The Chandler Unified School District wants to add a college preparatory school to its repertoire this fall. Already, the district offers four elementary academies, which include increased academic rigor, uniforms and smaller class sizes.
Hamilton Prep would offer pre-advanced placement courses for junior high students and advanced-level courses for high school students looking for a smaller school setting, said Rob Bickes, dean of students at Hamilton High School.
School principal Fred DePrez proposed the idea after learning that parents of academy students wanted smaller school settings beyond the elementary level, said Bickes, who is overseeing the project.
“With schools getting so large ... we had to find some other alternative for people looking for smaller learning environments,” Bickes said.
DePrez will present more information on the new school during a public study session tonight before the scheduled school board meeting.
Details on the school’s requirements are still in the works.
But so far, students would be required to wear uniforms and adhere to a strict behavior policy. Only 250 students will be accepted and a lottery will be held if more request to enroll in the school, he said.
The district is negotiating with Chandler Christian Church to house students in classroom facilities on the church’s campus at Alma School and Germann roads this fall. If the program generates a lot of interest, the district could request more space to accommodate additional students, Bickes said.
Desiree Adair, parent of a fifth-grader at Chandler Traditional Academy-Liberty Campus, said academy parents whose students are set to enter junior high next year will likely be most interested.
Adair said the program could close a gap some students experience when moving from the academy setting to the district’s junior high schools.
The curriculum at “CTA schools is accelerated by one year,” Adair said.
“Sometimes when (the students) move from sixth grade to seventh, they’ve already done the curriculum and have to do it all over again,” she said.
Beyond junior high, Adair said she wasn’t sure she’d want her child to continue in the program because area high schools offer plenty of rigorous courses.
What: Chandler Unified School District study session
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: District office, 1525 W. Frye Road
Topic: A presentation to the school board about Hamilton Prep
Information: ww2.chandler.k12.az.us or (480) 812-7000