Coastal Montessori Charter School outgrowing space in Waccamaw Middle School

  • Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Coastal Montessori Charter School continues to grow, Dr. Nathalie Hunt told the Georgetown School Board this week.

Hunt, the school’s director, said the school is not only looking to extend its lease with the district for space at Waccamaw Middle School, but would like more space to add another classroom.

There are currently 162 students enrolled. Hunt projects there will be 194 students in the 2014-15 school year.

Hunt said there are 23 students on a waiting list to join the school, which currently includes second through sixth grade. Hunt has said in the past that the school would eventually like to add seventh and eighth grades.

The racial makeup of the school continues to be a concern. The Department of Education requires a school’s racial makeup to reflect the area that it is located in. The school reported in September that only 10 percent of its students are black, a far lower percentage than the rest of the Waccamaw Neck schools.

School Board chairman Jim Dumm urged Hunt to reach out to all parts of the county for students. Hunt assured him that the school is doing that. She did not have any information on the racial makeup of the applicants for next year.

Another concern that was addressed was the threatened legal action by the Prince George Community Association, which is opposed to the school building a campus on the Longleaf Pine property on U.S. Highway 17.

Scott Steffen, a member of the school’s Board of Directors, said as of Tuesday night, no formal legal action had been taken by the community association.

“We’re able to move ahead and we are moving ahead,” Steffen said.

Hunt was pleased to tell the School Board that nine of the school’s sixth-graders will be attending a Montessori Model UN conference in April in New York City. The students will be representing African countries.

Members of the school community will be hosting fundraisers in the coming months to offset the $1,500 per child cost of the trip, which includes travel and lodgings.

In other business

Board members and Dr. Randy Dozier, superintendent of schools, discussed last week’s winter storm and when students should make up the days that were missed.

Dozier said it was a very difficult decision to close the schools, especially for Jan. 28, since the weather predictions kept changing. He said he personally spent time driving throughout the county on Jan. 30 to check on road conditions.

The general consensus of the board members who commented was “better safe than sorry,” especially in light of how the storm crippled the Atlanta area.

One of the three days that was missed will be made up on Feb. 18. Schools were scheduled to be closed that day, but it was marked as a weather makeup day on the school calendar.

Dozier suggested changing June 5 and 6 from half days to full days, but hoped the days could be made up sooner.

The district’s principals will be meeting in the near future and will be asked to come up with an alternative to June 5 and 6.

State Rep. Carl Anderson on Tuesday co-sponsored a joint resolution that would authorize a school district to waive up to five missed days due to inclement weather.

The board also approved a form that will be used for members to perform internal assessments, which will be done at the beginning of even years so new board members will serve for more than a year before they have to do one.

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