One of the three Delaware charter schools currently residing in the Community Education Building in Wilmington now wants out. Academia Antonia Alonso Academy, as of January 29th, submitted a major modification to change their school location from the CEB to the Barley Mill Plaza location currently owned by Odyssey Charter School. Should their modification gain approval, the plan is to lease one of the buildings from Odyssey. So why would they want to move from the lauded CEB?
After reviewing options of other potential locations, it was determined that a location that can be conveniently accessed by families, can be managed directly by the school, and also provides green space and playground facilities would be preferable to the current location in enabling the school to deliver the educational outcomes that it is striving to achieve.
Now this is some logic I can get behind! Looking out for students, recess, and families is crucial to school success nowadays. It is underestimated by our Delaware Department of Education and Governor Markell.
Given that 61% of La Academia’s students live in the City of Wilmington zip codes of 19801, 19802 and 19805, the majority of the school’s students live in neighborhoods where they may be regularly exposed to violence and crime, and where their families do not feel safe having their children play outside. This makes it even more important that the school be able to offer the opportunity for these children to be able to have safe play spaces. Non-structured play time has a positive impact on social development and general well-being and allows children the opportunity to practice essential social skills, which in turn improves learning and school climate.
Thank you! While some schools have reduced or gotten rid of recess, this school is actually celebrating it!
Our school has students in grades K-2 who are young and small, and during transitions they have to either navigate 2 to 6 flights of stairs or wait on elevators that require the school to make multiple trips to transport everyone, depending on the location of their next activity. We have had one incident of an elevator full of students getting stuck for over 20 minutes. A second incident occurred with Kuumba Academy students and staff. This has caused some of our students to be afraid of the elevators. Some of our younger students have tripped on the stairs, and now are afraid of using them.
Sounds like a health inspector needs to get in there as soon as possible!
In order to get our students to the outdoor fenced parking lot that is their recess area, our teachers go down the elevators (or six flights of steps), walk down a full city block, cross a dangerous intersection where accidents have happened right in front of our students, down another half of a city block and into the Wilson Street lot. This typically takes 15 minutes. Adding another 15 minutes for the return trip the students lose precious recess time. Developmentally, it is critical that 5, 6, & 7 year olds are able to have time for recess and play.
Wow! How much thought went into student safety for this building?
The Wilson Street Parking Lot, our recess area, has a number of issues relating to safety and supervision. Several areas in the fence are a concern to the school, as well as there being no barrier (mesh fence or other) to prevent students from going behind the storage unit where teachers have no line of sight. This recess area is not fully secure from the public after hours and dangerous items such as broken glass, syringes and other items are routinely found by both teachers and students. There is no typical playground equipment for the students to use such as swings, slides etc.
So what happens if a student accidentally pokes another student or themselves with a syringe? Who is responsible for the potential of a student getting HIV or some other disease from a dirty needle? I would get the hell out of this location too! I’m guessing Governor Markell and Acting US Secretary of Education John King didn’t go out with the kids to recess during King’s visit last month to the Community Education Building…
To see the full major modification request, please see below. For the next few months, the school will go through the charter school accountability committee and public hearings. A final decision will be made by the Delaware Secretary of Education and the State Board of Education at their April 21st meeting.
Now the big question becomes which charter school will now submit a major modification request to get into the Community Education Building? I hope no elementary schools based on what I’m hearing!