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Guam has two new charter schools

Updated: Jun 14

 

Maga’låhen Hurao-CHamoru Academy Charter and the Business and Technology Academy Charter School will share the old San Vicente Catholic School campus in Barriagada. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The Guam Academy Charter Schools Council has approved the establishment of a new charter school specializing in CHamoru studies for grade schoolers.

 

With the council’s approval of the Maga’låhen Hurao-CHamoru Academy Charter School, Guam now has seven charter schools, reaching the cap set under the law.


“This new institution will serve grades Pre-K3 to fifth, with a curriculum designed to reflect the unique cultural heritage and educational needs

 of our indigenous CHamoru community,” according to a press release from Hurao Academy.


The proposed site for the Maga’låhen Hurao-CHamoru Academy Charter School is a subleased space at the former San Vicente Catholic School Campus in Barrigåda. It will share the campus with the Business and Technology Academy Charter School, whose petition received the green light last month.

 

“The decision to approve the first Indigenous medium education charter petition is not only a profound acknowledgment and respect for our language and cultural heritage but also signifies a step forward in educational innovation for our Indigenous people,” Hurao Academy said.


Hurao Academy is founded by Anna Marie Blas Arceo, who currently serves as the administrator of Kumisión i Fino’ CHamoru.


“This charter represents more than just a new educational opportunity; it is a beacon of hope and a symbol of recognition of our generations of Mañaina who have fought tirelessly to preserve our language and culture," the academy said.


"This petition affirmed the importance of linguistic and cultural preservation, and gives our children the invaluable gift of learning in their ancestral tongue,” it added.


Read related story

 

Hurao Academy and BTACS have joined Guahan Academy Charter School, iLearn Academy Charter School, SIFA Learning Academy Charter School, Career Tech High Academy Charter School and Mount Carmel Catholic School.


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The Guam Academy Charter School Act of 2009 authorizes the establishment of charter schools on Guam. Unlike public schools under the Guam Department of Education’s orbit, charter schools operate with some autonomy under a contract with the Guam Academy Charter Schools Council.


“By supporting institutions like the immersion charter school, we invest in the future of our youth, empowering them with the knowledge and confidence

 to thrive in a diverse and ever-changing world,” Hurao Academy said.


The law allows no more than seven charter schools to operate, with two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.


The law was enacted to increase learning opportunities for all students with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences; encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods; and create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site. 


BTACS, whose petition was approved on May 18, promises to deliver “a gold standard of education” and "empower high school students for the demands of the 21st-century workforce.”


"At BTACS, we are not just building a school, we are cultivating a vision for the future," said Baltazar Atalig, chairman of the organization. "Our mission is clear: to equip our youth with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving world."

 

BTACS founders said the school offers a “unique blend of academic rigor and real-world relevance” through “a comprehensive curriculum that integrates business and technology concepts into core subjects.”

 

BTACS said the school will prepare students not just for college, but for lifelong success in the workforce. “With a dedicated team of educators and a forward-thinking curriculum, BTACS is poised to transform the educational landscape and shape the future leaders of tomorrow,” the business academy said. 


Charter schools receive funding from the general fund equal to the number of students enrolled in a charter school.


The council has a budget of $14.4 million in fiscal year 2024, with a $7,500 allotment per student.  The Guam Department of Education’s cost per student is $11,000.





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