Transformation Waco approves management of five struggling schools

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:47-04

On Tuesday, a newly formed nonprofit approved overseeing six schools in Waco for the next two years.

Five of those schools were at risk of closing earlier this year are part of the schools that will now be managed by Transformation Waco.

"It really sets the stage for the play that comes next. What can we do together: Transformation Waco, Waco ISD, Prosper Waco and other community partners, to help students at these campuses be successful," Waco ISD Communications Director Kyle DeBeer said.

The seven members of the board are:

  • Malcolm Duncan Jr., former Waco Mayor.
  • Mary Bonner Fisher, Transformation Zone parent
  • Dr. Illiana Neumann, Family Health Center physician
  • Christy Perkins, Transformation Zone parent and community health worker
  • Dr. Stephen Reid, Baylor professor and Community Race Relations Coalition board member
  • Hazel Rowe, retired educator
  • Melli Wickliff, attorney and former school district administrator

Bonner Fisher, a parent of a student at GW Carver Middle School, decided to join the board because she wanted to help the students in the community.

"The key was transformation, so to me, I knew transformation was changing and I wanted to be part of that change," Bonner Fisher said. "I often tell my kids, 'I'm their voice, I'm their ears. I'm their eyes.' That's what I wanted to represent for all the children and all the parents as far as the board." 

Former Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan who is the president of the board said it was important for him to be involved. 

"I had complained the loudest and longest about the effects of closing these schools on the neighborhoods and our community," Duncan said. "We had to do everything all that we could locally to ensure the success of these schools and if I could help with that, I would."

Under the in-district charter, Alta Vista Elementary, Brook Avenue Elementary, G.W. Carver Middle School, J.H. Hines Elementary and Indian Spring Middle School will have two years to improve. They will also receive additional funding from the state.

"The schools have more time if needed to meet those academic standards, that they have more resources. But beyond that, Transformation Waco, working with Prosper Waco, is bringing community organizations to the table to make sure that their needs are met," DeBeer said.

Bonner Fisher suggested forming parent-teacher organizations at the five underperforming schools to learn from parents about the needs of their children. 

She hopes initiatives like that one will help bring success to the struggling campuses.

"As we grow and as we are established, the transformation zone. We are also trailblazers in providing a framework for other districts to follow," Bonner Fisher said.

Four out of the five schools will have new principals at the beginning of the new school year.

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