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Increased language study and more teacher feedback urged on school's academic blueprint

Hiring an ESL teacher for bilingual students and beefing up Spanish and math curricula are among ideas in a future-oriented blueprint for the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School.

“We are anticipating a growing number of students who have English as a second language,” principal Logan Crowe told members of the Broadmoor Charter School Board, Wilson’s governing body, at their monthly meeting, Feb. 28. “We intend to create an instructional position for bilingual students.”

About 30 teachers attended the meeting to hear the updated academic plan, which also recommends hiring a math interventionist and and offering all students Spanish instruction.

The plan calls for twice-weekly professional development for teachers with ongoing evaluations and feedback. Under the plan, the staff will be broken into two groups: an instructional leadership team, focusing only on curriculum, and a school leadership team, which will focus on other areas, such as the school environment and culture.

“It’s an effective leadership structure,” Crowe said.

Board members did not take a formal vote on the plan, but praised key ideas and offered ideas they’d like to see included.

Board member David Winkler-Schmitt pushed for a librarian or school-media position. Board president Latoya Cantrell said she wanted the school to develop a speech class and perhaps provide the services of a speech pathologist as well.

Crowe said he will explore ways to hire a school librarian and said a speech program could be added to the school’s literacy plan. The good thing about the plan is that it is continually changing to meet the needs of the students, Crowe said. “This is a journey that has no stopping point,” he said.

Board members are set to vote next month on whether to re-hire Edison Learning Systems as its education services provider or to move those services in-house. Crowe’s plan does not mention Edison.

On student achievement, scores have improved in all areas, Edison’s Katchia Gethers reported. “We’re working on an upward trend,” she said.

Student behavior is a less rosy picture. Crowe reported that nine students were suspended in January, and a fight broke out while board members were visiting the school. Over the past few months, however, there has been a noticeable decline in student suspensions.

Crowe’s educational plan addresses student behavior by proposing to reward students who do well and to communicate better with parents through email.

In other business, the school has been awarded a state grant to launch a pre-kindergarten program for 20 students. The pre-k program will set up shop at McMillan’s First Steps on South Claiborne Avenue and feed students into Wilson’s kindergarten.

The next board meeting will be March 27.


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