New tuition-free public charter school coming to Plano

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A new tuition-free public charter school is expected to open in Plano for the 2017-18 school year. Doral Academy Inc., will open its first North Texas academy at 5301 Democracy Drive, Plano.

The new academy, called Doral Academy Lone Star, will initially begin serving students in kindergarten through second grade, said Carlos Ferralls, head of schools for Doral Academy Inc. and principal at Doral Academy Preparatory Middle School in Florida.

Classes will begin on Aug. 21, 2017, and follow the traditional school calendar.

Because the academy is tuition-free, applicants must go through a lottery process. Applications for the Plano location are not yet available; however, an open house will take place on April 27 for guests to register students on the spot. An electronic application will be available by April 21.

In two or three years, the academy expects to serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade, but the rate and speed of growth will depend on what the community needs, Ferralls said.

Ferralls said he expects the academy to teach 120 students during the 2017-18 school year. When Doral Academy Lone Star serves grades expands to serve students through sixth grade that number will is expected to increase to 305 students.

The academy will teach standard courses including math, science and reading. The Plano location will also teach Spanish and add a variety of language classes on an as-needed basis catered to the community.

“The idea here is to get kids to college,” he said.

From the first day students walk through the academy’s doors, to their last day, college is front of mind, he said. Students will start visiting colleges as early as sixth grade.

The academy also uses a program called Family Connection, which allows students to select their dream college and create a path or guide on how to get there, Ferralls said.

“We make sure we cater to the students and their needs,” he said.

Doral Academy Lone Star is in the process of hiring a principal, five to six teachers, some support staff and necessary books and supplies.

At the end of the 2017-18 school year, Ferralls said the academy will begin looking at space for a middle and high school.

Doral Academy Inc. has schools across the United States, including six in Florida, five in Nevada and one in Colorado.

Doral Academy Inc.’s mission is to “create a high quality K-12 educational learning community where stakeholders are:

  • Dedicated to promoting an exceptional educational experience with an
  • Obligation to ensure that our students engage in
  • Rigorous learning opportunities that will help them strive for
  • Academic achievement and a desire to be
  • Lifelong learners and successful leaders in their professional careers,” according to its website.

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Cassidy Ritter

Cassidy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a degree in Journalism and a double minor in business and global studies. She has worked as a reporter and editor for publications in Kansas, Colorado and Australia. She was hired as senior reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano edition in August 2016. Less than a year later, she took the role of editor for the McKinney edition.

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