Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, the Charyl Stockwell Academy (CSA) District is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Michigan Public School Academy. It is one of Michigan’s oldest public academies, and has continued its pioneering role throughout its 20-year history.
With the special theme of “Celebrating Innovation, Choice and Character,” activities throughout the year are planned for students, staff, families, stakeholders and special guests.
The CSA District also is receiving a special legislative tribute this year, sponsored by state Reps. Hank Vaupel and Lana Theis.
“We are proud to have Charyl Stockwell Academy in our district,” said Vaupel. “It has proven to be an excellent educational option for the students and parents in our community,” Vaupel said.
Established in 1996 in Hartland, the Charyl Stockwell Academy has been a prototype for school choice. The school has grown into the K-12 Charyl Stockwell Academy District, which includes its middle and high school campus, the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy (CSPA), in Brighton.
“We are very proud of the support of our parents and teachers who are responsible for this significant accomplishment, this milestone,” said Chuck Stockwell, Founder of CSA.
“Twenty years of dedicated CSA stakeholders have worked together to create and arrive at educational excellence,” said Shelley Stockwell, who serves as CSA District executive director. “I feel so privileged to have been a part of this wonderful journey, and I look forward to continued achievement and success”.
Public academies, often referred to as “charter schools,” debuted and flourished in Michigan during Gov. John Engler’s administration in the 1990s. Today, 155,000 students are attending 300 public school academies in Michigan.
Achievement thus far has been impressive. Some examples include:
• CSA and CSPA students consistently post top-performing student test scores.
• CSA has been the recipient of multi-year, $1 million dollar grant to develop a unique character education program, and another multi-year grant to disseminate and research the program.
• The CSA District offers an Academically Gifted (AG) program.
• The district has a full array of sports teams and now is part of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Class D.
• The CSA District offers a comprehensive performing arts program.
• The district has a high-performing, award-winning FIRST Robotics team.
• CSPA graduates now attend Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, Hope College, Notre Dame, Baylor, Laurence Tech, Kettering, California Cal Poly, Georgia Tech, West Point, among other schools and institutions.
But for all of its achievements, CSA District remains a “family,” says CSPA Principal Steven Beyer, which is why the anniversary celebration began with a family picnic in August.
“This picnic launching our 20th anniversary celebration was a true family event,” Beyer said. “Our staff loves CSA because engrained in our culture is family. So it made sense that our first event celebrating our 20 years was to bring our staff and their families together.”
After receiving its Charter Contract from Central Michigan University, the school opened its doors to 296 elementary school students and 14 teachers for the first time on Sept. 11, 1996. Today, it serves more than 1,000 K-12 students and employs 103 staff, including 50 teachers, on its two campuses.
Originally named the Livingston Developmental Academy, the school in the fall of 2001 was renamed the Charyl Stockwell Academy in honor of the Stockwells’ daughter, who attended and graduated from the school shortly before losing a long battle with brain cancer. The Board of Directors recommended the name change because of Charyl’s inspiration and enthusiastic advocacy for the academy.
From the beginning, the school’s curriculum has focused on the “whole child,” addressing character as well as education. CSA District’s mission statement sums up this philosophy:
The overall mission of the Charyl Stockwell Academy is to provide a safe, enriching place for children to grow through adolescence, while providing those children with specific leaning activities that will allow each of them to meet and exceed the academic standards set by the state and federal governments.
Yearly themes reflect this mission. A few examples are: “Know Yourself, Like Yourself, Be Yourself;” “The Path To Happiness Is Getting Along With Others;” “Care Gives Us Courage; Love Lets Us Learn.”