Red Clay’s Lewis dual-language program gets trumped by new charter school

1. Name of Proposed School: Academia Antonia Alonso
Proposed Location: New Castle County
Proposed Grade Configuration: Year One (2013-14) Grades K-1 300 Students
Year Two (2014-15) Grades K-2 400 Students
Year Three (2015-16) Grades K-3 500 Students
Year Four (2016-17) Grades K-4 600 Students
“Purpose: The Founding Board, through a partnership with Charter Management Organization (CMO), Innovative Schools, and the Latin American Community Center proposes to open a bi-lingual elementary (K-5) in the Hilltop section of Wilmington. It is anticipated that the school will attract elementary-aged Hispanic English Language Learners. To address the needs of this student population and provide all students with community and global awareness and 21st century skills, the academic program will be a replication of the national recognized Expeditionary Learning Mode.”

Lewis (William C.) Dual Language Elementary School : 920 North Van Buren Street, Wilmington DE 19806: K-5 475 students @ 73.6% Capacity 

“English Language Learners in the Red Clay School District have the opportunity to be a part of the Dual Language Program at Lewis in grades K-5. The Dual Language program has replaced the bilingual/ESL programs. This program provides instruction 50% of the day in English and 50% of the day in Spanish. This develops the children’s first language while introducing the second language, thereby improving the acquisition of the second language.”

“At Lewis, there are several programs designed to support and enrich our students’ curricular experiences. To support readers who need small group instruction, we have 2 English Reading Specialists, 1 Spanish Reading Specialist, and a Minner Reading Teacher. Our Mentoring program provides one to one reading support because of cooperation with community members, and Padua, Ursuline, and A.I. DuPont High Schools. The Thinking and Growing program provides a variety of hands on enrichment activities, field trips, and school wide programs.”

Red Clay’s superintendent needs to be vocal to save Lewis! It’s time come up from being on his knees in Dover to walking upright in Red Clay. Skipper, Markell and every other education reformist writes editorials in the News Journal and now is the time for Red Clay’s superintendent to do the same! Once Lewis is reduce to under utilized building status this new charter will have a place to expand middle and high school. Perhaps a good thing but the concern is, Markell is allowing duplication of unique education programming when there isn’t a need. Lewis school belongs to the public and community it serves and the same empowerment used to create a mirror school could be used to address any concerns with Lewis. Empowerment belongs to the people and if the community pulls off a new charter school more power to them and God bless them. Being an election year I see nothing stopping the approval of this new charter school. I just wanted to point out my observations.

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