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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.

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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. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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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