Editorial: Short takes

Wednesday, July 13, 2011  06:42 AM

The Columbus Dispatch

SINCE 2000, The Graham School and its successors have been proving what can go right with charter schools: When dedicated educational innovators are given the freedom to shape a school around a consistent concept, a receptive student body will find success.

In Graham’s case, the concept is experiential learning – applying classroom concepts to projects and activities in the real world. From ninth grade on, Graham students leave the school building two days per week to serve internships at public agencies, hospitals, schools, local businesses and elsewhere.

The Graham founders expanded in 2007 with The Charles School, which is partnered with Ohio Dominican University and focused on helping students, especially those who would be first-generation college students, earn early college credit.

A middle school opened last fall; now, congratulations are in order, as the the organization announces that an elementary will open in fall 2012. Offering a consistent K-12 program is rare among small, independent charter schools; it’s a sign of the Graham program’s success and stability.

But then, so is the fact that the original school and The Charles School have earned a B and an A, respectively, on the latest state report cards.

Ohio would benefit from more charter-school operators such as this.