VACAVILLE — The Kairos Family BBQ drew about 700 hundred people to the new charter school’s campus on Saturday for a welcoming picnic.
The picnic was a way to introduce the parents to the teachers for the upcoming school year and give everyone some time to get to know each other.
“We have a lot of friends from around the area who plan to bring their kids to this school,” said Kim Haddon, who has three sons in charter schools.
Her husband Daniel remembers how his youngest son struggled in second grade in public school. Everything turned around for him after they put him in the Alternative Cooperative Education Charter School.
“He just had a hard time with the teacher’s style. He still gets upset over homework, and it’s been two years,” Kim Haddon said.
“We wanted to get in on the ground floor of this school since he excelled in his other charter school,” said Daniel Haddon.
The Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy is a transitional kindergarten through eighth grade public school.
“The difference with our school is that we have smaller classrooms, which are meant to be an innovative model for larger schools,” said Jared Austin, co-founder, principal and executive director of Kairos.
The school will be opening with 465 students and there are still 300 prospective children on a waiting list, Austin said.
“It is clear to me that the community wants and needs this type of school,” he said.
He said that teachers have more freedom with the curriculum than in public schools, and if they feel they need to go back over some information, they can do that.
“Teachers can develop curriculum to meet the needs of individual students,” Austin said.
Charter schools also are different in that parents are asked to volunteer 3o hours per year to help the school out. Students are asked to donate the same amount of hours to helping out in the community.
Parents don’t seem to have a problem with donating their time to help the community and the school.
“We will just work it around our schedules,” said Mark Taylor, a parent of three children, two of whom will be attending Kairos school.
“Parents answered our call to help clean up the campus. We had 300 people come for a beautification day. It was really wonderful,” Austin said.
It is not just about the difference in curriculum or teaching style that brings parents to enroll their children in a charter school.
“It is also a financial decision,” Taylor said.
“We had the oldest in Buckingham Charter, and it was an excellent experience for all of us,” Taylor said.
His friend and fellow charter parent, Robert Haven, agrees.
“I attended Vacaville public school growing up and this just seems more promising,” Haven said.
Austin hopes that the students will leave the school with a balanced education.
“I want students to be prepared for the unknown future. Our academics are meant to teach them to persevere in life,” Austin said.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.