New Beginning for Howard Gardner School

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SCRANTON -- Wednesday was the first day of school for Scranton's first charter school.

The Howard Gardner School in north Scranton, a private school for years, became tax-payer funded this summer after applying for a charter with Scranton and Abington Heights.

The building on School Street in north Scranton has a rich history. Some people remember it as the old Thomas Jefferson School. It's been named after Howard Gardner for the past six years.

Now, the building started a brand new chapter as the first charter school in Scranton.

“I think charter schools will grow when they have a good idea, and I think the good idea that we have here is how we employ our practice,” said Vince Rizzo of Howard Gardner School for Discovery.

The school touts a more hands-on education for students that families have had to pay for until now.

Gardner's charter was in question last year when nearby school districts disputed the school's decision to go public, but now Rizzo said the school is more financially stable and provides another option for students all over Lackawanna County.

“The advantage of becoming a public charter school is that we can now draw from as many students as want to attend the school as opposed to students who could only pay for the tuition,” said Rizzo.

The first day of school went very much like any other. Many things, including the classrooms, have stayed the same, but there are new requirements the Howard Gardner School has to meet. One thing they've had to add is a nurse's station.

School officials said about 50 students came on board for this year, so the school's at capacity with more than 150 students from preschool to eighth grade. Third grader Victoria Ferguson is one of those new students.

“I just found out we have a class pet, and I really like that, and I really like my new teacher,” said Ferguson.

Officials said they hope to expand the Howard Gardner School in the future.