Meeting on charter school

Shubham Pandey offered details Tuesday of the Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy’s plans to open in Greenville next year.

A new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) charter school plans to open in Greenville next year.

Close to 100 foreign exchange students will also eventually reside on the campus of the Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy (PTAA), which will be located at 8501 Jack Finney Boulevard and 308 Aerobic Lane, in buildings previously used by the Phoenix Charter School, which closed earlier this year.

“The closure of Phoenix Charter School ... created a huge void in this community, and there is no other option,” said the school’s Shubham Pandey, during a public information meeting Tuesday night at the National Guard Armory in Greenville.

The PTAA, doing business as the Meadow Oaks Foundation, will provide grades 6 and 7, starting in August 2016, with charter school enrollment beginning in January. Pandey said the plan is to add grades 8 and 9 in 2017, 10 and 11 in 2018 and grades 12 and K-5 in 2019.

The company is intending to open a private pre-school and K-5 campus in February.

But Pandey said the school has also applied for a waiver to open additional charter school grades next year.

“To see if we can be open for pre-K through the 5th grade in August 2016,” he said.

Pandey explained the STEM curriculum will emphasize instruction in Information Technology, Robotics and Computer Science.

The local campus will be expanded in three phases through 2020. Once the campus is completely built out and all grades are attending, 96 students from Brazil, China and India will be housed during the school year in dormitories to be constructed at the site. Pandey said it will give local students a chance to see how the rest of the world learns.

“Out students will have to compete with these peers 10 years from now,” he said.

The students in Greenville will also be taught Mandarin, Spanish and Latin.

“This will give our students a clear advantage over their peers,” Pandey said.

The company is also planning to add a campus in Mesquite next year, one in the Rockwall/Fate area in 2017, in Forney in 2018 and in North Dallas in 2019.

Pandey said the local campus will also feature a variety of extracurricular activities, with plans to build a gymnasium at the site of the current administration building.

“I do think we need an indoor kind of facility for out middle and high schools,” he said.

He promised additional details concerning plans for the school during a second meeting scheduled at the armory Jan. 19.

Texas A&M University-Commerce has also announced plans to build a STEM/charter school campus in Greenville, perhaps as early as next year.

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