Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Redwood Preparatory Charter School is in the process of renewing their charter school petition. The renewed petition will be good for five years. The current three year petition expires in June 2014. RPCS is starting the renewal process now instead of waiting to the last minute which is encouraged by charter organizations.

RPCS recently added a 7th grade class to their school and now hosts kindergarten through 7th and still resides on Ross Hill Road in Fortuna where the school shares space with a local church.

Heather Brown reflected on her child's time at RPCS and its value to the community saying, “I am very happy with my choice and I highly value Redwood Prep's place in our community as a valuable resource for our children. I look forward to many more years of high-achieving productivity for my son in this great school with its fantastic team of staff members.”

The renewal process includes a review of 16 elements. Some of the primary areas include financial stability and a sound educational program.

Renewal is regulated by Ed Code 47607 which states, “May grant one or more renewals ... governed by 'standards and criteria' of Section 47605.” It is that same guideline that states the renewal must be for five years and “shall include a reasonable comprehensive description of any new requirement of charter schools enacted into law after the charter was originally granted or last renewed.”

Code 47607 also provides guidelines to the Fortuna Elementary School District on ability to deny a renewal request. Some of those reasons could be an unsound educational program, demonstrable unlikely to successfully implement the program, and or the petition does not describe reasonably and comprehensively the 16 elements.

The 16 elements that RPCS is currently working on are educational program, measurable pupil outcome, outcome measurement, governance structure, employee qualifications, health and safety policies, racial and ethnic balance, admission requirements, independent financial audits systems, student attendance alternatives, return rights of district employees, dispute resolution, collective bargaining, and procedures for closure.

Director Lisa Jager said the school is working diligently on the paperwork and is confident that requirements for renewal have been met.

”We are financially stable and academically strong with high test scores,” Jager said.

The RPCS Board is made up of President Jeremy Stanfield who with his wife owns Landmark Reality in Fortuna, Vice President Randy Gans is Vice President of Development at Security National Properties, Treasurer Rene Imperiale-Eagan owns Professional Mortgage Group, Secretary Jackie Carter is a teacher with the Loleta School District with experience as the Athletic Director for the Loleta School District, Member Rosa Reynosa is the Advertising Manager for C. Crane and Company, Member John Flyer taught for over 14 years and holds extensive background as Supervisor and Administrator of District and school sites currently sitting on the Grand Jury, and Member Kate Shea-Ortiz has a long history working with non-profit organizations.

”We have a very sound educational program with a large amount of family and community support,” Jager said.

Those families and community members have stepped up to help ensure the continuation of RPCS through their five-year petition renewal by writing letters to the district to go along with the petition.

Dana McDonald whose daughter began RPCS two years ago as a kindergartner is now in 2nd grade and said, “She had a hard time with authority and knowing her place in her class. With help from the RPCS team and I, she overcame the issue and had a fun filled year.”

”RPCS offers real, data driven, individualized instruction geared to our children's success. The teachers at this school are constantly modifying individual instruction based on feedback from multiple assessments,” Jonathan and Erin Flyer said.

Support for the school has been generational.

”As the maternal grandmother of a very fortunate grandson who has had the opportunity to attend Redwood Preparatory Charter School this past year, I have only the highest regards towards the excellent skills of the teaching and administrative staff,” Jeannie Gray said.

For more information on Redwood Prep or the charter process, call 682-6149.