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Strong interest in programs
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Principal Carey Simoni of Charter High School talks about educational side of the academies at Tuesday’s ‘Seat at the Table’ event. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

The inaugural ‘Seat at the Table’ Tuesday had a strong turnout featuring a catered meal and plenty of information about Charter High School.

That’s what those in attendance received – Principal Carey Simoni reported that number at about 160 parents, guardians and interested students of the academies consisting of industrial technology and design (be.industrial), culinary arts and hospitality (be.cuisine) and first responders (be.first) such as EMT, police and fire – at this first-ever event at the Manteca Unified School District Conference Room.

“It was like a family sitting around table having dinner and sharing conversation,” she said of part of the ‘Seat at the Table’ objective.

Dinner was catered and served up by those in be.cuisine.

The tuition-free, dependent charter school accepts students from throughout San Joaquin County along neighboring counties, according to Simoni.

She credited staff for contacting parents and guardians of the ninth- through- 12th- grade students via phone or social media for ‘Seat at the Table.’

They had a chance to meet with those from the academies of interest and learn about the new partnership with Big Picture Learning. 

Simoni indicated that this was part of “an individual learning plan”

Big Picture Learning has been around for over 20 years and features:

One student at a time learning – The entire learning experience is personalized to each student’s interests, talents and needs.

Advisory structure – Students stay with an advisor and a group of fellow classmates during the course of four years.

Learning through interests and internships – This real-world learning consists of students taking on projects while gaining experience and exposure at local places and businesses.

Parent and family engagement – A collaborate effort from those involved in the planning and assessment of the student’s work.

School culture – Each student’s voice is valued in the school decision-making process.

Authentic assessment – Students are assessed not by tests but by public displays of learning that tracks grown and progress in their areas of interest.

School organization – School is organized around a culture of collaboration and communication rather than a classroom structure of buildings, schedules and calendars.

Leadership – Students have a pervasive sense of shared ownership while working with an advisor along with staff and administrators.

In addition, runs on a block schedule which allows students to spend half of time on campus and other half to a learn-by-doing approach to curriculum.

At be.cuisine, for example, students will gain practical work experience in food services by helping out at some of the local businesses, according to Chef Instructor / Internship Coordinator Andrew Griggs.

More information is available by calling MUSD at 209.858.7460.