"As a parent, Linda Kennedy helped establish the school and enrolled her son in 1991 as a first-grader. After two years, she left — "heartbroken" but unwilling to risk her son's education for the vision of an African-American school. The academy seemed doomed by a mediocre teaching corps, tension between two principals sharing a building and lukewarm district support, she said. She enrolled her son in private school.
When the principal asked her to stay, she said, she told him: "This is my child. I can't experiment with him ... I need a school that's going to work now."
She wasn't the only one. She said middle- and upper-class parents "left in droves." "
Despite the years of mediocrity, here's what Carla Santorno says,
"Now, as part of a new commitment to boost low-performing schools in the South End, the district is pledging $462,769 this year — enough for six teachers — to the academy, along with a math coach and a reading coach. If the school doesn't show progress over the next few years, the district may close it.
"We are making that change, putting the supports in, holding them accountable, and if that doesn't work, we have to look at other options," said Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno.
"Letting it limp along is a mistake we've made." "
Blandly saying we have to look at other options is an understatement. The District is lining itself up to have something of the same problem down the road with New School if the New School Foundation should choose to end its funding. New School, while on firmer ground than AAA, will have its first 4th grade WASL scores out soon. If the District finds itself with two struggling K-8s just over a mile from each other, they have no one to blame but themselves.The former AAA principal, Rickie Malone, had this to say,
"Departing principal Malone, 57, has now retired for the second time. She was among a group of African-American educational leaders who first posed the possibility of an academy in the late 1980s. She still has "a mighty hope" for its success, she said. But she's moving out of state to escape the school's politics. She's baffled by the school's marginal academic success.
"It's pitiful," she said of the school's test scores. "I'm the first one to say that. We're not doing what we truly believe we can." "
And the new principal, Christ Carter, had this to say,
"As for Carter, the vision he casts for the academy is remarkably similar to the one the school's founders cast nearly two decades ago: a model of how to teach black students, a haven where students are supported and free to succeed.
"Failure is just not an option," he said, adding: "I don't think it's rocket science to make significant gains." "
Both are worrisome statements because it sounds like one didn't know what to do and the other thinks it's an easy path. Again, all we can do is sit back and see what Ms. Santorno and Dr.Goodloe-Johnson do and how long they will give AAA to right its ship.