A new charter school plans to open in western Wayne County for the 2019-20 school year after being granted its charter by Central Michigan University earlier this month.
Ivywood Classical Academy received approval for its charter agreement at the Dec. 6 meeting of the CMU Board of Trustees in Mount Pleasant. The agreement allows Ivywood to open and operate as a charter school beginning next fall.
The location of the school, which will focus on "classical liberal arts," has still not been determined. Jim Musgrave, a board member for the academy, said officials are looking for a piece of property to locate the school. The board is looking for a location in Livonia, Westland or Plymouth.
Classical liberal arts education focuses on teaching "the whole student," Musgrave said, with a concentrated focus on math, science, history and literature. The school will teach using methods through Hillsdale College's Barney Charter School Initiative, whose program is used at several schools across the country. The closest school that currently uses that curriculum is Livingston Classical Academy in Whitmore Lake, Musgrave said.
Musgrave said he and several other board members for the school are Hillsdale College alumni, live in the area and wanted to bring this style of teaching to northwest Wayne County.
"There was no option available in those communities that was focused on classical liberal arts," said Musgrave, a Livonia resident. "There's a lot of interest for a school of this type in that community."
As a charter school, Ivywood would be a public school that operates independently outside of a traditional public school district that does not charge tuition and receives funding from the state. Its per-pupil funding would not exceed the base foundation received by the local school district in which the charter school is physically located.
Several other charter schools operate within those communities, including Grand River Academy in Livonia, Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy in Plymouth Township and American International Academy in Westland, to name a few.
The school is authorized to open with 336 students in grades K-5, with plans to add an additional grade each year until it can operate as a K-12. Musgrave said the board's goal is operate the school on one campus once it grows to that size.
CMU is one of the largest authorizers of charter schools in Michigan. It operates the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools, which recommended the charter be authorized for Ivywood.
"The Center is recommending that CMU extend a charter contract to Ivywood Classical Academy as we feel they will provide a quality option for the students in their community," states the memo provided to the university's board of trustees on the authorization.
More information on the school, including how to get updates on its progress, can be found at ivywoodclassicalacademy.com.
"I think public education is cornerstone of any community," Musgrave said. "I'm a product of that kind of education. I've seen the fruits of it and I want to pass along that legacy to future generations."