This charter school wants to open in response to bullying. but will cusd allow it the fresno bee west la college office hours

When shivjit singh first started wearing a patka, or bandanna-style turban common among sikh youth, a fellow student at kastner intermediate tried to snatch it off his head.

Singh wouldn’t stand for it, he said at a clovis unified school district board meeting earlier this year. He eventually received an apology from his classmate, who said he thought the headwear was just a fashion statement.

Members of the punjabi community in clovis unified have proposed a charter school partially in response to a study that showed 67 percent of turbaned youth in fresno experience some kind of bullying. The one & only academy would include a focus on mindfulness as a part of day-to-day instruction, as well as a curriculum taught in both english and punjabi.

It would be only the second school in the united states to include dual instruction in the language, according to jakara movement executive director deep singh.Avants said

But a staff report released friday recommends that the clovis unified school district board deny the charter petition on a number of grounds, including that the petitioners for the school are unlikely to successfully implement the program.

The report also lists a number of concerns about the outlined plans, including: “recruiting a racially and ethnically diverse student population; its admissions procedures; its curriculum and teaching methods; its plans for serving special education; section 504, english learner, low-achieving, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students; and its budget and financial plans.”

Harmit juneja, lead petitioner for the school and currently an agricultural engineering teacher at sunnyside high school, said the intention of the charter program is not to insulate kids.Charter school he said the role of the school would be to bring about cultural awareness, particularly through language instruction. Punjabi is the third-most spoken second language in the central valley, after spanish and hmong, according to the 2010 census. Punjabi instruction is also a way for second- and third-generation students to connect to their heritage.

The staff report also cites concerns about the charter’s “religious entanglement,” including in the proposed facilities, the instructional program, as well as in the name and logo. The school would be established on land owned by a local sikh temple.

For juneja, that part of the report was particularly saddening because it implies members of the sikh community cannot put forth a proposal like this without being seen through the lens of their religion.Clovis unified

Kaur, who teaches at the boys & girls club, said that bullies are often suffering too, and that a few minutes of mindfulness can help students become familiar with their emotions and express them in a constructive way.

Although mindfulness does have a place in the sikh religion, juneja said, one & only charter’s curriculum is based on a stanford model of education.

Clovis unified operates one charter school, the clovis online school. The center for advanced research and technology also started as a charter school but now operates independently. Both schools went through the petition, review and approval process before the board.

Clovis unified spokeswoman kelly avants said the staff who reviewed the one & only charter petition included dozens of people from the business office, curriculum office, school leadership office and superintendent’s office.Charter school the review took months to complete.

“we support high quality public education in any form,” avants said. “charters, when operating effectively, are a good alternative to comprehensive schools.”

The official vote on the charter’s status will take place on wednesday. Members of the community will be able to speak at the meeting as well.