Charter School in the Workplace
The Villages Charter School (VCS) is dedicated to nurturing productive citizens and life-long learners through an integrated, relevant curriculum tailored to the individual needs of our students. We place a priority on identifying our students' learning styles and developing strategies that enable our students to succeed. We exist through a contract with the Sumter County School Board (our charter) and receive the same funding as other charter schools in the state.
The VCS is identified as a "Charter School in the Workplace" and operated as a Florida not-for-profit corporation. Established through Florida law, charter schools in the workplace are public charter schools with the ability to target a specific student population. Charter schools are public schools of choice. To read more about Charter Schools in Florida, click here. In our instance, the targeted population is the children of the employees of our sponsoring company, The Villages of Lake-Sumter, Inc., the fastest growing single-site development in the country. Simply stated, our students are drawn from a workplace boundary rather than the typical public school geographic boundary. For the most part, our students reside in the counties of Lake, Marion, and Sumter (separate school districts) and are dropped off at school by their parents as they travel to work. This "closeness" has created a much greater sense of school/community ownership due to its proximity to the workplace. The Villages Charter School has established high standards for academic achievement, student behavior, attendance, and parent involvement. A strong partnership with our parents allows this to succeed. Currently most grade levels are at (or very close to) maximum student enrollment capacity. Since VCS is a school of choice it may not be perfectly suited for all students. For example, due to our small size we cannot offer the entire range of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services. Also, students and/or parents that fail to comply with expectations may be placed on performance contracts, ultimately leading to a loss of eligibility status. In these cases, students can attend the public school within the county in which they live.
Student eligibility to attend our school is based upon a three category system. First priority is given to those students whose parents are direct employees of The Villages or The Villages Charter School. We currently have over 2000 employees working in such areas as administration, accounting, education, media, design, and others. Our second category consists of those parents who work for sub-contractors at The Villages. There are thousands of employees who work for our sub-contractors in the areas of home construction, maintenance, landscaping, hospitality, materials, food service, etc. Our third category consists of those parents employed by the businesses located on Villages' property. We have over 400 businesses on property including supermarkets, pharmacies, retail shops, medical offices and restaurants, to name a few.
The public charter school/private corporation partnership that we have forged has proved beneficial to both. In these times of limited funds, public school accountability and quality coupled with corporate buy-in is a win-win situation. Tax dollars are being supplemented with private commitment and investment and the likelihood of success becomes eminent. And, because of the quality education that we offer to our students, The Villages has been able to attract and retain a higher caliber of employee resulting in a highly efficient workforce and reducing company costs. This benefit to employment is one that we would certainly recommend to other large corporations.
Please contact us for further information regarding our charter school in the workplace.