Tallahassee - May 3, 2012 - 12:07am
Genevieve Carroll is the mother of three children, a ninth grader, a fifth grader and a first grader.
Years ago when the family moved to Tallahassee from New York, Carroll says she wasn't quite sure what the school system could offer.
When she heard of the School of Arts and Sciences she entered her oldest into a lottery system. And like the big money draw her name was picked.
"We really liked the small environment. We liked that they were incorporating the outside world, gardening, and P.E. and things like that into the theme of the entire classroom," says Carroll.
When her other two children became school age, she enrolled them as well. Charter schools are public schools but they're different from traditional public schools.
"They have much more flexibility than a traditional public school in terms of operation, " says Bev Owens with Leon County Schools.
Owens says charters don't have to offer things such as transportation or P.E. Differences that attract many parents include smaller class sizes, the fact that the charter may incorporate subjects in addition to the core curriculum of any school and the grading system. As far as report cards go, they can be non-existent.
"You know I didn't even pay much attention to it until I was watching the news one day and Amelia was younger, Kindergarten, first or second grade and they were announcing on the news, warning parents, hey it's report card time and I looked at my husband and said wow! It didn't even occur to me that Amelia isn't getting a report card, " says Carroll.
Instead of report cards her children have portfolio reviews. This is a one-on-one-on-one meeting with the parent, the teacher and the student.
"It felt good because she's a young child and she wasn't being labeled with three or four letters, whatever they are," says Carroll.
Right now, there is no charter school option when it comes to high school, but Carroll says her oldest is transitioning well now at Leon High School.