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Students to take more practice tests; school joins Eastbank Collaborative

At its May meeting, the board of Andrew Wilson Charter School discussed academic and possible policy changes for next year, and finalized the school’s affiliation with the local charter school support association, the Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools.

School officials also discussed open teaching positions and hiring standards, as well as enrollment numbers.

Among the academic changes: Wilson students will take quarterly benchmark tests next year, board members said. They’ll also take a separate math skills screening test. That test is similar to the state’s standardized test, board member Sister Juanita Chenevert said, and it will cost the school no more than $13,000.

And among the policy changes, school leaders will update the employee and student handbooks, although the extent of those changes wasn’t made clear at the board meeting. A committee will finalize handbook revisions in June, and the board will vote on them in July.

No matter what the changes are, board member David Winkler-Schmidt said it’s key that the board get input from stakeholders before making decisions. Creating a clear school mission is also paramount.

“One of my dreams is that we can come up with a mission that all of our faculty, staff, board, families, and students understand, so that we all know why we’re here,” Schmidt said.

During the meeting, the board also approved its alliance with the Eastbank Collaborative. Principal Logan Crowe and board President LaToya Cantrell said Wilson’s staff should benefit from the support and training the organization offers.

“As much as I love the autonomy of being the principal of Wilson, I need to be able to mix with other principals to get support in legal and professional development,” Crowe said.

Finally, board members talked about enrollment numbers and employment opportunities.

Wilson has 550 students, but the Recovery School District projects it will have 636 students next year – 40 pre-kindergarten students, 482 returning students, and 114 new applicants. Crowe joked that the school “might need a bigger boat.”

Wilson is also looking to fill teaching positions, however officials’ expectations of faculty should make for a competitive selection process, Crowe said. In addition to providing resumes and being interviewed, prospective teachers must also conduct 30-minute sample lessons with students.

“We will not hire anyone until we have seen them teach,” Crowe said. He wants to see how applicants interact with children, how they talk, and how they present themselves to make sure they are a good fit at Wilson, he said.

The board plans to go on a retreat in June, and its next meeting is July 24.


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