RCAA expected to close

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BELOIT - The Roy Chapman Andrews Academy (RCAA) board voted 4-0 to close the charter for the 2019-2020 school year at a Monday night meeting, according to RCAA board member and School District of Beloit Treasurer Kyle Larsen.

In an interview after the meeting, Larsen said the recommendation to dissolve the school would go before the full School District of Beloit Board of Education, likely at its next meeting.

The school board previously voted to keep the academy open for the 2019-2020 school year, although concerns had been raised about its cost, $380,000 annually, and low number of 26 students. It had offered project-based learning since 2007-2008 with students completing their education through in-depth projects designed around their own interests. Advocates said it was a great place for students who didn't thrive in a traditional academic environment.

At last Tuesday's board meeting, Executive Director of School Leadership and Equity Peggy Muehlenkamp told the board she was meeting with families of students to help transition the students into other programming such as their home schools, other schools in the district, virtual school, Beloit Learning Academy and the Challenge Academy.

In his Monday interview, Larsen noted that students will be checked on periodically to see how they are adjusting.

On Tuesday's RCAA meeting, Larsen said RCAA Principal and board member Jen Paepke shared how RCAA had posted for teachers who had experience in project-based and competency-based learning. However, there were no candidates meeting the criteria in the pool of applicants. There were no teachers from the previous year who were going to stay on this year.

The RCAA board consists of Larsen, Jen Paepke and two parent board members. Larsen said both of the parents on the board have served the school for a long time and are interested in helping out as the district looks into other possible charter school options.

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