May 2, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Jenkins-White Elementary has the worst third grade reading scores in Richmond County. With its new charter school status, the school hopes to turn that trend around.
Last summer, the state granted Jenkins-White charter status, the first in Richmond County. Local administrators pushed to make it a charter school after it failed to make adequate yearly progress.
Under the charter concept, the school is given more flexibility, which allows parents to become more involved in what their child learns inside the classroom.
"They seem to enjoy learning...they're more excited," said fourth grade teacher Jilleane Beard. "I think kids will learn to love learning and be able to see themselves going to college and becoming great things."
Among some of the changes include same-sex classrooms. Principal Marva Tutt says initially they planned to keep the separation at the fifth grade level, but because parents wanted it earlier, they'll start separating the students in fourth grade as well.
"The classes would be structured differently to work with the child's strengths," Tutt said.
But the main difference, she says, is Jenkins-White will now be the first elementary school in the county to offer the international baccalaureate program, which will give these students worldwide recognition before they even become teenagers.
"It teaches them who we are and where we are in the world," Tutt said. "The students will be more well-rounded."
Under the IB program, if a child were to stay at the school from Pre-K all the way through the fifth grade, that child would be exposed to six years of Spanish.
The principal also tells us they are also adding full math and science labs in the next year.