Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) first authorized Honey Creek Community School of Ann Arbor in 1995. From the beginning, WISD was attracted to charters’ increased flexibility to provide innovative models for learning. Naomi Norman, executive director of achievement initiatives at WISD, says they were unwilling to compromise on high standards for this increased flexibility. “WISD was able to set really high standards for any school that we would consider authorizing,” Norman told ETM. “We wouldn’t even consider authorizing a school unless it met a really high bar.”

After receiving countless proposals for potential new schools, only one school, Honey Creek, has met the authorizer’s high bar for opening in the past twenty years. Norman said that the school was “started by parents,” some of whom were “former teachers or early childhood educators, so they knew how to manage money and run programs.” In addition, Norman said that, when the school started, it was using “all of the best practices they knew of at the time: multiage classrooms, lots of project-based learning, huge curriculum fair and the teachers looped with the kids for three years.”

Al Waters, Director, Honey Creek Community School, Ann Arbor, MI