Liberty Charter High School Finds New Home at Palm Middle School

Charter school moves from La Mesa to Lemon Grove to expand student population and academic programs.

Just months after being closed by the school district, Palm Middle School is finding new life as the campus of a recently expanded charter high school. After years of searching for a larger location, Liberty Charter High School is calling Lemon Grove home. It aims to train the leaders of the future.

Making the move from La Mesa, Liberty Charter High School offers grades 9-12, and has about 100-123 students per grade level. Its curriculum prepares students to attend any four-year college with prep, AP and standard courses.

Executive director Debbie Beyer said the school trains students to be leaders, academically prepared and ready to take their place as literate citizens in the community and nation.

"We believe we are training the leaders of tomorrow—21st century learners that must have the skills to function in a very different world than the adults around them grew up in," she said.

Ernie Anastos, superintendent of the Lemon Grove School District, said creating another high school option for students in Lemon Grove is a great benefit to the community. He said about 40 graduates of Palm Middle School will attend Liberty Charter this year.

"It has an excellent track record, both academically and fiscally, and will be a good neighbor," he said.

Beyer said the school has a diverse student population with a high percentage of English learners, including Arabic speaking students.

"We serve a significant Hispanic population, as well as African Americans,” Beyer said. “We have at least eight languages other than English spoken on our campus."

Alongside a rigorous academic program, Beyer said there is a leadership program at each grade level and an internship program for juniors and seniors.

"Leadership, literacy and technology are our three distinctive strands," said Beyer. "We have been approved as a Microsoft IT Academy. Students will leave Liberty with job-ready technical certifications."

The school is operated by Literacy First Charter Schools. Classes begin Aug. 27.

Anastos said the charter school’s arrival is a benefit in light of reduced spending over the past five years due to the state budget crisis. The $300,000 license agreement between the district and Literacy First helped avert the closure of a second school, he said.

With the Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities scheduled to open Sept. 4, the district did not have funds to keep Palm Middle School open and possibly needed to close an additional elementary school.

"Fortunately, Liberty Charter High School was looking for a new location," Anastos said. "We are using the funds we receive from our licensee, Literacy First Charter Schools, to offset operating costs throughout the school district.”

Beyer said the charter school has looked for a permanent location for the high school since it started. She said the hope is to build a partnership with the school district over years.

"As we've grown, we've looked for larger facilities that would meet our needs and ultimately our complete needs as we envision building out the entire high school program 9 through 12," she said.

With a priority for student literacy, its goals include fluency and skilled verbal and written communication, technology, math, science, media, history, arts and contemporary culture. Beyer said the school added a grade each year and consistently grew, with its first senior class last year.

Beyer said Liberty Charter is very pleased with this opportunity to collaborate with Lemon Grove.

"We are eager to be able to develop our programs in a facility that will allow us to build and grow our students and programs," she said. "We anticipate being a positive influence in the community with both our sports teams and our academic programs."

Komfort August 31, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I'm glad you follow me around. Does your therapist/husband know you are on the hunt?
Things I Learned August 31, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Pamela August 31, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Komfort, she doesn't want a 350 lb. white dude in an electric wheelchair. While that may not be exactly what you are, that is how you come across to the women on here.
Kevin George August 31, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Interesting insults Pamela.
Things I Learned August 31, 2012 at 08:11 PM
So she's into chicks?
Kevin George August 31, 2012 at 08:16 PM
The non white, thin and ambulatory ones evidently.
Komfort August 31, 2012 at 08:56 PM
LG was playing hookey when he should have been reading: "Beyer said the school has a diverse student population with a high percentage of English learners, including Arabic speaking students. "We serve a significant Hispanic population, as well as African Americans,” Beyer said. “We have at least eight languages other than English spoken on our campus."" http://lamesa.patch.com/d/articles/liberty-charter-high-school-welcomes-its-new-home-in-lemon-grove
Komfort August 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Meowww... Pfft..pfft... Go back to your 50 amp electric appliance, Pam(assuming it could survive your flex alert).
Christine Huard (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Good afternoon, all. This is a reminder to keep your comments on topic and respectful. Please be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
Batman September 01, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Pamela September 02, 2012 at 04:08 AM
@ Kevin George, Thank you.
Deena While September 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Hey there, I have great news! Liberty Charter HIgh School is holding an Open House this Tuesday, September 11 and they are inviting the community to coffee. I hope you will take this opportunity to visit the campus, meet the staff and see if further talks can be made regarding the after hours use of the park. I emailed the school after this story and here is the email reply I received: Deena, I know it's late, however, I'm wondering if you might be able to help spread the word to our neighbors that we would like to invite them to an open house Tuesday evening from 7-7:45. It is the regularly scheduled Liberty parent "Back to School" Night, so our campus will be busy, however, we wanted to extend the invitation to our neighbors to come join us for a cup of coffee and get to know our community at Liberty a little. Thanks so much. ~db -- Debbie Beyer Executive Director Literacy First Charter Schools
Komfort September 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Good job Deena! I hope our Lemon Grove community will be more gracious when they actually engage in dialog with the school leaders.
Things I Learned September 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J034TCT7DOg ;-)
LG Joe September 12, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Instead of arguing about the field, I would be digging into the Liberty deal to start with. Wasn’t it convenient Liberty “came forward” so soon after the school district decided to close that campus? Just a coincidence? Maybe not.
Komfort September 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM
The $300,000 "licence agreement" that "helped avert the closure of a second [LGUSD] school" seems to be key in Liberty's diabolical scheme. It is "convenient" that LG Joe comes forward with a fact finding proposal after his lack of concern allowed Lemon Grove's schools to fall into chaos. Where were you when the district needed you, LG Joe??
Bill A. Weaver November 04, 2012 at 08:06 PM
The GUHSD shouldn't have let this go... it was generating revenue to the GUHSD! Gary Woods; you were vocal in 2008... where are you in 2012? What is your response? None?
LemonGroove November 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Whah? This school was working out a 7th Day Adventist church before this location. Even though I may think they are a bunch of wing nuts doesn't mean they are doing a disservice to anyone. They are occupying an otherwise empty building that needed to be maintained. They, like all other Charter schools that use school locations, are paying the school district for the site. Kids are getting educated!! That should be our main concern, not that GUHSD is getting paid less, Ebeneezer. If all districts worked for all children, then we wouldn't need Charters, but they don't so we do. I say, "Thank Goodness!!" We ALL knew kids when we were going to school that slipped through the cracks, and many of them at that time, did not get the help they needed. I see someone that I went to all my schools panhandling in LG once in a while. We do what we can now but that was not always an option for our parents, it was either public school or St. Johns, and later Christian High, that's it. We have evolved.
LemonGroove November 04, 2012 at 09:07 PM
By the way, Charter Schools are Always looking for school sites that might be closing, always. Why have your child in an office building when they can be at a "real" school?
Bill A. Weaver November 05, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Huh? Revenue is what makes our schools able to educate the kids. Liberty was paying the GUHSD for being domiciled under its oversight... no more is this, other than money lost, it hurts the GUHSD and its role of educating kids, and Liberty HS is still are taking GUHSD kids away by choice of the parents, nothing has changed, for the good of all, the GUHSD should have worked to keep this charter.
Bill A. Weaver November 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
PS, Bill Cass, are you the Bill from Juneau? Friend of Tim Smith?
LemonGroove November 05, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Who is Liberty paying now? Just because Charter schools move, they don't change their charter. Hello? If parents don't thing a regular public school is working for their child, charters are another public school way of doing things. Let me see, my high school kid in a class of 35 vs. 20. A no brainer. Or are you going with the Union stance?
Scott Chase November 05, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Good for Liberty and the Lemon Grove School District for giving the student's of East County an option! Maybe, the voters of East County should take notice and vote out the current disfunctional board of the Grossmont District. 2 this year and 3 more in 2014! Student's of East County deserve better! Grossmont's enrollment will continue to decline under the disfunctional reign that exists now. WAKE UP EAST COUNTY!
Alpine Blossom Valley High November 06, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Point made!
Alpine Blossom Valley High November 06, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Yes, the GUHSD no longer is the district granting the Liberty Charter as the sponsor district, it is La Mesa Spring Valley... In the know!
Bill Cass November 08, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Hey Bill I'm not the Bill Cass you mentioned however I am a local guy who graduated from Mt. Miguel in 65. Can we say geezer...:-))
jonny November 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Liberty charter looks and feels like a private school. Or do you guys want another mt. Mighetto?
LCHS Student December 05, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Well being a student from this school I disagree with Colleen statement. The YEARS talked about being used for the public left a toll. The clean up process was all finding little treats left from dogs, and cleaning up glass that still cuts us when we sit on the black top. Although, I have a lot of complaints like any high school student would this, is not one of them.
Student from Palm middle last year February 12, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Well i think that liberty high ahould open the diels i was a student there last year and i would really apreciate it id u guys can open the gates!!!!! I used to go over there and practice and play soccer. This is not fair we were here first!!! So can u please ppen the gates?? Thats all i am asking for in a polite and nicley way. PLEASE!!!!
Bill Cass February 12, 2013 at 05:57 PM
I saw some people playing soccer in the field a week ago. They did lock the gate afterwards though.


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