News release: Charter school for 2 juvenile detention cntrs. in state

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Phil Bacharach
Director of Communications
405-521-4894, 405-249-0746

Tricia Pemberton
Assistant Director of Communications
405-521-3371, 405-431-7195-cell

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 State Board of Education approves charter school plan

For two juvenile detention facilities

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 19, 2014) — The State Board of Education today unanimously approved an application submitted by Oklahoma’s Office of Juvenile Affairs to sponsor charter schools at juvenile detention facilities in Manitou and Tecumseh.

Under the plan, the State Board of Education will sponsor the Oklahoma Youth Academy Charter School at the facilities, both of which have been served by the local school districts —Tipton and Tecumseh, respectively.

“This is a landmark decision by the State Board of Education. The charter school application approved by the board might just be the first such entity of its kind in the nation, one in which the juvenile centers will operate the school for its youthful offenders,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “Charter schools are a vital part of creating a public education landscape that is innovative, committed to excellence and ensuring choice.” 

OJA officials told board members that a charter school provides flexibility and accountability measures likely to strengthen academic success for the offenders. OJA executive director Keith Wilson told the board that a charter situation will better allow the agency to coordinate a young person’s rehabilitation therapy with academic instruction.

“OJA is excited about the opportunities the charter school opens for us,” Wilson said.

The impacted facilities are the Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou and the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh.

The charter schools are expected to be operational for the 2015-2016 school year.