Charter Students Get Skills Needed for Public Schools
Posted May 2, 2007 6:41 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2007 7:05 p.m. EDT
Goldsboro, N.C. — The founders of a charter school in Goldsboro said they are taking a different approach. Rather than take students from the public schools, they want to send them back to the public schools with the tools to help them succeed.
Students at Dillard Academy have a unique experience. It is the only charter school in Wayne County. Parents like Angela Carraway choose to send their children because they are looking for something different.
"They tend to work with your kids more and they give your kids more of a chance instead of just putting them out," she said.
The kindergarten through fourth-grade school has just 106 students. They strive for smaller classes and have three adults assigned to help in each one.
"Given the right situation and environment, every student could learn," said director Hilda Hicks.
Hicks said most of her students are identified as at-risk or come in with specific academic challenges. Dillard Academy gives children extra attention so they do not get lost in the system, which includes more afterschool help and computer labs.
"We're not doing better than Wayne County schools is doing, but we're working with a population that is so much needier and our children show growth," she said.
Since it is the only charter school in Wayne County, students who finish fourth-grade have to either go to private school or public school. Administrators said nearly 100 percent go back into the public system.
Wayne County school board member Pete Gurley said he opposes adding any more charter schools. Gurley said, "charter schools can take money away from the county schools and do not always deliver the true alternative they promise."
"Competition breeds excellence in some areas," Hicks said.
Hicks would like to see her students have more choices when they leave the school. Administrators said every Dillard Academy student qualifies for the free lunch program. The school also offers opportunities for parents including GED programs and daycare.