Pedee School facing problems

Enrollment dipping at the charter school

PEDEE -- The future of Pedee Charter School remains somewhat in limbo if a report to the Dallas School Board Monday is an indicator.

The School Board asked the District administration to conduct a review of the charter school in line with the Charter Agreement between the District and the school. Superintendent Dave Novotney as well as Curriculum Director Carol Talley and Special Education Director Maggie Mathews conducted the review.

The report to the school board states "Dallas School District is committed to supporting Pedee School in making necessary changes and in its improvement efforts in general."

An updated or new School Improvement Plan must be submitted to the Dallas District no later than January 13. Novotney commented that the school has moved away from its original plan.

Commendations in the report included:

♦ Curriculum -- For engaging all students in study of Spanish and the depth of the art history program.

♦ Academic Performance -- The school is to be commended for its academic excellence with the majority of students exceeding state performance standards in reading and mathematics.

♦ Instruction -- Very positive school climate.

♦ Special Education -- Instructors demonstrated a high degree of patience. Corrective feedback was appropriate and provided without censure. During the first week of school instructors were able to identify all students having difficulty with learning.

♦ Facilities -- A high level of commitment to improve the school facility.

Serious concerns were expressed about the decline in enrollment. The Charter requires a minimum of 25 students. From a first year enrollment of 50, the count is down to 34. If the trend continues the school could be out of compliance and forced to close in its third year.

Bringing the Charter School into compliance with state-mandated hiring standards, including criminal background checks on all employees, is necessary. Written curriculum guides in conformance with state curriculum elements are needed to avoid a "random-like approach" to content. A professional growth plan for instructional staff should be in place by January.

A November 1 deadline is given to bring special education into compliance with state standards. Full handicap access to school facilities will be required, in conformance with both law and the school's lease agreement, by the end of the 2003-2004 school year.

Monthly financial reports to Dallas School District have yet to be provided. The Charter Agreement requires such reporting.

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