Galapagos Rockford Charter School Progress

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The future of two Rockford charter schools is up for debate, District 205 is in the process of deciding whether their applications should be renewed. And Galapagos Rockford Charter School has seen a lot of growth over the last five years.

More than 300 scholars in kindergarten through seventh grade attend Galapagos. It's a big jump from the 90 kids who started at the school in 2009, and the goal is to continue to expand.

"We're looking to grow to 8th grade and then eventually we've even requested to grow into a high school," said Galapagos co-founder and CEO, Michael Lane.

The numbers are also on the rise academically. Over the last two years, Galapagos has seen more growth on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test than any other school in the Rock River Valley.

Lane said, "When you look at where our overall performance was five years ago, versus where we are now, we've grown leaps and bounds."

Hope Washington is one scholar who has experienced that growth. This is her fourth year at Galapagos.

She said, "We take many tests to prepare for the ISAT, that's really helpful."

The school is also helping kids prepare for the future by emphasizing the importance of college.

Washington said, "Last year I went to Northwestern and it was so fun and now I actually know what I'm going to do when I get older," (something in the medical science field, in case you're wondering).

School leaders say the charter is helping kids realize those dreams.
"We don't focus always on the end result, we focus on how we're going to get there and how to work as an organization, as a team," said Rebecca Denzer, director of academics at Galapagos.

Legacy Academy of Excellence is also up for renewal. The district will hold a community forum where parents can comment on the charter schools, on March 18th. The board is expected to make its decision no later than April 8th.

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