Last updated: June 01. 2013 11:44AM - 486 Views
Jessica Pickens
Staff Writer

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Bridges Charter School opened Monday to start a new school year.

Despite a scare when the N.C. State Board of Education revoked the school’s charter earlier this summer, the board and Bridges were able to negotiate.

“We appealed and filed for a court hearing when it was announced our charter may be revoked,” said Chairman of Bridges School Mary Ann Finger. “Then we started negotiating and signed on Thursday at a called meeting.”

Bridges School negotiated with the N.C. State Board of Education by promising to make expected growth in the next three years and have staff trained in Individualized Education Programs (IEP).

“We’ve been negotiating all summer and happily agreed to make expected grown,” Finger said. “I’m extremely happy with the way things turned out. It was just like our lawyers and the legislatures said.”

At Bridges Charter School’s open house last Thursday, some parents were concerned the school wouldn’t open while others hadn’t heard about the issue, Finger said.

“Parents were saying, ‘Please tell us we won’t close.’ The parents have been fantastic,” she said. “So many tell me how their child never was able to pass end of grade testing and now can’t wait to go to school.”

Bridges started the school year with 141 students and several new staff members, Finger said.

“The first day was the best day ever,” she said. “We have several new teachers who have made their classrooms very inviting. I think we have the best staff we’ve ever had.”

Bridges Charter School opened in 1997 in the basement of the old Hugh Chatham nursing home and moved to its current location on Pleasant Ridge Road in State Road in 1999. It was one of the first three charter schools to open in North Carolina.

The only qualifications to go to Bridges are that the student must live in North Carolina, be within the grade levels taught and the school can’t be too full. Bridges mainly serves Wilkes, Surry and Yadkin County.

“We have several students who are school phobic because of the way they have been treated by bullies or teachers in the past,” Finger said. “We take them and help them learn.”

Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 ext. 18 or jpickens@heartlandpublications.com.

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