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WIN Academy readies for first semester as public charter school

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Organizers of a new public charter school focused on nursing education expect to have about 20 students in the school’s first year.

The advisory committee for the Workforce Initiative for Nurses (WIN) Academy, a charter school within BridgeValley Community and Technical College, met Thursday and received an update on enrollment numbers.

Casey Sacks

There are currently 18 students, including five high school seniors and 13 high school juniors, who will be in WIN’s inaugural class. School officials expect at least two more students and maybe more before the school year begins.

“So if you do know someone who is a rising junior or senior, if you know someone this would be a good fit for, you can still sign up,” BridgeValley President Casey Sacks said.

Sacks said juniors will take courses that will prepare them to enter the nursing program as seniors. Seniors will earn high school and community college credits while taking the first year of the RN program at BridgeValley in South Charleston.

After your senior year, the seniors will just need two more semesters of the program for an Associate’s Degree, or they can take their credits and transfer to a four-year institution.

MORE State Charter School Board met Thursday

Barry Holstein

The advisory committee learned Thursday that WIN, as of now, will receive just under $148,000 from the state Department of Education to cover the cost of the students. The state money that would usually following a student to a traditional public school now follows them to public charter schools under a state law that was created in 2019.

WIN Academy committee members discussed some growing pains at Thursday’s meeting. Board member Barry Holstein said they must convince traditional public schools that they aren’t stealing students.

“We’re not here to take their students from them. We’re simply offering a tremendous opportunity for students in our region who want this opportunity. Right? They have that desire and that calling to go into that field,” Holstein said.

Committee members talked about a possible campaign to educate the public about how kids who attend charter schools can still play sports and participate in other extra-curricular activities at their local high school. Holstein suggested entering into partnerships with high schools on some other activities.

“There’s nothing against, philosophically at least, combining efforts with other schools and if a prom is something that is useful, valuable to our students and we can’t facilitate it why can’t we coordinate with another school?”

The West Virginia Professional Charter Schools Board approved the WIN Academy’s application last November.

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