By: Amara Omeokwe 08/26/2014 03:15 PM
WILMINGTON — Douglass Academy, a charter school in Wilmington, is close to tripling its enrollment numbers when compared to last year.
Officials said more than 80 children attended the school’s first day of classes on Tuesday. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the school’s first in existence, only 33 children were enrolled. That number fell below the state’s enrollment requirements for charter schools.
However, Douglass Academy was granted a waiver and allowed to keep its doors open for a second year.
Sawyer Batten, the school’s public information officer, said extenuating circumstances caused the low numbers last year.
“There was a building issue. There was a recruiting mailer that was returned and a few other things, renovations that continued right up until school started,” she said.
Batten pointed to the absence of such issues and increased recruitment efforts as part of the reason for the higher numbers this time around.
“There are many parents that are here now that reported wanting to come to Douglass last year, but being unsure. Getting that uncertainty out of the way has been a huge help,” she said.
Batten also highlighted the school’s emphasis on positive reinforcement as an example of the kinds of methods that are attracting parents.
“We also focus on positive reinforcement. That’s a priority that’s noted in our school pledge,” she said. “We like to reward kids. A ratio we like to use is three positive reinforcements for every correction. And that’s a conscious structure that our teachers employ.”
Rochelle Fleming, a parent who dropped her two second-graders off for the first day of school, said she appreciated the school’s structure and learning environment, particularly when compared to other schools in the area.
“They kind of fell behind being across the bridge, so now I see they’re getting back up to where they need to be learning-wise,” she said. “And they’re excited to learn again, so that’s what I’m happy about.”
Douglass Academy is still accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year for grades K -3. Interested parents can click here to learn more. Officials say calls and drop-in visits are also welcome.