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The Transition Through Aaliyah’s Eyes

As a parent you never want to feel as though you have failed your child when it comes to their education. We were given the news that our school was issued a failing grade and would be taken over by a Charter Management Organization (CMO).

Questions and scenarios run through your mind. How do you explain this to your child? Who will get your school? Will they bring all new staff in? How will your child adjust in the transition?

My daughter, Aaliyah, a kindergarten student at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, had a tough time adjusting to the transition.

She could tell early on that something was about to change: the Wilson she grew to love, the teachers she built friendships with, could disappear.

I tried to figure out what exactly happened and how she would be affected.

Teachers were let go. Every week, the kids saw new faces. The administration at the school were checked out with all the chaos going on.

Aaliyah came home almost every day looking as if she’d been deserted. She asked if her principal still worked at the school. She said the older kids are being mean and not listening to the adults. I tried to explain that things would get better soon, to give it time.

But how much time?

The school looked and felt different. Its appearance fell by the wayside. You got the sense people didn’t care.

There are a couple of teachers and administration who tried to keep it together. Others acted like they were only showing up for a paycheck.

Parents who fought to get the right CMO were intimidated.

Once we picked a new CMO, I talked with Aaliyah. I told her that her school would be getting new teachers and a new principal. I made the decision to wait until after she graduated from kindergarten to tell her that Mrs. Ward, her teacher that she is extremely attached to, would also not be coming back.

The day finally came when we got to share the news with the entire student body, staff, community and state officials who would take over Andrew H. Wilson Charter School. We announced that it would be Inspire NOLA Charter Schools.

Aaliyah finally has the structure and discipline to succeed. The children of Wilson will have a wonderful future. But I hope the past will serve as a reminder of the problems that took place.

I look forward to working with the new administration. We are going into the third month of the new school year and have seen huge improvements in the school’s culture, structure and discipline. The future is very promising.

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