New charter school unveiled in Fresno Unified

FRESNO, California

Dailey closed three years ago due to boundary changes but it re-opened on Monday as Dailey Elementary Charter School.

Dailey Charter was authorized by Fresno Unified. The district established a non-profit organization to run the charter school.

An introduction to Spanish helps prepare Dailey students for the International Baccalaureate programs at Wawona Middle and Fresno High schools.

Principal Melissa Dutra says her school exemplifies educational reform. Dutra said, "It's a great example to show when we teach in a different new way. We do have an extended school day, about two hours longer than traditional schools in the neighborhood."

Every classroom at Dailey has a different theme. Some first-graders spend their time at Daigle Beach. Next door kids are learning in a class which has a farm theme.

Parents say they like the fact students here are urged to ask a lot of questions. Karen Gaines said, "It's kind of like the first round draft pick. To get to go to the new school and or a team that is brand new and to make an impact."

The smiling faces let you know they're eager to learn. The kids are oblivious to heated debate over the charter school's hiring of non-union teachers.

On February 10th, the head of the Fresno Teacher's Association was escorted out of a board meeting.

Still, 514 teachers applied for the 12 positions at Dailey. Dutra said the staff has moved on. "Absolutely. It's about the kids. That's what we're here for so that's what the focus is on."

Students from the Dailey neighborhood received enrollment priority but the charter school has even attracted kids from Oakhurst and Madera. Dutra explained, "There's no boundaries. We take kids from everywhere."

Dailey currently has 225 students enrolled in kindergarten through 5th grade but still has room for 135 more kids.

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