In December of 2018, the North Carolina charter Board announced the closing of several schools following the end of the school year. One of them was Hope Charter Leadership Academy.
This school is located 12 minutes walking distance from Peace up Blount Street. William Peace has a partnership with the school allowing students to do work study helping the Elementary school out during classes and after school tutoring. Currently, there are two students doing work study and one student doing their internship there to go towards an education degree.
There is a major difference between normal public schools and charter schools. If a public school has a bad overall grade for the school nothing much will happen and the school will still stay open. When it comes to charter schools if they have a bad overall grade the school can be shut down by a board that has say over all charter schools in that district.
Last school year, the board threatened to shut down the school if they did not get their overall grade above an F. They successfully raised it to a C. Then the following school year, which is the current one, the overall grade fell back down to F cementing Hope Charters fate.
Hope Charter is a low-income school located in a busy city area. Students often had to stay after school due to parents not being home from work and not wanting their children home alone. I was one of the work study people that would help at these after school programs.
Being inside it is clear that lack of funding and technology was the cause of these bad grades. The school was the focus of an Extreme Makeover Home Edition episode where the crew came and made several upgrades to the historic church building. They also have laptops used for educational purposes for every student in every class and a smart board for teachers to show lessons on without having to install projectors.
This raises questions on how did the grades get so low that the board forced to shut them down.
One reason we can focus on is that every classroom was filled to the brim with students. There were no empty seats available. Also, for every class there was one teacher and an assistant who was not necessarily there the whole class day.
One argument could be that the reason for the decline in grades is there were too many kids for the staff to handle and that many mistakes just slipped by. This could also be backed up by the fact that compared to last school year when there were eleven work study helpers from Peace this school year there was only two helpers so there was even less of a upper hand when it came to teaching one-on-one.
Another aspect is that unlike most schools that have an entire school year separated by summer break Hope Charter is a year round school. That means that they would have school for three months then take a three week break in between each chunk of school. If the students are not doing anything in between school in these breaks it is very possible they could be forgetting what they have learned in the previous months.
Several factors that have come from the school shutting down is that now there is one less location that the kids of the future can be educated, especially those of low-income areas. Also, it creates the loss of jobs not only for the staff at Hope Charter but those who did work study through Peace there.
Something good that came out of this situation is that all of the students from Hope Charter have the opportunity to go to another school by the name of Pave. Pave is a well renowned newly opened charter school in southeast raleigh. So even though the school is shutting down the student have been given an alternative place to go for their education.
On a personal note, I will truly miss Hope Charter Leadership Academy and all the students and staff there. The two years I worked there were amazing and I will always remember my days there