The Fresno County Board of Education unanimously voted to sanction the opening of a new charter school in Clovis in its March 19 meeting.
The charter school, Clovis Global Academy, is currently enrolling kindergarten through fifth grade students and anticipates commencing class August 17, 2020. The school will eventually serve students through the eighth grade.
Clovis Global Academy aims to educate students through a dual immersion learning system that would ensure students can speak, read and write Spanish and English by the time they enter high school. It will be the first school of its kind in Clovis.
“Charters are set up to try innovative ideas,” said Fresno Education Board Trustee Dr. Allen Clyde, who represents the district that the Clovis Global Academy will be located in.
“The subject matter is taught in both English and Spanish, from start to finish,” Clyde said. “When these kids finish the 8th grade and go to their respective high schools, they will be fully bilingual. They will read, write and speak bilingually, the whole thing.”
A petition to open the school was originally submitted to the Clovis Unified School District Governing Board in November 2019.
But after the CUSD board narrowly denied the petition in early February 2020, Clovis Global Academy Board Chair Harmit Juneja appealed to the Fresno County Board of Education.
Now that the board has sanctioned the school, the Clovis Global academy is enrolling students. The school expects 239 students to attend during the 2020-2021 school year. The enrollment deadline is April 22.
Juneja said the charter school operates on a three pillar model.
“One of those pillars is dual language immersion,” Juneja said. “Essentially dual language immersion is a very research backed method that has been tried and tested and has worked for all student subgroups. The core subjects – math, English, science, social studies – are essentially taught in English and a target language.”
Juneja said students enrolled in the school would be taught by an English speaking teacher for half the day and by a Spanish speaking teacher the other half.
“A student would come in and they would start the day in English. Then after recess a different teacher that would teach that group of students and would teach another subject or reinforce some of the concepts in Spanish,” he said.
The other two pillars include the transfermitive teaching practices and creating a safe, small school culture, Juneja said.
“This is a smaller school, it creates a different environment,” he said. “We have a heavy emphasis on social emotional learning, so we will have an advisory period every day in which kids will be taught how to focus, how to pay attention.”
Dual language immersion will begin in transitional kindergarten and first grade students when the school opens.
“With dual language enrollment, it has to start early,” Juneja said.
Second through fifth grade students beginning at the school will receive Spanish language enrichment, though that will eventually be phased out as more students enroll at the school at the transitional kindergarten level.
“Over time the language enrichment will phase out and the school will be fully dual immersion up to 8th grade,” Juneja said.