Three charter schools looking to open within Davis, Weber districts

Thursday , August 10, 2017 - 5:00 AM

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

Editor’s note: This story has been clarified to show the charter schools are seeking to open within the boundaries of area school districts but the districts will have no part in running them.

Two new charter schools are seeking to open within the boundaries of the Davis School District, as well as one in Weber School District boundaries.

The proposed charters will go before the State Charter School Board for approval at a meeting Friday, Aug. 11. Nine schools throughout Utah will presenting to the board.

The public charter schools would operate within the boundaries of existing public school districts but the districts won’t operate them.

Utah Collegiate Academy is looking to open in North Salt Lake, to give an increasing number of students in that area more opportunities to play sports.

The school’s authorizing agent, Frank Tusieseina, is the CEO of Salt Lake City’s Sports World Event Center. He said the school would be part of a development he’s trying to build on 53 acres that would include apartments and a 250,000-square-foot athletic facility.

Tusieseina said the development is still “in the works” and will proceed whether or not the charter school is approved.

The school would open in the 2019-20 school year for grades nine-12, adding sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 2021.

According to board documents, the school would focus on academics and early college learning with a “competitive athletic program” because many of the area high schools are so large that not as many students are able to participate.

In 2017-18, all Davis and Salt Lake City school district high schools will be either 5-A or 6-A athletically, putting them at enrollments of 1,500 or more.

“It is extremely difficult for students to make a competitive sports team in this environment and to receive individual attention,” documents state.

Students would be able to earn up to 60 hours of college credit while still in high school, and junior high students would be involved in project-based learning in specific career clusters. The aim is to help students step into the working world two years sooner than usual.

“Once they latch onto athletics, I think everyone has this dream they’re going to make it, so do the parents, but if they don’t have a solid academic foundation, they’re not going to have anything to fall back on,” Tusieseina said.

Documents state UCA is starting with higher grade levels before adding younger students in order to “ensure financial stability through its high school model cost savings.” The school would have an enrollment cap of 600 students for the first two years and then increase to 1,050 in 2021-22.

LEAP Academy — which stands for “Lead. Educate. Achieve. Perform” — is also trying to open in the Davis School District for kindergarten through ninth grade.

Located in Kaysville, LEAP Academy’s mission is to “create an educational coaching culture that facilitates learning and results in high academic student achievement along with the development of the whole child,” according to board documents.

The school plans to use teaching components from “Six Keys to Creating a Coaching Culture in Schools,” by Bob Tschannen of LifeTrek Coaching. This means teachers create a climate of respect by using coaching components to establish relationships with students and maximize their potential.

The area where officials are looking to build, at the northern border of Layton, west of Interstate 15, has seen growth in the new home market, according to the application.

Authorizing agent Marty Carpenter said he hasn’t had experience in schools, but he and a group of like-minded people came up with the idea to give kids a coaching-focused one-on-one educational experience.

If approved, LEAP Academy would open in 2019-20 for 729 students, and up to to 810 students the following year.

Bridge Elementary would open within Weber School District boundaries in 2019-20 for 378 kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

The school would use the Personalized Learning Model, which means each student has a customized learning plan that aims to achieve goals by fostering their strengths and areas of interest. Each student will have an adviser who updates the plan.

Bridge Elementary would use Academics of Interest, which allows students to participate in project-based learning projects having to do with areas of study they enjoy the most.

Teachers are called “learning facilitators” at the school.

According to board documents, the school aims to provide families in the Roy and West Haven area near the intersection of 4800 South and 3500 West with a choice other than traditional Weber School District schools.

Lani Rounds, the school’s authorizing agent, is on the board at Wasatch Peak Academy, has previously worked with Ascent Academy and is going to teach for the Weber School District this fall.

She said Bridge Elementary would be the only charter school in the Roy area.

“I’m confident the model is very innovative,” she said. “There’s not one like it around. I’m confident the best practices we want to implement are best for kids.”

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at

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