Author Topic: Was it a voluntary charter school?  (Read 513 times)

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Offline Oscar

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Was it a voluntary charter school?
« on: November 25, 2011, 05:07:29 AM »
We noticed that they lost two students on a wilderness trip. The school board closed them down. But was it a school the students were forced to attend?

CHILD DEATHS: VLADISLAV BOGOMOLNY, MIKHAIL NIKOLOV (Yuku)
School slammed shut / Sudden decision to close Urban Pioneer stuns students, teachers (SF GATE)
School board revokes S.F. school's charter / Urban Pioneer's finances in disarray, official says (SF GATE)
Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy (CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDALS)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline cmack

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Re: Was it a voluntary charter school?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 12:29:46 PM »
http://articles.sfgate.com/2003-08-28/n ... mping-trip

Quote
School slammed shut / Sudden decision to close Urban Pioneer stuns students, teachers
August 28, 2003|By Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer

The principal of a San Francisco alternative high school lashed out at the city's school board Wednesday, saying its decision to shut down his academy had been made with his students as "an afterthought."

"The people who made this decision abandoned their jobs, they abandoned the kids, they sabotaged the school," said Wayne MacDonald, principal of Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy, which was stripped of its charter on a 4-3 board vote Tuesday.

MacDonald's controversial charter school was due to begin its second academic year Sept. 2 at its new home on the third floor of Newcomer High School in Pacific Heights. But just before midnight Tuesday, the board voted to close Urban Pioneer instead, reversing a 4-2 vote on June 24 to keep the academy open.

The fate of Urban Pioneer, which used adventure-oriented experiences to build students' self-esteem, has been in doubt since two of its pupils died last March on a school camping trip.

More recently, financial consultants called in by San Francisco Unified School District found numerous financial woes at the school. Checkbooks were unbalanced, some employees had not been paid, and the budget allowed for just $2 per student per month and no janitors, testing or staff development.

School board member Dan Kelly, who voted to close the school in June and again Tuesday night, defended the move. He said Urban Pioneer administrators were responsible for the now-inevitable disruption to their students' lives.

"There's a real rotten problem here," Kelly said before casting his vote against Urban Pioneer. "The group running this school isn't capable of running a school. You've lost your way, and it's irresponsible for us to allow you to continue."

On Wednesday, emotions were frayed among Urban Pioneer staff and students as they contemplated their uncertain futures.

Meanwhile, school district officials looked for makeshift solutions to educating 175 students who generally haven't performed well in traditional academic settings. The task was made more urgent by the fact that classes started throughout the district three days ago.

Frank Tom, the district's assistant superintendent for high schools, began Wednesday by getting students' files from Urban Pioneer and sorting through placement options.

In the U.S. Alternative Schools are generally where the public school system sends kids that do poorly in normal schools. Typical reasons for being sent to an Alternative School include habitual truancy, failing classes, criminal acts, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc.

Alternative Schools are typically day schools, not boarding schools. So the kids go home every afternoon, but they're not truly voluntary. Of course, all states have compulsory school attendance laws so none of them are truly voluntary.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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Wayne MacDonald & the Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 02:12:21 PM »
Quote from: "cmack"
In the U.S. Alternative Schools are generally where the public school system sends kids that do poorly in normal schools. Typical reasons for being sent to an Alternative School include habitual truancy, failing classes, criminal acts, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc.

Alternative Schools are typically day schools, not boarding schools. So the kids go home every afternoon, but they're not truly voluntary. Of course, all states have compulsory school attendance laws so none of them are truly voluntary.
Wayne MacDonald, the principal of Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy, had actually run this school under the auspices of an alternative school affiliated with or under the umbrella of one of the more conventional high schools in the area for quite some time prior to branching out on his own.

His program generated controversy during that time period as well. At least one incident occurred which also involved leaving students unattended with no adult supervision present, also during experiential exercises involving Outward Bound like activities. Thankfully no one died or was hurt at that time, but he was called on the carpet, so to speak, and should have known better this time around.

I have a feeling he merely ignored the admonishments or expressed concern, and simply continued to do as he saw fit. It ended up costing him his school, and two kids their lives.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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