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Help Wanted: Palm Coast’s New Charter School Is Moving In, Hiring and Enrolling

| July 20, 2012

They’re moving in at Global Outreach Charter Academy, in an out-of-the-way building at the Flagler County Airport that will provide vast grounds for students’ work and play. (© FlaglerLive)

Global Outreach Charter Academy not only has a home—and a spacious, inviting one in a world of its own at the Flagler County Airport—but it’s moving in, and it’s hiring: teachers, aides, office personnel, afterschool workers, lunchroom help. The K-8 school is looking for two dozen people or more, and possibly more than that depending on enrollment.

Friday afternoon, Kathy Stow, the school’s first principal, was even figuring out color schemes for the walls to replace the drabbish pale white covering the 19,000-square-foot building’s walls. It’ll be light blue at the entrance, and before long you should also be hearing the sound of classical music streaming in. “It’s very much like a private school atmosphere, tuition free,” Stow says. With uniforms for students and staff.

The school’s first-year capacity is 368. Global Outreach is taking student enrollment as well, in preparation for the first day of school, which will be Thursday, Aug. 16 (less than a month from now), the same day that traditional public schools resume. Stow and her growing staff will hold open enrollment and information sessions at 6 p.m. on July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 8 and Aug. 15. Family orientation is on Aug. 15.

All classes will be taught in English, but all students will be required to take Russian as a second language, and additional languages, such as Spanish and Chinese, may be offered afterschool, depending on demand. Whether enrollment is 100 or 368, the school is opening in a little more than three weeks, Stow said.

She’s fully aware of the checkered history of charter schools in Flagler County. Heritage Academy was just forced shut after its various incarnations operated in the county for less than a decade, and after two successive F grades from the state. Palm Harbor Academy, in just its third year, got an F this year. Imagine School at Town Center has been much healthier, in grades and enrollment, scoring an A this year, the same year it nearly doubled its enrollment. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run, and may be run as for-profit schools (as Imagine School is) or as non-profits (as Outreach Academy is).

Sergey Soroka, the founder of the school, with Kathy Stow. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“It really comes down to management, curriculum, high expectations for students. Those are really important factors,” Stow says, crediting the company backing Outreach for being particularly student-centered rather than profit-driven. As if to make the point, a quick walk-through the building yields an appearance by Sergey Soroka, the Ukraine-born founder (with his wife) of the school, whose rolled-up sleeves were no metaphor. He was helping to unload a rental truck full of student desks and other school furniture.

Global Outreach’s sister school in Jacksonville got a B this year. Its Palm Coast version will follow Florida’s Sunshine State Standards. It will be administering the usual standardized tests such as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). “We are held to all the same standards,” Stow says. But the school has more leeway with discipline and even the number of hours students are in class. At Palm Harbor, for example, students are expected to put in one hour a day more than their peers in traditional schools.

Global Outreach is at 1000 Aviation Drive in Palm Coast, at the end of a winding road that veers east from the entrance to the county airport. You’d think there’d be a lot of airplane noises. Within the building, there isn’t. The school is at the extreme eastern edge of the airport, and a fence company was on the grounds this afternoon beginning to prepare to build a long fence that will demarcate the school’s grounds from the tarmac. It will also create a huge space for the school for play areas. And an enormous hangar—the same hangar where the county staged its Feed Flagler food drive in the past two years—will be transformed into the school’s cafeteria and meeting hall.

Speaking of which: the food will be catered in, though the school is a participant in the national free and reduced lunch program.

For now Stow is working out of a makeshift office with just a lap top and a bottle of soda. It was only at the beginning of the month that Jacksonville-based Global Outreach, which specializes in foreign language education, signed a lease with Flagler County to take over the building, which had been sitting vacant and unused for most of the last three years. It’s an uncharacteristic location. But the building was designed for a school, its lay-out being almost all corridors and classrooms. And Global Outreach may take advantage of its location to develop an aviation club and possibly an aviation elective. Stow herself comes from a family seeped in aviation, including pilots and her own early career as a flight attendant.

Stow, a graduate of New Smyrna High School whose parents live in Palm Coast, plans to develop several enrichment programs during and after school, including music and sports, with a focus on hands-on relevance for students. “I really feel the kids need to be excited. I want to get away from the ‘here’s your assignment’ approach,’” she says,  nevertheless stressing that homework will be expected of students.

Until January last year Stow, who’s just short of a dissertation for her doctorate in education leadership, was the principal at Woodmont Charter School in Hillsborough County, a position she left in January. She has three young children (ages 4, 6 and 8), the oldest two of whom will be attending Outreach Academy.

Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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41 Responses for “Help Wanted: Palm Coast’s New Charter School Is Moving In, Hiring and Enrolling”

  1. Jim says:

    Considering the push for vouchers for schools, does that mean I can open my own Muslim school right here in Flagler County?

  2. question says:

    Wishing you all the best Global Outreach Charter Academy!

  3. BeachGuy says:

    Russian required as a second language? That’s dumb.

  4. Devrie says:

    BeachGuy, have you noticed how many Russians live in the local area? Learning Russian might not be that dumb after all.

    • jo jo says:

      Beach guy is not so dumb. What happens when the children leave Palm Coast. They will more than likely not use Russian again. You should never require someone to learn a language that will probably not be helpful to them.

  5. BeachGuy says:

    Devrie, I’m sorry if you feel your child has to learn Russian to be able to communicate with the Russians that live in Palm Coast, FL…….Russians who must not know how to speak English. I would NEVER send my child there to learn Russian, AS A REQUIREMENT!!! What type of local industry makes knowing Russian essential, buying a home? There are many realtors in Palm Coast who speak my language, so I don’t feel like I know how to speak Russian to get by in this town (and I can’t think of any other jobs in Palm Coast). What about making it a requirement that they speak English as a first language? So to answer your question, yes, I have noticed how many Russians live in the local area. BUT, to attend a school that REQUIRES you to speak their language is dumb, unless you are Russian. Dumb.

  6. NortonSmitty says:

    Me,Natasha, Moose and Squirrel agree.

  7. BeachGuy says:

    PS…no wonder they are still hiring and enrolling.

  8. John says:

    This is the USA not Moscow. We speak English here. In Moscow if you dont speak Russian then your out of luck.

    • some guy says:

      I think many of the posters should re-read this whole story.–All classes will be taught in English, but all students will be required to take Russian as a second language, and additional languages, such as Spanish and Chinese, may be offered afterschool,— no one is making anyone send their kids to this school and ALL CLASSES WILL BE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.

  9. Meh says:

    What a joke …

    I’m so sick of charter schools popping up overnight… They all discriminate public schools and then, almost out of some kind of reverse-spite… Have the nerve to achieve failing test scores….

    I’m shocked this isn’t set up in a strip mall near a pet store or something.

  10. palmcoaster says:

    God forbid would have been a Spanish speaking school instead of Russian. All bigots would be up in arms.

  11. GoodFella says:

    Another reason to homeschool!

  12. BeachGuy says:

    PalmCoaster, agreed. It would make much more sense. At my high school, Spanish, French, and Latin were electives, not REQUIREMENTS. Keep in mind, people don’t have to go to this school. If, however, parents feel like their child MUST learn Russian, then I suppose it would make sense for them to send them there. Can’t think of one single Russian word. GoodFella, also agreed!

  13. BeachGuy says:

    What is the true motive here? Is it so Russian families can send their non-Russian speaking children to school to learn their language? I just don’t see this being successful.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    @ John. You have to thank this Russian language school to the GOP “privatize all agenda” for the benefit of the wealthy and the mighty private corporations. Anyone wanting their children to learn foreign languages before their high school years should pay their own private schools. Foreign languages should continuo to be an elective only in HS and please have common sense choices of languages needed and used only in our western business world, like English, French, Spanish, German, Italian. Do not choose like something Mandarin.

    • Gram says:

      This is so naive it makes me giggle! The world is no longer divided into East and West as far as business goes, surely you can understand that? Move around your home very slowly and examine each object and article of clothing – what countries produce the things you buy?

  15. question says:

    FL…don’t know how 1st post of this got so messed up. Please disregard 1st post of this…below is CORRECTED post. Sorry & thank you.

    Wow, it was REALLY hard to find out WHY STUDY FOREIGN LANGUAGES [like Russian or Chinese]-see link below.

    “Why study foreign languages (like Russian or Chinese)?

    Russian and Mandarin Chinese are two of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, with a total of 25% of the world’s population speaking either Russian or Chinese fluently.
    In our current age of increasing globalization, the advanced economies of Europe and East Asia have become effectively bilingual, using English alongside native languages on a daily basis. In the United States, however, foreign language education has experienced a steep decline within recent years. GOCA’s mission is to help reverse that decline, and to produce literate, multilingual and multicultural citizens for a more globalized future.

    The world of the twenty-first century–the world of immediately subsequent generations–will not be an English-only world, but an advanced, multilingual, global society. While the majority of global citizens will still be monolingual, it is the multilingual speaker who will be at an advantage, with many more times the options and opportunities of his or her monolingual counterpart.”

    Not need to denigrate anyone’s language. Palm Coast is a small town, should not think so small. Should appreciate the opportunity to join a global community via either Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish & Portuguese. It is just a choice being made available to our little dumplings.

  16. Dadgum says:

    So, this being a Charter school makes it a public school. Does that mean Flagler County supports and funds it? Why are these Charter schools failing then? What is the purpose?

  17. JohnnyTaxpayer says:

    Once again I am amazed at the comments on here. Learning Russian, or any other language is not the end objective of this school. It is the process of learning a foreign language, any foreign language, that teaches skills that are proven to better prepare and deliver better academic results in other, core subjects. I think it is an outstanding idea, and a great example of how charter schools can experiment with curriculum and delivery as a means to offering a better education. It’s certainly not for every student, nor is it intended to be, but many students will find this approach extremely beneficial. And after all, charter schools are about choice!

  18. Anonymous says:

    The founder of the school is from Ukraine and they speak Russian there. That’s why she’s making it a requirement to speak Russian. This isn’t the Ukraine or Russia. Everybody in America should be required to learn English.

  19. Lex says:

    The founder of the school is from Ukraine. And most people there speak Russian. That’s why she’s making it a requireent to learn that language. And those kids are probably never going to need to use that language anywhere. Stupid idea!

  20. H M Petishnok says:

    I am amazed at the idiocy of people who think learning a second language is ‘dumb’. Perhaps that is just one reason why this country is so behind others. Most children in many countries that are doing better than ours economically have children take TWO languages from the time they start school, usually their own and English. Children can absorb a second language much easier than adults can and so it makes sense to start them early on the road to being bilingual or multilingual. It really doesn’t matter WHAT second language they study, just that they do. How many of our high school students studying Italian or French or sign language ( which counts for the foreign language requirement) will ever use those either??? Truthfully, educated people study at least one other language other than their own native tongue. That is the problem with too many ‘Americans’ –they don’t want to study anyone else’s language or culture, and that is sad.

  21. BeachGuy says:

    I never said learning a second language is dumb. I said, and I quote: “Russian required as a second language? That’s dumb.” Who’s the idiot now?

  22. question says:

    still smiling over “H M Petishnok’

    Made a great point very succinctly. American kids have a wealth of education opportunities…and so often just can’t be bothered. Doesn’t help having parents calling such opportunities ‘dumb.’
    Kids whose families fought their way to be here are often first in line to learn and aspire to higher education, success. Ones culture is a great predictor of attitude and success. Ask college admissions officers.

  23. dave says:

    I have talked with several parent’s of the last charter school that just had it’s door’s closed due to poor teaching and for the most of them they now regret wasting their kids life’s away by making the bad decision of placing their kid’s in that school, now a lot of their kids are behind a grade or two and will find it very hard to survive in the public system, as if this isn’t bad enough by the looks of it there will soon be yet another charter school closing its doors if they do not make a major turn around, I have heard it said that for most of the students of the last charter school to fail it was only because the kids that went there were the outcasts of the public system and could not make it , I really hope that parents wake up and get their kids back on track and spend the time with their kids after school helping them in the areas they need it instead of placing their kid’s failure on the school system , It’s time for parent step UP with your kid’s no matter which school system you choose to place your children in and help them to achieve the highest education in life as possible for them.

  24. Dadgum says:

    Why fund these schools if there is no oversight and they keep failing. I don’t get it? Why aren’t we all flocking or starting Charter schools?

    • Johnny Taxpayer says:

      Charter schools don’t “keep failing”… some fail, a great many across the state and the nation have proven to be very successful.

  25. Jessica says:

    I have a 7 year old daughter that has been bullied by students and teachers and like always no one cares so I had to make changes and place her in a charter school were the teacher showed no effort in her progress. Now I am placing her in a privet school hoping for her to receive a good education and respect. That is what the county should focus on with these schools and stop changing things around we live in the US English should be the first language in every school every other language should be a choice.

    • jmc says:

      I too have a 9 year old going into 3rd grade who is bullied and pushed aside all the time… is it worth checking out this charter school, learning a second lan. is not a problem, it always helps, especially if they go learn a 3rd or 4th later in life, it comes much easier. I wish I could put my child in a private catholic school, but being a single mom, I can bearly make ends meet, but I will do whatever I can to try to improve my childs life and education, It is one of the most important things that my child learns to love to learn, and the people around him has the same vakues. . Thus any school can be a sucess if everyone wants to be the best that they can, and do the best possible…. I am get not sure what is the best way to do it here in palm coast….. any ideas??? Thanks

  26. BeachGuy says:

    Hope that principal speaks Russian.

  27. MH says:

    BeachGuy, you gave no positive feedback at all. You immediately began criticizing this school from an article that took you 3 minutes to read. It’s people like you that think they know everything about education and make my job as a teacher so difficult. Everything is the same. Students learn English and can take another foreign language. Obviously this model isn’t perfect when you got charter schools closing, kids still flunking out of high school and ignorant citizens like you who are flipping out over a small detail in how this school will be run. They’re gonna take the FCAT and learn traditional frikken material, but they get to learn Russian- your student will now know a second or third language. Wow, let’s fight them learning something new! BeachGuy please do your research before you form a rediculous, incorrect opinion. Thanks.

  28. Proserpine says:

    I don’t like charter schools but I do like that they are making it a requirement to learn a second language. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Russian but I think thats a plus. Most countries around the world require their students to learn a second language, why shouldn’t all of the US do the same? If you want to stay competive that is what you do. We do not live in a bubble anymore as hard as we try. Yes, most people who take a second language, any language do not use it on a daily basis. I do not use Russian that often but does that mean no one should take any language at all? That makes no sense to me.

    My public high school required everyone to take at least 2 years of a language. We had a choice between Spanish, French, Russian, Latin and Chinese(which was newly added my freshman year replacing German). I took 4 years of Russian and 2 of Latin. A majority of the students took Spanish or French but I always have to do what others are not. I wanted to be the first of my immediate family to go to college. My parents wondered why Russian but were supportive. I’m Italian and Scottish. I got to visit Russia my senior year for 2 weeks and it was a life changing experience. Complete culture shock but enriching. Everyone should try to go to a foreign country once.

    I felt taking Russian enabled me to get into one of the best colleges in the country. The admissions interviewer kept going back to why I learned Russian and my experience there. This school was a real reach because my grades were good but my SAT’s were horrible. I know my parents and I couldn’t afford it but I ended up getting in on a full scholarship and majored in both Chemistry and US History. After graduating I had an opportunity to work in a US lab with scientists from around the world and Russian would of been very useful but I decided to become a HS chemistry teacher.

    I still keep in touch with a Russian friend from college. I write and talk to them in Russian sometimes and also read articles and books. I had a student last year who move here from Russia and I was able to speak to his parents in Russian. His parents’ English was not that good and they were shocked and happy that I could speak Russian relatively well. I still remember the look on his mom’s face at the first parent/teacher conference, priceless. I would help them with their English and they would help me with my Russian.

    I am currently trying to teach myself Norwegian for 2 reasons. First, I like to challenge myself. Secondly, Norway was one of my favorite pavillions at Epcot growing up. Hopefully one day I’ll get to visit and try to visit Norway. If not at least I can try my Norwegian at Epcot. I’ve been there with friends who have done that at the French pavillion and its a lot of fun.

  29. question says:

    Isn’t it ironic, actually more sad, that one has to highlight the value of broadening your horizon via learning another language or two. Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste. Not a stellar component on our list of “American Exceptionalisms.”

    Interesting study:
    Status of second language study in the USA

    The Benefits of Second Language…/BenefitsofSecondLanguage.pdfShare
    The U.S. education system has, in recent years, placed little … Students learning a second language in elementary school surpassed those who …. than half of their students study foreign languages, compared with 51 percent of students in …

    • “A pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages threatens the security of the United States as well as its ability to compete in the global marketplace and produce an informed citizenry. The U.S. education system has, in recent years, placed little value on speaking languages other than English or on understanding cultures other than one’s own.”

  30. BeachGuy says:

    MH, who says I have to give positive feedback? Not everyone agrees with you.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Whats the big deal if one chooses to send their kid to a school that will teach another language as a requierment in that school. The school still does ALL its other classes in English. Also funding for kids education should follow what ever school their parents send them to not just Government ones.

  32. BeachGuy says:

    By making the Russian language a requirement, you are limiting yourself to students who WANT to learn Russian, or to the parents who WANT their child to learn Russian. Why not make a foreign language a requirement, and give Palm Coast families some options? Not sure if many students would actually CHOOSE Russian as a second language, so my guess would be that the school will be filled (or partially filled) with the children of Russian speaking families. How would that benefit the remaining Palm Coast families? I may consider opening a charter school myself, and I will make it a requirement that all of the students (or whoever shows up) learn how to surf, for surfing teaches dedication, perseverance, respect, skills, balance, strength and coordination – all of which are skills that could be applied to the ‘real world.’ Russian…..not so much.

    • Anonymous says:


      Learning a foreign launguage is not only about the language but how your learning experience widens and by learning a language other than your native one lets you experience the culture of other peoples. Learning a foreign language for me helped me find new ways to study and learn new ideas. Now at my job my employer was very impressed that I know three languages English, Spanish, and Russian. Learning any foreign language is a great boost to your career. I am amazed at anyone who would find it a dumb idea.

  33. BeachGuy says:

    Anonymous, I think offering a foreign language is a GREAT idea. I think learning a foreign language is a BETTER idea. However, I think making Russian a REQUIREMENT (for K-8 especially) is a DUMB idea.

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