York City students need a chance to be healthy mentally and physically.

That's the rationale behind the proposed Championship Academy of Distinction, whose team gave a presentation to the York City School Board on Monday.

It's the second go-round for Championship, which had its first attempt shot down last spring. This is a new charter submission that took in all the advice and comments of York City's attorney, Allison Peterson, to craft a better, more thorough application, said Championship founder Cynthia Dotson, 48.

Her vision is to bring a health and fitness-themed K-8 charter school to York that would be based at the YWCA, as she is worried students are getting overweight and apathetic.

"My goal is to help so that our program here, Championship Academy, can be a beacon of light," said Dotson, a York City resident and former Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Academy administrator.

Former and current professional athletes, such as York City native Will Beatty of the New York Giants, would visit students. School officials added that the YWCA's facilities lend themselves to the school's mission, too, and have ample classroom space.

There'd also be a wellness component, with a garden and orchard used to teach science, healthy eating, and more.

It's a revamped approach for Dotson, whose previous submission called for a joint charter with West York School District and the use of renovated church spaces.


"It was a learning experience. I had to go home and really evaluate," the failed application, Dotson said. "I really took Attorney Peterson's comments very seriously."

Dotson and her team of consultants said the school would follow state standards to help keep up with testing rigors, with hundreds of pages of documents detailing exactly how they'd teach students - much more detail than was provided in the first attempt.

And the classroom model would be different from what most schools offer, said consultant Gus Prats, with a focus on what's learned and not curriculum objectives.

"It's not what I'm to teach as a teacher, but what I'm going to learn as a student," he said.

The board will need to make a decision by Feb. 23. School officials said they expect to enroll up to 120 K-3 students in the first year next August, if the charter is approved.

The board is evaluating the application based on state charter school law, which requires the board to consider the application's uniqueness as compared to what York City already offers, whether it includes proper facilities and staff, and would follow state academic standards, among other standards.

The cost to the district - York City would end up paying tuition for any student who attends - is not part of the consideration under charter law.

- Reach Andrew Shaw at ashaw@yorkdispatch.com.