Tamu Green, founder of SR1 (Scientific Research) Credit: LinkedIn

A new charter school will be opening its doors in Canton in the 2022-2023 school year.

The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board last week approved SR1’s application to open the SR1 College Preparatory and STEM Academy. The school will serve kindergarten and first grade in its opening year, then expand each year after to serve kindergarten through fifth grade. The school would serve 450 students once expansion is complete.

SR1 (Scientific Research) was founded by Tamu Green in 2005 and collaborates with public and private partners to decrease disparities in Mississippi, specifically among minorities. The group applied to open a school in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was denied, but has since worked with the board to address deficiencies.

The board also denied an application by Voices for Education to open a school in the North Bolivar Consolidated School District.

The board followed the recommendations of School Works, an educational consulting group out of Massachusetts hired to evaluate the applications.

Charters are public schools that do not charge tuition, and are held to the same academic and accountability standards as traditional public schools. By law, charter schools have the capacity for more flexibility for teachers and administrators when it comes to student instruction. Unlike traditional public schools, charters do not have school boards or operate under a local school district, although they are funded by school districts based on their enrollment.

Charter schools can apply directly to the authorizer board if they’re planning to open in a D or F district. If an operator wants to open in an A, B, or C district, they need to get approval from the local school board.

Each year the authorizer board goes through a months-long process to screen potential operators and grant them the authority to open a school in Mississippi. This year the timeline for the 2020 application cycle has been slightly pushed back because of the pandemic.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.