Monday, July 01, 2013

CCSD: Montessori More Important for Mt. Pleasant Than Gadsden-Green's Successful Charter

Just in case you have forgotten one of charter schools' successes, I am reposting a previous story about Charleston Development Academy (CDA).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gadsden Green's Heroes

Mention Gadsden Green to Charlestonians and you are likely to hear complaints about the latest shooting or drug-deal--not about positive developments in this city-owned public housing complex. In fact, this week's local TV filmed mothers of six teens arrested for armed robbery complaining that their families should not be forced out of the complex because the crimes were caused by "peer pressure."

TV 5 News also quoted James Heyward, of the Charleston Housing Authority, as saying "The parents need to be held accountable for their children where they are and what they're doing. . . .We as the Housing Authority in accordance with state and local laws, have a right to remove families who are involved in criminal activity on or away from the property."

Amen to that, and thank you, Mr. Heyward! Gadsden Green has its heroes too.

In fact, recently the P & C focused on the successes of the Charleston Development Academy Charter School and its principal, Cecelia Rogers:

  • "founded in 2003 to serve economically and socially disadvantaged children who live in Gadsden Green, a city of Charleston Housing Authority project, and the surrounding area.
  • About 75 percent of the 105 students live in that area, and many others are the children of professionals who work downtown.
  • The school, in a retrofitted building at Gadsden Green, grew out of a tutoring project at Ebenezer [AME] that was designed to help parents learn to teach their children.
  • It developed into a charter school, which is run by a governance board of parents, teachers and community leaders."
  • Keith Waring, who is on the governance board, says that its principal, Cecelia Rogers 'has taken the vision, to raise the comprehension levels of the children and make sure they test above the Adequate Yearly Progress level under the federal No Child Left Behind initiative, and is succeeding,' he says.
  • 'She's doing what you're not supposed to be able to do: to go into Gadsden Green and turn those children into exceptional students.'"
"Professionals that work downtown" are sending their children to a charter school located in Gadsden Green? Now THAT is news! And this school is meeting AYP while other downtown elementary schools are sinking? GOOD news! Funny, I haven't heard any complaints from the CCSD Board of Trustees about THIS charter school's draining students away from CCSD oversight.

I hope that others in District 20 are taking notes on how Ebenezer AME, Rogers, and the community have succeeded with this school. Visiting the school's website, I was struck by the following statement: " CDA incorporates, The Charleston Plan of Excellence, The Coherent Curriculum and The Core Knowledge Curriculum [italics mine] as the foundation teaching tools."

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.'s cultural literacy ideas have been controversial in educational circles for 20 years. I've always thought Hirsch makes sense, but I'm not an elementary school teacher. I do know that in San Antonio, Texas, several public elementary schools adopted this curriculum and met with success. Do any other elementary schools in CCSD use it?

You can check the curriculum out at
Now Principal Cecelia Rogers wonders why the Montessori charter in Mt. Pleasant gets special treatment viz an empty school building for its expansion in return for sharing its successes with CCSD. CDA desperately needs a larger building also. Rogers could share her successes with low-income students and train assistants for CCSD also  

It turns out that some charters are more equal than others,


Pluff Mudd said...

The only thing consistent about Charleston County's public school district is its inconsistency. To them it makes perfect sense to offer a vacant school building to one charter school while at the same time witholding a vacant or underused building to another. It's all OPM to them anyway.

D20 Parent said...

There are at least 3 schools in the immediate area that CCSD pays to keep empty. These are the Archer School on Hanover St., the Wilmot Fraser School on Columbus St. and the Rhett School building on the Burke High campus. Most people are unaware that vacant buildings cost taxpayers money, too. The drain on the district budget for each vacant campus can be anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000 per year. Insurance policy coverage requires the utilities (cooling, heat, lights and water) to be maintained. Grounds keeping, roof repairs and normal building maintenance also have to be done. It would be cheaper to just turn one of these schools over to CDA. Not only would it save money, it would improve access to a quality public school. It's common sense, but district administrators aren't known for that. An independent audit of the capital program and facilities would have easily shown there is a better way to manage these properties, but the superintendent's office said "no" to that, too.