Thomas Hanley made a presentation today about Commonwealth High School, a public charter school scheduled to open next month at 5112 Central Ave., near the former Eastland Mall site.
According to Hanley, the school will open with fewer than 200 students (a bid request out of Nashville specified 130 chairs) and will top out at 600 students. The school expects to serve students who have either dropped out of high school or are on a trajectory that local school officials believe puts them at risk of doing so.
Questioners had a tough time getting answers to questions throughout the morning. Repeated questions were raised about the management and ownership of the group behind the school. A question about the curriculum elicited only vague references to relevance.
And the discussion never got into what a four-hour school day looks like, with three four-hour sessions operating in the same building daily. A generic brochure being handed out by Hanley says in part, “Come see the start of your new future without the distractions and drama of a typical high school.”
Hanley’s business card says he’s executive principal. He says working with at-risk is his ministry. In answer to a question, he said he had previously been at two charters in Florida.
In April, the Charlotte Observer reported that Commonwealth was on schedule to open in August. A second high school, Stewart Creek, at 3200 Freedom Drive, won state approval to delay opening until August 2015 because of construction delays. Both charter applications were submitted by a nonprofit board named N.C. High School for Accelerated Learning. In his answers, Hanley said Commonwealth would be operated by Community Education Partners.