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On Parenting
Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 06/20/2011

Clifton Elementary closing; Fairfax parents organize bid for new charter school

From elsewhere in The Post: Fairfax County may get its first charter school in the 2012-2013 academic year. A group of community leaders is drawing up plans to open the school after losing the fight to keep Clifton Elementary School open. County officials are closing Clifton because of projected enrollment declines and the high per-pupil cost of renovations.

The charter school would be named the Lewis & Clark School, in honor of the Virginia-born explorers Merriweather Lewis and William Clark. Its curriculum would be unique: “It would be the only elementary school in the county to offer an International Baccalaureate program. The Lewis & Clark School’s board members, including Clifton’s mayor and vice mayor, envision a school with an emphasis on the study of Chinese culture and language, as well as technology, and with more than 400 openings for children from across the county,” writes reporter Frederick Kunkle.

To have any chance of opening by the 2012-13 academic year, charter school supporters — including state Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax) — say the application should be submitted to the Virginia Board of Education by June 30. Even then, approval is hardly assured.

The charter school’s backers also know that their concept faces obstacles, not least the district’s long-standing coolness toward charter schools and the open wounds from the year-long battle over closing Clifton.

Read Kunkle’s story to find out the challenges community leaders face in opening Lewis & Clark.

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This post has been updated since it was first published.

By On Parenting  |  11:30 AM ET, 06/20/2011

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