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Lincoln Academy CEO Kristi Cole hands a shirt to Avia Randle, 4, while Avia’s mother, Cierra Nelson, looks on. Nelson and Avia took a tour of the Beloit public charter school on Thursday. Construction of the school is 98% complete, and the building is on track to open for classes Sept. 1.

BELOIT

Parents toured the Lincoln Academy on Tuesday and Thursday as the school reached 98% completion this week.

The first day of school is planned Sept. 1, and CEO Kristi Cole said construction crews are applying the finishing touches on the building and awaiting a few items to arrive such as student lockers.

“What’s so exciting is that our school has a diverse group of families that truly represent the Beloit community, and it’s exciting to be part of a new opportunity for them,” Cole said.

The Lincoln Academy, 608 Henry Ave., is a new 4-year-old kindergarten to grade 12 school. The charter school is a public school, not a private voucher school. The school is authorized through the UW System, not the Beloit School District. Tuition is free to families, and enrollment is open to any Wisconsin student. As a public school, it will be funded by taxpayer dollars but may also receive private donations and grant funds.

On Thursday, parents had lots of questions for staff and were curious to see the school’s offerings as they began their tours.

Cierra Nelson brought her 4-year-old daughter Avia Randle to see her new school.

“We wanted a fresh start here,” Nelson said. “The program here sounds amazing, and I wanted her to be somewhere where she would get the help she needed. This school is beautiful.”

As of Thursday, 405 students were enrolled. Cole said 4-year-old kindergarten and ninth grade have the most students enrolled and that there are a few openings left in first and second grades. Parents who might be interested in sending their kids are encouraged to get their name on a waiting list in case seats become available now or later in the school year.

Cole said the academy has received a three-year probationary approval by the WIAA and will be offering cross country, volleyball, golf, track and field, softball, baseball, basketball, and wrestling with an option to add other sports in the future. School officials are working on partnerships with the Stateline Family YMCA and Beloit Boys & Girls Club for before- and after-school care and other extracurricular activities.

Cole said 99% of school staff has been hired. Employees, like the students, will be wearing uniforms consisting of black shoes and bottoms with polos and other embroidered shirts. Students will wear colors based on their grade level.

The exploration of college and career pathways will begin in 4-year-old kindergarten. Academic pathways offered include bioscience, business/technology media, engineering, medicine/health care and trades.

Students will participate in goal setting that will lead them to a self-selected career path as they create individualized learning plans. In middle school, scholars will begin exploratory classes and continue exploration in high school with service learning, job shadowing, internships and youth apprenticeships. Advanced Placement courses will be offered in high school so students can gain college credits while still at the school.

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