With families of hopeful Polaris Tech Charter School students watching, school leaders conducted an open, public lottery Tuesday night to determine which student applicants would be offered enrollment at the new, free, state charter school in Ridgeland.
The random, computerized lottery selected applicants for grades 6, 7 and 8 because more students applied in those grades than there are available seats. Applicants for the ninth and tenth grades were below the threshold required for a lottery, so all those applicants were offered enrollment.
About 60 adults and students attended the event, watching and waiting for grade-by-grade results.
“It is both exciting and very humbling that we had so many families apply to Polaris Tech,” said Dr. William Singleton, a former superintendent of Jasper County School District, Jasper native, and a founding member of member of Polaris Tech.
“The lottery went smoothly and we encourage people who are on the Wait List to stay patient because some families who are offered enrollment may make other plans, opening up space,” he said.
The school expects to open in mid-August with approximately 280 students in grades 6-10. The school will add 11th grade in 2019 and 12th grade in 2020. Polaris Tech will focus on preparing young people for successful work and college.
The Polaris Tech academic emphasis will be on six career areas: Aerospace, Health Science, Information Technology, Logistics, Advanced Manufacturing, and Business Management. Polaris Tech expects to enroll about 280 students in grades 6-10 for the school year starting in August. 2
The school is being built on land across from the Ridgeland Airport and will open to students in August 2018. The concrete foundation was poured in mid-March and the steel supports began rising from the site this week.
State charter school law allows Polaris Tech to set aside up to 20 percent of the available seats --56 seats in grades 6-10 at 280 enrollment -- for children of charter committee members (which include Founding Families who contributed time and effort to recruit applicants) and Polaris Tech employees. Siblings of applicants also received preference in the lottery.
The lottery was run by a computer program called SchoolMint. It randomly selected students by grade level. Once the available seats in a particular grade were filled, remaining students were placed on the Wait List, in the order drawn by the computer. The computer then moved to the next grade and performed the same pattern.
Families of children accepted into Polaris Tech will receive an email no later than Friday, April 6, with instructions how to proceed with enrollment. Families must accept or decline the enrollment offer by April 20 or the offer will be revoked. Once enrolled, additional forms need to be completed by May 6, and Polaris Tech leaders will help with that process.
Dr. Melissa Crosby is executive director of Polaris Tech. Most recently she has been principal at Colleton County High School and Cougar New Tech, a school-within-a school that provides a teaching and learning approach similar to Polaris Tech’s model.
To keep updated about Polaris Tech Charter School, follow them on Facebook and at www.polaristech.org. For specific questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-645-0605.