Smith, listed as acting principal on One World School’s Web site, said he has been working on the project for years. The proposed charter school would focus on offering an international secondary school degree using best practices from around the world, Smith said. The goal of Smith and the One World’s School’s board of trustees is to open the school next fall.
One World School is a registered non-profit organization established under the California Charter Schools Act. Legally, if either the district or the Santa Clara County Office of Education approves the charter, the MVLA high school district must provide “reasonably equivalent” space for the school.
According to Smith, eventually and optimally, One World School would be located on the NASA-Ames site in Mountain View, but he and the board are willing to begin in temporary quarters and grow into a permanent location.
“We are interested in raising the money and getting our own space,” he said.
Smith said he hopes to serve all students in Silicon Valley, but the appropriate procedure is to start at the local district level to secure approval of the charter proposal. He said the school isn’t necessarily tied down to this district. If another area were interested and had an ideal facility for the school, then the board would consider taking its proposal there.
Generating support from local families is essential to the success of the proposal process, and if necessary, the board would delay the opening an additional year, Smith said.
Smith has met with potential donors in the Bay Area and is scheduled to consult with interested donors in Los Altos this week. He has received interest from local parents of children currently enrolled in the German-American International School, located in Menlo Park.
Addressing the increase in students projected for the local high schools in the next few years, the charter school could help spread the students among programs, Smith said.
“The goal in the long run is we are looking at some sort of partnership with the high school board, local philanthropy and educators,” he said. “Charter schools are well founded – we don’t want contention if we can avoid it.”
The school is unique because its curriculum follows the international model, Smith said. The math and science programs are based on curricula taught in Singapore. Each student is expected to study a language (French, Chinese or Spanish) for four years and become proficient enough to take at least one upper-level class taught solely in that language.
In addition to small class sizes, a 15-to-1 student to teacher ratio, the school will feature single-gender learning for the first two years.
Smith has been an educator for approximately 20 years, with experience in public schools, higher education and secondary education in the United States and abroad.
For more information, visit www.oneworldschool.us.