TUSD, Aspiranet Team Up to Open New Charter School

Brandon McMillan/TurlockCityNews.com

The Turlock Unified School District and Aspiranet have partnered to offer a new, independent charter school known as Fusion Charter, which will offer instructions and services to meet the needs of about 100 troubled youth in 7th- through 12th-grade.

Fusion Charter will serve students who have been expelled, chronically suspended or truant, foster youth, and pregnant teens. It will be located at Free Will Baptist Church at 2217 Geer Rd.

The primary goal is to return troubled teens back to traditional schools within TUSD, which loses Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding when students transfer to Stanislaus County Office of Education schools.

Since Fusion Charter is an independent charter, it will receive public funds and will be open to all students, however the goal of the school is to help students who have fallen thru the cracks of traditional education in Turlock.

“This will serve the most at-risk students, many of whom come from foster care and group-home placements in order to get back on track academically and ultimately transition,” said TUSD Assistant Superintendent Ed Services Dana Trevethan. “It will also be available to students in neighboring districts. It’s going to be great for the kids and everyone involved. In some of these situations at our comprehensive schools we have students with emotional and behavioral issues and it can be frustrating for everyone.”

Initially TUSD approached Aspiranet, which has extensive experience running programs for troubled youth such as Stanislaus Academy and Valley Oaks private schools. The nonprofit organization also operates foster care agency in Turlock.

Students will be given instruction largely online with an individual teacher to provide academic help as needed. Students will attend the school for three hours a day, four days a week for academics, as well as counseling, social services, and career guidance. Fridays will be an open-lab day for students to work on assignments.

TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto says the school will offer kids who feel they have no chance in school the opportunity to build confidence and hope.

Instruction materials and text will remain the same as used in traditional TUSD schools.

Fusion Charter will open Sept. 8 and will fall under the guidance of TUSD, however day-to-day principal Siobhan Hanna as well as the Aspiranet Board will oversee operations.  

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