BIRMINGHAM, March 8, 2022 – New Schools for Alabama has selected Freedom Preparatory Academy, Alabama Aerospace & Aviation High School, and Nixon Elementary School, a conversion charter school in Montgomery Public Schools as the recipients of our 2022 Charter School Program (CSP) Grant. Grantees will receive a three-year grant for the maximum amount of $1,500,000. Funding for our CSP Grant Competition is made possible by a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to New Schools for Alabama to support the growth of fifteen (15) new, high-quality charter schools over the next five years with an emphasis on those serving 60% or greater economically disadvantaged populations.
Executive Director, Tyler Barnett, said, “This is an especially exciting year for students and families in Alabama, and for the greater charter school movement in our state as well. We’ve known for years that there is a tremendous demand from parents for different public school opportunities, and we are finally in a place where charter schools are able to satisfy many of those demands. There are so many talented leaders in this state who are planning to launch truly exceptional, innovative new schools, and we’re seeing a new generation of talent express interest in the autonomy that charter schools can offer. We now have charter schools from Birmingham down to Mobile, and we have this incredibly diverse range of academic models, including STEM-focused schools, competency-based learning schools, project-based learning schools, and schools focused on social-emotional health. We even have an aviation school. And now we have two of the best charter school operators in the nation in Freedom Prep and Phalen Leadership Academies planning to open schools in our state. So, the future is bright, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.”
Justin Hampton, Alabama Regional Director for Freedom Preparatory Academy stated, “Across the South, the need for low-income students of color to have access to quality educational options could not be clearer. At Freedom Prep, our vision is to be a major proponent of that, and being awarded the CSP grant is a major milestone toward accomplishing that vision. Beginning our expansion in Alabama with Kindergarten through 2nd grade in 2023 and expanding one grade level at a time until reaching a full K-8 offering in Birmingham, our hope is to replicate the unique success that our students in Memphis experience. With this grant, we now have the secured resources to engage the communities in a way they deserve, as well as adequately plan and staff for all the needs we will have prior to opening and beyond. We are humbled at the prospect of joining in carrying the mantle of the Civil Rights Movement with the Birmingham community.”
The CSP Grant Competition application process involves two phases, each designed to ensure a thorough, impartial review. The first phase is the Desk Audit Phase, wherein applicants submit a written application along with supporting documentation. The written application is then evaluated against a research-based rubric. Each applicant is subsequently invited to the Interview Phase, which allows applicants to present their application to the CSP Selection Committee and respond to questions. The CSP Selection Committee is composed of four individuals, each having substantial relevant experience.
In this grant cycle, New Schools for Alabama received four applications. Non-recipients remain eligible to apply in each cycle until the school opens and are encouraged to do so. New Schools for Alabama plans to release applications for the next cycle in the fall of 2022.