When we say, “Think Orange” you know we’re talking about the benefits of the combined influence of church + home. But Orange just became a whole lot brighter! Imagine the IMPACT of church + home + school all working together! We believe God is giving UBC even greater opportunities to impact the lives of many more children through our lease negotiations with Academica. We need you to join us in prayer about the future.
Last summer, Academica, a charter school management company, approached us about establishing a charter school in our facility. They have now re-initiated negotiations with us in earnest, wanting to open one of their charter schools, Somerset Academy, at UBC for Pre-K through Eighth Grade students. We are moving forward in that process in full anticipation of presenting a lease agreement to the congregation for their approval to start a charter school at UBC to begin in the fall of 2010.
As Family Ministry anticipated the possibility of a lease, we felt it necessary to recommend we close The Child Development Center, our half-day preschool program, for 2010-2011 and potentially beyond that, if the lease is signed. The Council On Ministries approved the recommendation and communication with teachers and parents are underway. Some reasons are:
- Teacher contracts for CDC and area preschools are offered in February. We cannot obligate UBC to pay these salaries knowing a lease could be signed with Academica.
- Somerset Academy requests operating their own preschool classes.
- Somerset will better prepare their students for a successful transition to their K-8 program by offering a preschool program that articulates directly into the elementary school.
- By incorporating the preschool program into its regular school schedule, the hours of operation are more conducive for working parents.
UBC plans to provide Academica with a lease agreement by February 17, and Academica has indicated that negotiation with us could be completed by the end of the month. Simultaneously, UBC and Academica have met with the new City Manager of Coral Gables, to express their mutual desire to further the city’s exceptional service to residents, and now anticipate working with the city’s planning departments to determine what will be necessary towards that end so that Somerset can begin operations this fall. You will be advised in church and through email updates when a business meeting will be called for a vote of the church.
I hope by this point in the update you are asking the question: Why would UBC consider doing this? Simply stated, allowing Somerset Academy to lease space in UBC’s building aligns to our vision and mission as a church. Consider these Orange benefits:
It allows us to help families with character building. We know from statistics that a child’s values are formed by age nine. We’ve included, as part of the lease, the stipulation that Somerset use the partner curriculum that mirrors UBC’s virtues based curriculum. As a result, there is increased promise of raising children with high intellectual and ethical standards. Also, we will still have the availability to offer aftercare enrichment classes to support this learning.
It extends our reach throughout the community. The majority of CDC families are Coral Gables residents. Providing a charter school here allows them the quality of a private school education, funded by their taxes, without leaving the city.
It enhances the quality of education for children. We anticipate this helping our current public school situation in two ways. First, decompressing overcrowded public schools, and second, improving the academic performance of public schools which, has been Academica’s experience wherever they start a charter school.
This is a cost savings measure for UBC. UBC will receive income to assist us with our ongoing operating costs for ministry. Also, this relationship will offer the benefits of a school in our facility without having to assume the full cost were we to manage it ourselves.
Keep in touch for further updates. Now would be a good time to subscribe to the RSS feed on this blog. When you subscribe, you’ll be able to stay up to date on all the Academica updates.