West Virginia Approves Charter School for Nursing Education | News, Sports, Jobs

CHARLESTON — After giving program officials a week to address concerns, the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board on Wednesday approved an application for the state’s first charter school dedicated to nursing education.

The board voted unanimously to approve an application submitted by Workforce Initiatives for Nursing Academy, a public charter school offered by South Charleston-based BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

WIN Academy’s original proposal would create a charter school for 30 high school students from a 10-county region for an accelerated nursing program, allowing students to complete the first year of an associate graduate nursing program through BridgeValley. The program aims to address the state’s nursing shortage.

But at a Nov. 15 PCSB meeting, the board was split 2-2 on approving the WIN Academy charter school bid. Board Chairman Adam Kissel and Board Member Dewayne Duncan voted to approve the nomination, while Board Members Karen Bailey-Chapman and Brian Helton abstained.

Concerns raised last week centered on WIN Academy only focusing on high school students. Bailey-Chapman, speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, also raised concerns about tracking metrics of success for the WIN Academy program.

“We are here to consider charter schools, not charter grades. Just having the Grade 12 curriculum was something that was a little problematic for me,” Bailey-Chapman said. “One of the concerns I also had with this 12th grader just before they entered college was that there were no metrics or accountability…what are we going to judge that on? Does it work, or is it just easy freshman tuition paid through the charter school?”

WIN Academy/BridgeValley officials have amended their application to address these concerns. The charter school will now serve high school and junior high school students, increasing its maximum enrollment from 30 students to 120 students, starting with 60 students to begin with and increasing to 120 students after fifth year.

Juniors in the WIN Academy program would complete preparatory programs to prepare them for the first year of an RN program leading to an associate degree in their senior year.

“The intent of the program is to encourage high school graduates of WIN Academy to then complete the BridgeValley Associate of Nursing degree one year after high school graduation,” according to the posted application. WIN Academy day. “If successful, WIN Academy will support a small cohort of young students to complete the full nursing program at a younger age, contributing to the larger labor shortage of registered nurses – which is a high-demand, high-paying position in West Virginia.”

If WIN Academy is successful, BridgeValley may consider expanding the program to include undergraduate programs ranging from information technology, manufacturing, and business.

“I’m also very happy with some of the responsibilities and metrics…so we can kind of see and make sure that we can measure the progress and success of these students and make sure the program is working as currently designed,” Bailey -Chapman said.

Board member Dewayne Duncan endorsed WIN Academy’s amended application, but raised concerns with fellow board members about possible over-regulation of charters and stifling innovation .

“I want to make sure we put processes in place and do things, but I don’t want us to tie the hands of these creative and innovative programs,” Duncan said. “I don’t want people to stop applying to become charters. I want them to see freedom and flexibility. I want them to know it exists in West Virginia; that we’re not just trying to make it a public school.

With the approval of WIN Academy, which will begin in the fall of next year, the state now has four physical public charter schools and two virtual public charter schools statewide. The PCSB last week approved the application for the MECCA Business Learning Institute (MBLI), which will welcome students from Berkeley County next year.

West Virginia’s first charters, Monongalia County-based West Virginia Academy and Eastern Panhandle Preparatory Academy, opened physical schools earlier this fall. The state has also opened two virtual charters, the West Virginia Virtual Academy and the Virtual Preparatory Academy of West Virginia.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox

Leave a Reply