Matt Hass, assistant superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools (right), plays chess with Llyr Neumann (left), as 8th grader at Community Public Charter school as Rowan Nofchissey looks on. Credit: Credit: Community Public Charter School

Following some mid-summer operational uncertainties, and a location change, the Community Public Charter School last week renewed its charter with the Albemarle County School Board.

The 2015-16 school year marks the eighth for the charter middle school that serves about 50 students in grades six through eight who benefit from learning in a small community.

“These are kids who are feeling ignored and lost in the shuffle, and they are on their guard all the time when 2,000 people are in a building,” said Ashby Kindler, principal of CPCS. “But you put them in a smaller class, and all of a sudden, they’re funny and volunteering for things.”

Earlier in the charter renewal process, CPCS requested a yearly staffing guarantee of six full-time equivalent positions so staff could better prepare for the year. Schools officials, however, said the division staffs all schools based upon need, and that, as needs arrive, central office can and does add additional staff to individual schools.

“The county has always given us more funding and staffing than the charters have stated, but we don’t always know when or if we’re going to get it, so we were trying to get to a point where that number is more stable,” Kindler said.

In addition to the charter itself, Kindler said CPCS and the School Board are drafting a memorandum of understanding regarding the duration of CPCS’ use of the school division’s space, as well as the amount of time the division would need to provide CPCS should their space become unavailable.

This summer, the charter middle school moved from Burley Middle School to Murray High School — co-locating with the second of Albemarle’s two charter schools.

Aislinn, a seventh grade CPCS student, supports the move, and said that because CPCS has their own wing of Murray, she feels like she’s in her own school.

“We’re not running into Burley students in the hallways between classes,” she said. “And I really like that the classrooms are all connected.”

Kindler described the move as positive and said its benefitting students and teachers.

“Because it’s contiguous space now, the teachers see each other through the course of the day,” Kindler said.