The state board of elementary and secondary education appears poised to grant preliminary approval for a new charter school in Providence. The board heard a presentation from the group looking to open the school during their meeting Tuesday.

The school would be run through Roger Williams University and housed inside their Providence Campus. Roger Williams University already has a partnership with the Providence Schools to certify teachers to educate students learning English.

Those students are a fast-growing population in Rhode Island, and make up about a third of all students in Providence. The group also consistently under performs on most proficiency measures. State Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green has made it clear that improving learning for these students will be a priority for her as she works to turn Providence schools around.

The school will specifically recruit and work with students learning English. Instead of standard grades, students would be grouped into cohorts, with a focus on self-directed learning.

“The multi-lingual learners we’re failing them as a whole as a state,” Infante-Green said. “So to have a different type of option for them, I think it makes sense.”

The state board of elementary and secondary education could give the school preliminary approval in the coming months.

The charter school has until mid-January to answer concerns raised by the state department of education. That includes how specifically the school will support students learning English, including the methods and strategies the school will use in the classroom. The school has been in the planning stages for the last two years, with support from the Barr Foundation and the organization Springpoint.

Community members have already voiced concerns over the possible incursion of charter schools into the district under Infante-Green as part of the state takeover. But state education commissioner Angelica Infante-Green says the numbers don’t reflect a major shift.

“There’s this fear that charters are going to come in,” Infante-Green said. “If you saw the numbers, that’s not the story.”

In recent years more than 10,000 applications were filed for nearly 800 Providence student spots in charter schools. About 12 percent of all city students are in enrolled in charter schools. The estimated per-pupil cost to Providence for the new school is about $4,000.

University High School, as it would called, seeks to open next year and eventually accept 200 students. 

Correction: a previous version of this article erroneously referred to the organization supporting the school as "Spring Board." The organization is called Springpoint.