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LSSU online charter school secures state approval and funding

Posted: May 17th, 2013

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- A new K-12 public online school chartered by Lake Superior State University and operated by a Michigan nonprofit company, recently announced the approval of its charter application by the Michigan Department of Education.

The online school --- iCademy – founded by local manufacturing companies of Innotec Group, Innovative Education Services and Inno-Versity, is set to open in August with enrollment opening June 3.

“We are thrilled to be approved for our new online charter school,” said iCademy Board President Jerry Zandstra. “iCademy is at the forefront of the digital learning revolution. We are building a school that provides all children ready access to the latest digital technology and enables them to make meaningful connections with global schools far beyond our classroom.”

Zandstra said the tuition-free charter school is committed to providing an innovative, engaging learning environment that is also flexible and customized for each student. The school has Michigan-certified teachers using innovative curriculum from a variety of curriculum providers, and software analytics that customizes student learning. Math, history, science, English, world languages, and electives are just some of what will be offered as part of its curriculum.

"We are excited to support the launch of a new online school in Michigan,” said Nick Oshelski, executive director of LSSU’s Charter School Office. “On-line learning is the future of education and it gives students yet another option to pursue their educational goals and success. LSSU is looking forward to working with the staff, students, and the founders of iCademy. We wish the staff success in their future endeavors."

iCademy believes in a blended model of learning with online and face-to-face interaction between students and teachers. Students can learn in the comfort of their home, at their local library, or somewhere else of their choosing in addition to classroom settings. With this blended learning approach, iCademy will open bricks-and-mortar facilities in geographic locations throughout Michigan in relation to its students.

Open to all Michigan K-12 students, the first iCademy location will provide educational opportunities in the Holland/Zeeland area. This location will be at the Innocademy Charter School on the Homestead Campus in Zeeland. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently visited the site.

“We know schools will have to move from traditionally organized schools to ones that are more focused on student-directed learning,” said Zandstra. “This is an educational program for the 21st century designed for the needs of each student. We believe students should be creating and doing project-based learning at their own pace while having access to the latest technology.”

The school was authorized on March 28 as one of 23 schools chartered by LSSU. Since the cap was lifted on online charter schools in Michigan, iCademy is one of three new online-charter schools approved and the only one run by a Michigan non-profit company. The new law includes a gradual lifting of the current two-school cap, allowing up to five schools by 2014, 10 by 2015 and 15 schools after then.

iCademy received a $110,000 planning grant from the Michigan Dept. of Education that will help fund initial start-up costs.

For more information on iCademy, visit the school website or its Facebook page. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315; tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Maggie Kennedy, Wondergem Consulting Inc., 616-235-7467, Maggie@wondergem.com


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