Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Charter School Plans to Open in Phelps

Will accept Wayne County students from Newark, Lyons, and Palmyra

An exciting local educational initiative in planned, that will bring the Classical Charter School of the Finger Lakes to our area in the Fall of 2015, through a partnership with Hillsdale College.

According to former teacher and founding member of Classical Charter School of the Finger Lakes, Donna Bennett,  an application will be submitted to the SUNY Trustees to open this tuition-free public charter school, with its intended location in the Phelps/Clifton Springs area. Initially, they plan to operate as a K-6,  adding on grades each year, with intentions of becoming a full K-12 school in 2020.

A public forum in planned for late March to discuss all the details.

“Our founders group will be actively soliciting comments at the meeting as well as through email now or anytime throughout the process at,” said Bennett.

The Classical Charter School of the Finger Lake’s mission is to furnish every child with a broad, classical and academically rigorous education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.

The target populations they will be looking at for their enrollment base are in the following eight school districts: Phelps/Clifton Springs, Canandaigua, Geneva, Lyons, Shortsville/Manchester, Newark, Palmyra, and Marcus Whitman.

These are the districts with students living within the 15 mile bussing radius. The proposed location is uniquely situated to connect these Finger Lakes communities with this versatile educational program.

Bennet acknowledged that the projected enrollment of students for the first year of K-6 operation is one-two classes for each grade or 280-350 students (7 grades x 2 classes/grade x 20-25 students/class). In the fifth year of operation, after adding the additional grades to become a K-12, we project enrollment to be 520-650 (13 x 2 classes/grade x 20-25 students/class).  These numbers reflect the full two classes per grade enrollment.

“Our academic program is based on a classical liberal arts, mathematics and science model with a strong civics component. Some key components of the curriculum are: Phonics based reading instruction,  Classic literature, texts and stories,  and Latin study.

This is a public school, and is not a tuition-based education. It is a choice or option for public education, other than the standard public schools in existence now.

Bennet explained that the charter school does have to follow New York State outcomes, but we may reach those outcomes in different curriculum. Ours is based on the Hillsdale college curriculum.”

Through a defined traditional, classical curriculum students are prepared to become active, responsible members of their community. Their belief is that children savor, embrace, and thrive through challenge.

“A tuition-free public school option in our area with a traditional, broad-based classical curriculum is a win/win for our communities” stated Bennett.

“We plan on  ongoing correspondence with the public about this charter school initiative, so even if you cannot personally attend the March forum, we urge you to submit your questions and/or comments to us by emailing or by calling (585) 298-0116 at any time.

To learn more about the Hillsdale College partnering organization, please click here: .