The Medford charter school that faced hurdle after hurdle is now up and running and officials say they're committed to operating under a bit of a different model.
Class at Vibes Charter School started on Monday. That's a week earlier than other schools in the Medford School District.
150 First, Second and Third Graders Start Class
For 3rd grader and aspiring dentist, Tawan Buranathamawat, it's the first day of school and she's doing a lot of learning.
"I've learned about math and other stuff. I've had lots of reading," said Tawan.
"I'm learning about cool things [...] like people who are helping and people who are responsible," said 2nd grader Daniel Acevedo.
The new school inside Kids Unlimited on Riverside in Medford is open following hurdles, going back and forth with the Medford School District.
"We're excited, proud and just eager to keep moving forward," said Tom Cole, Executive Director of Kids Unlimited.
Almost 150 1st through 3rd graders filled the halls at Kids Unlimited's Vibes Charter School.
And just like many classrooms at any other school...
"This is Yoshi, he's our class bunny," said 2nd grader Anabell Delgado as she showed off the black and white fur ball.
Learning Under a Different Model
However, there are differences between Vibes and other schools.
"The difference is it's a program that's committed to a longer school year," said Cole.
The school day at Vibes is a longer one as well. It starts at 7:30 in the morning and ends at 5:30 in the evening. Cole said altogether, it is equivalent to about a third longer school year as compared to traditional schools.
But the length of the day and school year isn't the only thing that the school is doing differently. Kids are also getting three meals a day.
"Breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack program [...] And we've kept our classroom size at a maximum of 25 kids," said Cole.
In the afternoons, Cole said kids will be able to access the arts, music, theater, dance, culinary arts, sports.
The idea is to create an enriching, fun and challenging environment that reinforces skills like reading and math. It's especially important in Medford where Cole said over 50% of the kids attending school are in poverty.
"Our primary goal is to connect families," said Cole.
"It's about a relationship.
He said while the school was designed to be sensitive to the poverty rates in the area, Vibes is attracting people from all groups.
"We have a population here that represents all 15 schools in our district as well as private schools," said Cole about the make-up of his charter school.
Meanwhile, future dentist Tawan says she's prepared to succeed.
"My mom says that dentists have to learn really much."
How Much Does it Cost?
It is free to attend school at Vibes. According to Cole, the charter school gets government dollars for each student that attends. The school keeps 80% and 20% goes to the Medford School District. However, in addition, Cole said he'll also be fundraising and applying for grant money.
Spots are Still Available
As of Monday morning, there were only 15-spots still available for 3rd grade. However, there's already a waiting list for 2nd grade.
If you're interested in enrolling your child, visit Kids Unlimited at 821 N. Riverside Avenue in Medford to fill out paperwork. The phone number for Kids Unlimited and Vibes Charter School is 541-774-3900.