From the June 6, 2008, News-Sentinel:

Imagine gets charter for 3rd school
Bridge Academy, a year-round K-8 school, will open in 2009.

By Ashley Smith

A new Fort Wayne charter school made the grade today and will open in fall 2009.

Imagine Bridge Academy, a year-round K-8 school for 400-plus students, has been officially granted its charter from Ball State University. Virginia-based Imagine Schools also operates the MASTer Academy on the former YWCA campus, 2000 N. Wells St., and Imagine Schools on Broadway, which opens this fall in the old Emmaus Lutheran Church, 2320 Broadway.

“It sounds exciting. … It’s fairly unique,” said Larry Gabbert, director of Ball State University’s Office of Charter Schools. He said the year-round aspect added to approving the charter.

Charter schools operate as independent public schools, but are not as limited by state curriculum requirements and are held more accountable academically. Imagine Bridge Academy, which does not yet have a location, will offer a unique research-and-development component, said Guy Platter, Imagine School’s regional director and former principal at the MASTer Academy.

“The distinction (from the other two Imagine Schools) is the relationship with the higher education institutions,” he said. “We really try to create an educational incubator for creativity and higher education development.”

Platter said Imagine has narrowed down its search for a location to three sites, mostly in northeast Fort Wayne. Imagine also is using community surveys to determine whether a year-round school that operates in quarters with short breaks between each nine-week period would fill a need in Fort Wayne.

Today’s approval comes as Imagine renovates the former church on Broadway for its K-5 school, which Platter said already has “well over” 100 students registered. Imagine has a five-year plan eventually to make all the schools K-12 institutions.

Fort Wayne’s other charter school, Timothy L. Johnson Academy, recently was granted a two-year extension of its charter by Ball State.

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