BEND, OR -- A new K through 8 charter school is moving forward with plans to open in Bend next fall. The Bend International School received a $700,000 federal charter schools start-up grant. But, BIS Director Meera Rupp says the hardest part so far, has been finding a location. "It's very difficult for charter schools - especially a start-up, because - although we received this great grant, which we are so honored to have received- only 15 schools in the nation received this grant - we're not allowed to spend any of that money on our facility." Fundraisers are planned for early next year to raise money for a building.
Rupp says she's excited about the opportunity to bring international studies to Central Oregon. "We have a fairly low population of diversity here - about 15% - and we want our kids ot be able to compete across the world, to work with people from all different cultures. So, we're all about promoting diversity and respect and appreciation of other cultures." She says the bilingual model is unique. "What we're doing, is we're teaching the core academics in English. Then, in the afternoon, we're teaching our specials - including the lunch period, music, electives, project based learning - those are all being taught in Spanish."
90 Students have submitted "Intent to Enroll" forms. Rupp says they hope to have up to 195 students by the time they open next fall. Bend International School would join REALMS in Bend and the Redmond Proficiency Academy a the only charter schools in the region. Charter schools must be approved by the host distric, and Rupp says she expects Bend-La Pine Schools to approve their application in the next few months. The first community informational meeting is scheduled for December 2nd at Bend's Community Center (1036 NE 5th St.). Spanish speakers are invited to come at 6 p.m. An English speaking meeting will be held 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. More details can be found at Bend International School's website