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Founders of Innova Girls Academy charter school aim to open doors next school year

Lindsay Swanson, left, and Brittany Rumph are the co-founders of charter school Innova Girls Academy.
Lindsay Swanson, left, and Brittany Rumph are the co-founders of charter school Innova Girls Academy.

A new tuition-free charter school for girls is expected to open next school year in the city of Rochester.

The founders haven't secured a building yet, but Lindsay Swanson, the head of school operations, said when all is settled, Innova Girls Academy will have the capacity for just over 100 students in kindergarten through second grade.

The Academy plans to partner with Girl Scouts of the USA for programming in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, often referred to as STEAM.

“We do hope to be a Girl Scout hub in the city,” Swanson said. “Knowing that folks in the city sometimes do not get equal access to programming like the Girl Scouts, having our building the physical location where other troops — even students who aren't from our school — could meet after school hours will also allow us ... to be that community resource.”

Swanson hopes that will build students’ confidence and empower them to be self-sufficient.

“The Girl Scouts partnership focuses and reinforces that STEAM education, along with the leadership education, in a very girl-centered format that we're confident will allow our girls to thrive in and outside of the classroom,” Swanson said.

Brittany Rumph, Innova’s co-founder and head of school academics and a graduate of School of the Arts, said programming will also be sensitive to students’ experiences, which may involve trauma and exposure to community violence and poverty.

“We are not just about not just educating the child, but … thinking about how we can help the community, who we can partner with, how can we create these community partnerships to ensure that when our families have a need, we're able to connect them to that need.” Rumph said.

The school is looking to hire teachers and staff ahead of the next academic year.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.