Ben DeGrow, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, recently visited Northridge Academy in Flint, MI.
The school serves an extraordinary population of students. The school serves a disproportionate number of students from situations of abuse, neglect and poverty. Most have been impacted by the water crisis in Flint; the number of students with special needs at the school has doubled. At the same time, Northridge has earned Reward School status from the Michigan Department of Education; NWEA test data shows that on the 14 total tests, "Northridge students hit the targeted goal of being in the top half nationally for making progress from fall to spring. More impressively, they reached the 90th percentile or above on eight of the 14 tests." (DeGrow)
Step into Northridge Academy with DeGrow, and see how Northridge Academy is beating the odds.
At a surprise event on Oct. 19,Achieve Career Preparatory Academy's new gymnasium was dedicated to founding school leader, Kerry Keese. Students, staff and other Leona Group support personnel, representatives from the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, and Keese's family gathered to dedicate the gym in her honor. Ms. Keese was recently named vice president of Ohio operations for The Leona Group; she has been with The Leona Group for 15 years.
As the founding school leader at Achieve, where she had been since 2009, Ms. Keese brought to life a the vision of a career preparatory program where students create a 1o-year career/college plan, study and may work in their area of interest while gaining valuable job experience and training. They also have the opportunity to earn college credits, high school credit for work experience, and recover or accelerate credits through online courses or additional courses offered after school.
School tours following the dedication revealed there's a lot going on at Achieve. With more than 20 years of school administration experience, new school leader Cindy Wilson is leading the charge. The academy is getting settled into its fantastic new campus at 3981 Martha Avenue. The highly anticipated new gymnasium is completed - and has now been dedicated. The new 3D lab is up and running. Students are engaged and learning, and the new school store is operational in support of positive behavior.
Gallery: Gym Dedication
Gallery: School Tour
To learn more about Achieve Career Preparatory Academy in Toledo, visit: http://www.achieveprep.com/
Knowing how to use computers and other technology is an essential skill in today's world. Education today is less about rote memorization but rather teaching students how to uncover information - and to use those facts in problem solving, discovery, formulating ideas and hypothesis. In Leona Group charter schools, technology is used prolifically in many groundbreaking ways.
Leona schools are utilizing a variety of technologies every day - ActiVotes, Smart Boards, Promethian Boards, iPads, Chromebooks, laptop and desktop computers, NEO2's, document cameras and many more. "Our students were super excited to receive their own Chromebooks this year,” shared Francis Reh Academy school leader Kate Scheid Weber. “Francis Reh's 1-to-1 technology ensures that each student is able to learn at his or her own level.”
Having the technology is a key step - but using it to its fullest potential is paramount. “Our schools are doing so much with many different tools that is would be hard to capture it all,” said Rachael Parks, Leona’s director of technology. Here is just tiny snapshot of how Leona Group students and teachers are using technology in their classrooms:
Northridge Academy, Flint’s top-performing public school and a Michigan Reward School, has moved. The new location at 4100 W. Coldwater Road allows the charter school to offer more than ever, including safe drinking water.
The new home of Northridge Academy is just 4.4 miles from its previous location on W. Pierson Road, but those few miles have made a world of difference. The academy’s water is now provided by the Mt. Morris water system, and water tests completed prior to purchase indicate the water is clean and safe.
“Knowing that we are providing our students and families with clean, safe drinking water at school has allowed us to refocus our efforts and resources to helping families in other ways,” shared Latricia Brown, school leader. The school is planning monthly outreach events as part of its commitment to the greater Flint community.
Northridge Academy is taking additional steps to help protect students from health concerns linked to the Flint water crisis. Nutritious meals including breakfast, lunch and supper are served to all Northridge Academy students each school day. Meals are provided free of charge.
"We're prepared to do what we need to do on our end," said Brown. The school’s early intervention strategies and personalized instruction, combined with on-staff special education teachers and paraeducators, provide the support and monitoring needed to ensure students receive the individualized help they need to succeed academically.
Northridge Academy is already well-known in Flint for high standards and meeting the needs of its families. The school offers free transportation, after-school enrichment, tutoring and a quality, proven curriculum. Now located in a rural setting, the campus offers more green space and a safer environment. The facility has a beautiful gymnasium for physical education and athletics programs, and additional classroom space to meet its growing enrollment needs.
School leaders, assistant leaders and instructional coaches were asked to submit their nominations for monthly Teacher Hall of Fame candidates. We have a primary teacher category for grades K-5 and a secondary teacher category this year for grades 6-12. These nominations are based on the observations the school leaders make in their locations. It is up to them to honor a teacher who they feel embodies the mission of their school. Once the nomination is sent electronically to The Leona Group Department of Academic Achievement, the team reviews the nominees and base their decisions on who best embodies the spirit of The Leona Group and academic success. Congratulations to the 2016 October selections:
Detroit, MI-- Hope of Detroit Academy will host a formal Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the successful completion of its new, state-of-the-art middle and high school campus, which began operation this fall.
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.
Hope of Detroit Academy Middle/High School campus
4443 35th Street
Detroit, MI 48210
This event is free and open to the public.
Hope of Detroit Academy is situated in the heart of southwest Detroit, and faces the same challenges as it's surrounding contemporaries. While crime, poverty and neglect edge the Hope of Detroit campus, what you will find within school boundaries is a story of perseverance, pride and hope.
Established in 1999 and authorized by Ferris State University, Leona-managed Hope of Detroit Academy has become a pillar to the community it serves. Enrollment has risen steadily, and in response to growing enrollment and parent demand, the academy built a brand-new, state-of-the-art middle/high school campus which opened this fall. Tuesday’s Ribbon Cutting will celebrate the school’s growth and new facility.
Hope of Detroit Academy accepts all children, and now serves over 735 students in grades K-10; the academy will add a grade for the next two years to fulfill is K-12 charter. Ninety-seven percent of the academy's population receives free/reduced price lunches, 10% receive special education services, and nearly 70% are English Language Learners.
Despite the challenges of educating in an urban environment, Hope of Detroit Academy has earned the Michigan Reward School designation. The academy offers students and families the very best in technology, STEM programming, multi-cultural experiences and second language learning. Families are excited about the school's commitment to a well-rounded education-- including physical education, art and music, along with extracurricular activities, athletics, clubs and field trip opportunities.
Part of the school's success is its commitment to involving parents and the community in the education process. The academy offers activities, workshops and seminars for parents, along with many ways for parents to become involved in their child's education. The community plays an integral role as well, with dozens of community partners providing a range of services and support.
ABOUT HOPE OF DETROIT ACADEMY
Hope of Detroit Academy was established in 1998 and currently educates students on two southwest Detroit campuses: grades K-4 at 4443 N. Campbell St. and grades 5-10 at 4444 35th St., both in Detroit, MI 48210.
Hope of Detroit Academy is a multicultural community of learners who strive for excellence, determination, and achievement. The academy has been a Michigan Reward School for three consecutive years, and achieved AYP status for 10 consecutive years. It is North Central Association accredited through AdvancEd.
Hope of Detroit Academy is authorized by Ferris State University and managed by The Leona Group.
ABOUT THE LEONA GROUP
The Leona Group was founded in 1996 by Dr. William Coats, a national leader in education reform. TLG currently manages over 60 school sites in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and is among the largest education service providers in the United States.
Foundational to The Leona Group is the belief that all children, regardless of ethnicity or economic status, can learn and achieve. This belief permeates throughout the organization and is vibrant in each Leona-managed school. For this reason, Leona Group schools are located in primarily urban communities where there is the greatest need for educational choice and opportunity. Leona delivers a quality choice in public school education, focusing on excellence in education in safe, caring environments. Each school program is tailored to the specific needs of its community and demonstrates continual improvement, as measured by increasing student academic achievement in concert with social, behavioral and emotional development. For more information, visit www.leonagroup.com.