Hello Friends of The Rising School!
I’m writing to thank you for your support of The Rising School! When Stephanie and I examine our long list of school supporters, we’re astounded by the diverse talents of the people we know in education, nonprofits, business, marketing, finance, the law, and more! With advisors and friends like you, we have no doubt that the school will be successful. On April 7 at 2:00pm at 5405 N. Oracle Rd., we’ll have a party and brainstorming session that we’d love for you to attend.
We’re always eager for additional advice and input. If you know of anyone with a passion for education, please forward this message to them. And please invite them to the kick-off party on April 7 at 2:00 pm.
What will The Rising School be like? It will be a tuition-free, college-prep charter school in central Tucson. We’ll open in August 2013 with grades 6-9 and then add a grade annually until we’re 6-12. We plan to start with 100 students and grow to about 500 at capacity. We intend to be among the top academic schools in Arizona, setting our sights on earning the Department of Education’s “A” grade, a designation earned by only 14% of public schools. Our competitive advantage is enhanced because most of the other top-rated schools in Pima County—public, charter, and private—are expensive, full, only for gifted students, or far from central Tucson.
Having worked for 16 years at the best academic schools in Tucson—the University of Arizona, Tucson’s best private school, and America’s top charter school—I know what’s required to create and sustain a great educational institution. The Rising School’s curriculum and instruction will focus on the knowledge and skills students need to be successful at a top university and in a 21st century professional career. The curriculum will be rigorous, with a number of AP and honors courses offered at the high-school level. Our courses will also incorporate real-world skills, with a project-based-learning focus in the middle school and an internship program for high schoolers. The school’s core will be a great faculty. I will hire only highly qualified teachers who are curriculum experts, as evidenced by a BA, MA, or PhD degree in their subject area. Unlike most charter schools, we’ve made sure that our budget includes enough room for salaries to recruit experienced teachers who are experts in curriculum and instruction.
Our philosophy is summarized in our mission statement:
The Rising School is a high-quality college-prep school that prepares Tucson-area 6th-9th grade students for success in school, college, and 21st century careers. At the Rising School:
Students, parents, and teachers are treated with respect and enjoy being a part of a safe, caring community.
Classes are engaging and relevant; teachers are experts in curriculum and instruction; and standards and assessments are rigorous.
Students create quality projects; surpass state and national standards on assessments; and become mature alumni who are successful scholars and professionals engaged with their community and the world.
For more on The Rising School, please visit us on Facebook and at my blog: http://george-rising.blogspot.com/.
We’ve accomplished a lot so far but still have a way to go before we open the school in August 2013. In January of this year, Rising Schools, Inc., was licensed as a nonprofit corporation by the Arizona Corporation Commission, and we secured the rights to the trade name, The Rising School. We chose this school name for two reasons. First of all, it captures our optimistic spirit and our expectation that our students will rise to higher and higher academic heights.
Our school’s name also pays homage to my own alma mater, The Roeper School, in Birmingham, Michigan. Just as George Roeper founded The Roeper School with his wife (in 1941), George Rising is now founding The Rising School with his wife. Although we won’t follow The Roeper School’s philosophy of private education for gifted students, we hope to emulate George and Annemarie Roeper’s strength, compassion, and love of academics. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” Mark Twain once said. And we hope that’s true. (Click here for The Roeper School’s website: http://www.roeper.org)
The next step in the process is completing the charter application, which is due to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools in May 2012. The charter application is a 300-page document that requires a detailed explanation of our school’s education plan, organizational description, and business plan. To help write this application, we applied for, and were accepted into, the Arizona Charter Schools Association’s New School Development training program. We were fortunate to be awarded a $9,000 federal grant that paid for most of the seven-session program.
Also helping with both the application and the overall creation and running of the school is my enrollment in the University of Arizona’s Educational Leadership program, which will enable me to earn a M.Ed. and be certified by the state of Arizona as a principal and superintendent. The program also provides invaluable practical knowledge and skills. For example, I’m currently working on a fourth-month internship at Amphi School District with Dr. Vicki Balentine, one of the most-respected school superintendents in Arizona.
Clearly, there’s work to be done, and we’re excited that things are underway. Please forward this email to anyone you think would be interested, and save the date of April 7 for our party and brainstorming meeting!
To learn more please visit The Rising School’s new website at: http://www.risingschool.org/
You can download a PDF version of this newsletter here.