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Community meetings ahead for new charter high school

Backers of a proposal for a new charter high school in the Sequoia Union High School District are holding two community and fundraising meetings, both at 7 p.m. – on Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Bethany Lutheran Church at 1095 Cloud Ave. in West Menlo Park, and on Monday, Feb. 3, the Fair Oaks Library at 2510 Middlefield Road in Redwood City.

Guest speakers include Mario de Anda, director of post-secondary programs for Big Picture Learning. The nonprofit oversees a network of some 100 charter high schools, with headquarters in Rhode Island and San Diego and offices in the Netherlands and Australia. Representatives from MetWest, a Big Picture high school, will be at the meeting.

Go to this link for information about the meetings.

The school will be seeking a charter from the Sequoia district, spokeswoman Charlene Margot told the Almanac.

Academic classes are a part of the program at a Big Picture school, but a principal focus is discovering what really interests students and crafting paths toward futures based on those interests, whether academic or career-oriented. Project-based learning, a focus on the individual student, and internships driven by student initiative are central to the program.

A Big Picture school seeks seventh- and eighth-graders who are disengaged and considered candidates for not graduating high school, Ms. Margot told the Almanac in 2011.

Go to this link for more on the proposed school.

Among the local advisers: San Mateo County schools Superintendent Anne E. Campbell; Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University; Thomas Mohr, newly elected to the board of the community college district; Pat Gemma, a former Sequoia district superintendent; and Philippe Rey, the executive director of Adolescent Counseling Services.

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