ST. GEORGE — Freedom Preparatory Academy officially opened its St. George K-5 Charter School in the Desert Color community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 7.
Freedom Prep Executive Director Lynne Herring spoke to a crowd of parents, children and school staff in a second-floor conference room.
“I always marvel at the success and growth that’s possible when you gather a team of like-minded stakeholders who work together to accomplish great things like this,” Herring told the crowd.
Freedom Prep Governing Board Chairman Cary McConnell spoke next.
“Many of you know charter schools are tuition-free schools,” McConnell said. “Charter schools offer parents and students additional choices about where students can attend. Charters allow educators freedom to try new strategies to inspire students to experiment with innovative ways of educating students and preparing them for the future. This is a beautiful place located in a beautiful community. This is a place to build a future.”
The building, which is phase one of the development, can accommodate up to 400 students. When phase two is complete, the school will accommodate up to 650 students, with an average class size of 20-25 students.
“The connectedness and cohesion that has already taken place between faculty and staff is astounding,” Principal Brandon Winn said. “We have started to create a foundation and an atmosphere and culture around collaboration, respect, diligence, resilience and innovation.”
When asked why parents should send their children to Freedom Prep instead of a public school, Winn said, “The ability to make personalized decisions for our students. Freedom Prep prioritizes on personalized education for its students.”
McConnell said what sets apart charter schools from regular public schools is the ability to set their own curriculum.
“If Freedom approaches the state and asks to use this curriculum and this literature for this specific city, and if the state agrees, they’ll give us a charter,” McConnell said.
Winn, who spent the last five years at George Washington Academy teaching fifth grade and sixth grade math, reiterated Freedom Prep’s commitment to individualized instruction.
“Making sure we’re creating an individualized education for students as much as possible,” Winn said. “We still have a lot more we’d like to do with that and to make each child’s education even more individualized. That is something we’re working on every day.”
On its website, Freedom Prep lists its core curriculum for St. George K-5. The academy uses the Core Knowledge Sequence, Eureka Math and Wonders literacy curricula. These disciplines are said to ensure students meet or exceed the Utah State Core Curriculum.
Additionally, students participate in physical education, and each student is issued a Chrome notebook to promote computer literacy. Art and music form part of the curricula, and students participate in Freedom’s Leader in Me program to develop strong leadership skills.
Freedom Prep accepts students from the St. George area. The school operates on a lottery system — first come, first served.
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