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Sophie B. Wright plans U-Haul move to West Carrollton

Sophie B. Wright Charter School is set to temporarily relocate for two years while extensive repairs and renovations are made to their Napoleon Avenue campus.

Board members and school staff met May 16 to discuss that and other matters.

Dean of Students Lawrence Vinnett said that the school has already secured two of U-Haul’s largest trucks for the move to the James Weldon Johnson building in West Carrollton. The move is scheduled to take place over two days at the beginning of July.

So far Vinnett has a team of about 10 people to assist in loading and unloading trucks.

Middle School Principal Tiranus Edwards led the lengthy meeting detailing the charter school’s financial report as well as academic reports and renovation updates.

Curriculum Developer Emily Zilich and Curriculum Coordinator Eric Smith presented the board with a score report for the 2012-2013 school year. The scores showed marked improvements almost across the board from last year’s numbers. End-of-course assessment data was collected for high school classes, including English II, English III, Algebra I, Geometry, US History, and Biology.

Though typically a requirement of ninth-grade coursework for incoming Freshmen, a handful of eighth-graders also completed the Biology end-of-course assessment exam this year. Those scores will be available on Monday, May 20. Because this was the first year that US History scores were recorded, no previous data was available to compare the current class of Juniors who took the end-of-course assessment exam.

As the school year came to a close, 74 Seniors were set to graduate high school and move onto college. Five of those students failed AP World History and were not scheduled to participate in graduation ceremonies, but they are expected to graduate upon successful completion of a summer course. All students were accepted to colleges, with 10 students eligible for $14,000 scholarships from Talladega College in Alabama, charter school director Susan Clark said.

In terms of enrollment, the first round of OneApps closed with 471 students applying. There are still 37 spots still available. Middle School Principal Tiranus Edwards stated that there were 15 spots in sixth grade, 22 spots in seventh grade, and 12 spots in eighth grade. Sophie B. Wright’s temporary location at the James Weldon building in west Carrollton will offer comparable space for students, thus should be no foreseeable capacity issues.

Financial Director Ernest Lumpkins provided a comprehensive look at the school’s finances. Sophie B. Wright’s budget is at $3.6 million and the school is operating under budget by about $5,000, he said. As of the state’s official Feb. 1 student count, there were 483 students enrolled.

Charter Director Sharon Clark also contributed to financial updates, with a report on the many grants that the school is either pursuing or has secured. The school is still waiting on approval from a grant from 21st Century. Though the grant ended in January, it was extended for an additional semester, giving the school an additional $128,000. Sophie B. Wright also put in for a School Improvement Grant, which they were recommended for. The SIG program would give the school an additional $350,000 a year for three years. Those funds would be used towards AP and remediation courses.

The meeting ended with public comments that ultimately forced the board to go into executive session upon adjournment.

Juana J. Darby, mother of seventh-grader Courtney Darby, told the board that school officials had behaved inappropriately in regard to a majorettes uniform issue her daughter had.

Darby said that the uniform that her daughter received was ill-fitting, with too much material between her daughter’s legs.

Darby says that when she approached budget director Alisa Bates about the issue, Bates attempted to amend the situation by taking the uniform to a seamstress. Darby said that she found that the uniform had been slightly altered yet was not completely tailored.

Darby then went to Clark about the problem and said that Clark cut the uniform but made an inappropriate comment about her daughter.

Darby added that the alterations made her daughter’s uniform painful to wear and that it forced her to miss many marches during the school year. The uniform as well as majorette fees cost the Darbys around $800, according to Darby. She says that her daughter still wants to continue going to Sophie B. Wright as well as participate as a majorette.

Leaders said that they’d get back with her regarding whether they would reimburse her for the uniform expenses.

The meeting was called to order at 5:36 p.m. and lasted an hour. It was attended by 10 officials and Darby.

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