OPEN FOR EDUCATION: Washington Montessori Public Charter School is Beaufort County’s first public charter school, but soon it may not be the only one. A second charter school may open as early as 2014. MONA MOORE | DAILY NEWS

Archived Story

Expanding options: Second charter school possible

Published 9:13pm Monday, January 7, 2013

A new public charter school may be in Beaufort County’s future.
A Chocowinity High School alumna submitted a letter of intent to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, saying that she plans to open a public charter school in August 2014.
Of 161 letters of intent submitted to NCDPI recently, Beverly Downing’s was the only one that proposed opening a school in Beaufort County.
This is the first time that advance letters of intent were required upon the recommendation of the Public Charter School Advisory Council.
According to a press release issued by the council, the goal for requiring these letters is “to promote quality by asking groups to formulate plans earlier than in the past and to gather information to help Council members prepare for the upcoming application review to be held during the spring.”
Downing’s next step is to submit an application by March 1.
According to her letter, Downing’s proposed school would be called the Resilience in Scholarly Excellence Academy and teach students in the sixth through ninth grades. Downing could not be reached for comment Monday.
Downing lives in Frankfort, Ky., where she is chairwoman of Kentucky State University’s School of Education.
According to her KSU biography, she serves on executive boards of the Kentucky Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, Collaborative Center for Literacy Development and the ACT Council.
Downing grew up in Washington and Chocowinity. She earned a bachelor-of-science degree from Livingstone College.
While a basketball and softball coach at Saint Augustine’s College, Downing opened a community health and wellness center on the campus and served on several boards in Raleigh.
“During her career, she has demonstrated her ability as a program developer and grant writer with over 7 million dollars of successful grant writing initiatives,” the biography states.
Downing moved to Dallas in 2004, where she served as vice president of academic affairs at Paul Quinn College.
Beaufort County is home to one public charter school. Washington Montessori Public Charter School was granted a charter in February 2000. The school is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It has about 290 students.
A lottery is held every January to fill open slots at the school. Students are drawn from the pool of applicants received. There is no tuition or fees charged to attend the school.
Downing’s plans for the size and scope of RISE have not been publicly released.

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