Epic Charter Schools to open Norman meeting space

Adam Troxtell / The Transcript

Epic Charter Schools will occupy the space on Main Street that had been the location of Liberty Cleaners by Nov. 1, according to an assistant superintendent. The location will be used as a meeting place for Epic teachers and students.

NORMAN — Epic Charter Schools will open a meeting space on Main Street in Norman for its teachers, students and their parents to interact throughout the school year.

Epic is in the process of preparing and moving into 546 W. Main St., formerly Liberty Cleaners. Assistant Superintendent Shelly Hickman said the plan is to have the space open by Nov. 1.

"It's the seat for Cleveland County, it's centrally located," Hickman said. "We have a significant number of students in Cleveland County."

Hickman said the physical space will be a place for students and parents to meet regularly with some of the 85 Epic teachers in Cleveland County. Norman alone has 51 teachers who instruct courses online.

"It's a blended learning model," Hickman said. "Students have digital curriculum, but they also have a teacher that regularly meets with them to facilitate learning."

Currently, just under 1,800 students are enrolled in Epic in Cleveland County, and 824 of those reside in Norman -- though enrollment is still open and those numbers are likely to change.

By the time classes start after Labor Day, Hickman said Epic anticipates having about 25,000 students enrolled across the state.

"The larger we've gotten, the need for meeting space has grown," Hickman said. "So, we are opening a space in Norman for those students and families to meet with teachers, but it's not for administrative or business operations.

"It depends on the need of the student. Some meet once a week, some it might be every other week."

Epic is headquartered in Oklahoma City. While Norman is currently the only confirmed new Epic location, Hickman said the charter school is looking to open meeting places in other cities across the state.

"The intent is to have meeting places in various places throughout the state, so, frankly, there are more options for students and teachers to meet," Hickman said.

An investigation conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is ongoing into Epic over complaints that it embezzled state funds. Epic officials have denied any wrongdoing.

During a state Board of Education meeting in July, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told members of the press that she did not expect the investigation to impact Epic's operations for the 2019-20 school year. It was expected Epic would receive about $120 million for the upcoming school year, according to Oklahoma Watch.

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