfactory progress toward achieving its contractual goals. The academy will retain its probationary status for the remainder of the school's contract with Ferris, which is set to expire in June 2008.

The status change recommendation comes at the completion of a review process that took place 36 months after the academy's contract was re-authorized by Ferris, said Ron Rizzo, interim director of Ferris' charter schools office. Joy Preparatory Academy has been in operation for seven years with the University and this was a review of the school after its second authorization.

"This is kind of like a mid-term to gage student performance," Rizzo said. "We don't want to come in and take over their program...we want to offer guidance and provide them with resources."

The review process revealed the school needs to improve upon the academic achievement of its students, he added, saying the goal is not to close the academy. Charter school officials from the University will be working with the academy's school improvement team to help determine how to improve student performance.

In other charter school business, the board of trustees approved a contract amendment between the University and the Huron Academy board of directors to reconfigure the school into a K-6 system. The school currently is K-8.

Declining enrollment at the middle school level led the academy's board of directors to request this action in order to better focus on the quality of its K-6 students, Rizzo said. The change will take effect with the start of the 2007-08 school year.

Also approved by the board of trustees were current contract expiration dates with seven of the University's authorized charter schools, including Michigan Collegiate, extended two years to 2011; Creative Technologies Academy, re-authorize in 2007, one year early; George Crockett Academy, extended one year to 2009; Huron Academy, extended two years to 2011; New City Academy, extended one year to 2010; Northridge Academy, extended one year to 2010; and Voyageur Academy, extended one year to 2009.