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Andrew Wilson school sees improved financial picture

Andrew H. Wilson Charter School’s financial position has improved substantially from last year, board member Will Bradshaw said at a meeting Wednesday.

Bradshaw said the school has approximately $800,000 in operating accounts and has recently located additional savings of $200 to $300 per day in operational costs after an effort to compare actual utility expenditures against the amount predicted upon the school’s commissioning.

A faulty valve in the school’s kitchen and a software issue with the main temperature control system had contributed to nearly doubling the projected daily operating costs of one building in the school. After both problems were resolved, school officials were able to bring energy costs slightly lower than that estimated by the predictive model. The maintenance software system, WegoWise, will be able to accurately track energy costs moving forward.

“The reason we have these systems is in support of the teaching and learning” at Wilson, Bradshaw said. “If we can optimize [their] utilization… then that just puts more resources in the hands of teachers and students and administrators.”

“I think it would be a good idea over the next six months, eight months, making [energy cost discussion] a regular part of the finance meeting – even [for] five minutes,” board chairman David Winkler-Schmit said.

In other financial news, board member James Baker said the school has been awarded a $2,500 grant from The Lupin Foundation in support of the school’s Wilson-to-Washington program.

Principal Logan Crowe reported the results of the Compass teacher evaluation that occurred this past month. Wilson teachers, who were judged on five competencies related to teacher performance, scored highest in managing classroom procedures, and lowest in using questioning in discussion.

Winkler-Schmit asked Crowe whether veteran teachers were more likely to have higher Compass scores.

“Not across the board… A lot of times it’s the ‘new breed’ that soaks up the instructional strategies easier,” Crowe said, but added that “some of our veteran teachers are soaking [the strategies] up as well.

Winkler-Schmit asked whether the Common Core state standards initiative has been leading to the adoption of new educational strategies.

“A lot –  it’s very different,” Crowe said. “There are some [teachers] that are going to be resistant, but right now it’s what we have, it’s on the table and we’re using it… if [Common Core] changes, we roll with the changes; if it sticks around, it sticks around.”

“The kids are starting to get the lingo,” Crowe added, referring to verbiage for instructional design by Common Core. “The kids ask, ‘What’s the objective? What’s the social objective?’”

The next meeting for Andrew H. Wilson Charter School will be Jan. 28, and feature the results of a financial audit that is currently concluding. Board members Winker-Schmit, Bradshaw, Baker, Ross Anderson and Eric Griggs attended the meeting. Sister Juanita Chenevert, Kristyna Jones and Nancy Marshall were absent.

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