Lincoln Charter Schoolâ€™s Denver campus will expand into a high school next year with the starting of a ninth grade. The school already has a high school in the west. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
DENVER â€” Eighth-graders at the Lincoln Charter Schoolâ€™s Denver campus can look forward to another year in the same school with the same teachers.
For the first time, the east campus will offer ninth grade to its students.
â€œThis is the first time itâ€™s feasible,â€ said Dave Machado, principal of the school. â€œThis is the first time weâ€™ve had a full eighth-grade class.â€
According to the schoolâ€™s high school committee, 19 eighth-grade students have committed to staying in the school next year, and there have been over 500 hits on the Web site dedicated to the high school.
â€œWeâ€™re going to do this right,â€ said Dan Cronin, chairman of the high school committee. â€œWe from day one said we will not start a high school with 10 kids.â€
Each year the charter school board will vote on whether to expand the high school another grade.
The school already has a high school located on 27 West, which will have itâ€™s first graduating class next year.
Many parents think one high school is enough for now and are unhappy with the charter school boardâ€™s decision.
â€œI think theyâ€™re jumping the gun,â€ said Kathy Auten, the parent of 10th-grade student.
â€œA small handful of parents, some are board members, theyâ€™re bound and determined theyâ€™ll have a ninth grade.â€
Les Canipe, president of the charter school board, says a large majority support having a high school at each campus.
â€œI think itâ€™s the right thing to do,â€ said Lynne Prunier, a sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teacher. â€œWe need the high school to finish the program.â€
Next year, every middle school teacher will take on one ninth-grade class.
Some students are excited about seeing their teachers for another year. Others arenâ€™t too sure about the idea.
â€œSome of them I would rather not have, to be perfectly honest,â€ said Samantha Tesi, an eighth-grader.
She added that most of her teachers are â€œawesome.â€
If the charter school had not added a ninth grade, most eighth-grade students planned to attend North Lincoln High School or East Lincoln High School rather than the west campus of the charter school.
â€œ(My parents) donâ€™t want to drive that far,â€ said Samantha. â€œThey said they want a school near me so they can be involved.â€
The east campus will outgrow itâ€™s facility in a matter of years, said Machado.
For now, the ninth grade will take up an extra classroom thatâ€™s currently being used as a workroom.
â€œYouâ€™re talking about putting ninth grades in where first-graders and kindergartners are,â€ said Auten.
Many parents and students are willing to do that in order to stay in a small school.
A small school environment promotes individual attention and high expectations, said Canipe.
â€œAll the teachers know me, and they know I can do well, so theyâ€™ll push me harder,â€ said Michael Jennings, an eighth-grade student.
The size of the school also makes it easier for students to be involved in extra-curricular activities and play on sports teams.â€œItâ€™s a small school where an average kid can don the colors of his people and represent them,â€ said Cronin. by Sarah Grano