Windsor Charter Academy expansion starts strong, already eyeing future growth |

Windsor Charter Academy expansion starts strong, already eyeing future growth

James Redmond

Students have started to settle in to the newly expanded Windsor Charter Academy middle and high school building only a few weeks after its doors opened for the first time.

The charter school has seen a lot of change, with the new building and program representing only part of it, said Windsor Charter Academy Executive Director Rebecca Teeples Tuesday. However, things have been successful and moved so quickly, school officials have to keep an eye on the future and possibly more expansion to accommodate their students, she said.

In the past two years the school's population has doubled, from 410 students two years ago to about 870 this year.

This fall semester marks another important change.

The charter school expanded from its elementary and middle school program to add an early college high school in a brand-new second building.

"It's a lot of change," she said.

Recommended Stories For You

With an early-college model, students at Windsor Charter Academy High School have the opportunity to take college classes in high school and graduate with both a high school and associate degree. The school partners with Aims Community College.

To facilitate the early college program, they have teachers and an advisor from the college at their high school campus. Already, freshmen and sophomores — the only high-school grade available for the school's first year — are taking eight college credits a year.

Teeples knows the challenges of an early college high school will require special attention to their students, making sure they have the foundational education they need to succeed in the higher education classes.

Making sure students are feeling good about their college and high school classes will be a major goal of the school's first year, Teeples said.

That's a lot of parts to add to an already moving and rapidly growing system, Teeples said. She added the change has gone well and it's amazing to look at the big picture and see it all working together.

The expansion meant a lot of adjustment from the pre-expansion charter school, and it's only necessary to look at Teeples and her title to see how.

The former Windsor Charter Academy principal, Teeples now oversees the whole charter academy. With the expansion she assigned the title of principal to Kelly Seilbach at the elementary school and Jeremy Schriner at the middle and high school.

They've also brought their food service program in house, meaning students get meals made in the school's kitchen each day, instead of contracting with the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District for their nutritional needs.

So far, the changes have yielded positive comments and feedback from parents, students and staff, Teeples said.

However, the programs' successes also necessitate an eye on the future.

"We're probably going to outgrow this school (the middle and high school building) in two years," she said. "We're probably going to have to build a second wing onto the school when you look at the projected enrollment."

Enrollment projections and the number of students in the elementary program that will come up to the middle and — eventually— high school programs show a need for more space. Already the chart school is almost fully utilizing their new building.

"That's what's on the horizon, our next step as we look at the big picture from (kindergarten up) and how we're going to support those kids years down the road," she said. "Se we get to take a rest for about six months, then we start the process again."

How the expansion came to be

The Windsor-Severance Re-4 School Board conditionally approved Windsor Charter Academy’s charter application for a Windsor Charter Academy High School last October.

In December, district staff told board members the charter group had satisfied the conditions for approval.

Windsor Charter Academy’s high school expansion began site work in February and finalized its charter contract in March.

Its ribbon cutting took place Sept. 1 and classes started in the new building Sept. 3.