Marietta School Board considering new immersion school
by Hannah Morgan
February 13, 2014 04:00 AM | 5305 views | 7 7 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Marietta City School Board is considering allowing for a new charter school to be built on Franklin Road, opening in fall 2015.

The school would focus on language immersion, a much-needed program for many of the immigrant families in the area, said James Wilson, the mastermind of the project and founder of Education Planners LLC, a Marietta-based education consulting firm.

Many classes would be in both English and Spanish, and children who were native speakers of one language would develop a strong foundation in the other.

Wilson said his company has been pushing to get the new school built on Franklin Road for almost a year, as he sees it as an opportunity to develop a strong school in the culturally diverse area.

“This part of the city has a population that represents multiple languages,” Wilson said. “We believe this would be an excellent opportunity for young people.”

A tentative goal for the school would be to open in fall 2015 as a kindergarten through 5th grade school, and to eventually expand one grade per year until the school offered grades K-8, Wilson said.

The school would ideally be able to accommodate up to 100 students per grade, but Wilson says plans are to grow slowly, as needed.

Many of the details for the new school have yet to be worked out, and Wilson said he is taking each step of the process slowly in order to not make any mistakes.

He will be bringing a full application to the Marietta City School board within the next few weeks.

Marietta open to idea for new school

Families in the Franklin Road area of the city feed into Marietta City Schools, particularly Lockheed and Park Street elementary schools, said Superintendent Emily Lembeck.

Both schools are operating at capacity, and not in the position to grow in population any time soon, Lembeck added.

Students who live in the Franklin Road area are bused into the city schools, making it hard to maintain a “neighborhood” sense of community for the commuting families, Lembeck said.

She is enthusiastic a charter school might provide a “neighborhood school” for the families who live along Franklin Road.

“I do think that a neighborhood school in the Franklin Road area would be beneficial to families that live down there,” Lembeck said. “It might help create a community.”

Once the charter school submits an application, Lembeck said the Marietta School Board would have to review the application and verify that the school’s proposed educational program offers a rigorous education for Marietta students, one which would prepare students for Marietta City middle and high schools.

If the Marietta School Board approves the application, it would remain fairly hands-off from the day-to-day functions of the new school. The charter school would have its own independent board of education, which would hire and fire its own teachers and administrators.

Once a year, Lembeck said, the charter school board would present an update on the charter students’ progress.

Marietta City Schools would also be responsible for doling out the required state, local and federal tax dollars allocated to each student at the new school.

The Marietta City School Board has already seen a charter school come and go, Lembeck said, when the Marietta Charter School closed in 2011.

Marietta Charter was run by Imagine Schools and was in business for about five years, but closed when the Marietta City School Board determined Marietta Charter was not keeping up with “instructional expectations,” Lembeck said.

Nevertheless, the MCS board is open to a new school.

Board members said they have received a letter of intent from the new school’s board of education and they will be discussing it at their rescheduled board meeting later this month, Board Chair Randy Weiner said.

“We are open-minded to hearing about it, the dual language program has merit in this area. It sounds very interesting and we are excited to take a look at it,” Weiner said.

The charter school’s board of education is made up of three people at the moment, and will expand as the school does, Wilson said. Board members include Stanley Wrinkle, a former Cobb assistant superintendent, and Mariettans Liz Cole and Megan Egan.

Wrinkle is excited for the potential of a new school in the Franklin Road area.

“The goal is to get a school that will be a unique dual-language instruction program. It will serve both non-English speaking, mostly Hispanic kids as well as English-speaking kids of all cultures,” Wrinkle said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
nonsensical idea
February 14, 2014
What a foolish waste of money. Lets be honest, we are talking about educating a large number of illegals who, guess what? are mostly transient! What we need to be concentrating on are our minority children who are needing extra help. Many of these kids are simply getting left behind. A major effort to help them would help our entire community.
America not the same
February 14, 2014
My grandparents and parents were immigrants to the USA. They assimilated into the culture, with out losing the values of their own, and made the best life possible coming to another country. Today, immigrants come, refuse to learn the language, and actually expect everyone to pander to them. It is illegal to come to this country with out proper papers, yet politicians made laws where it is illegal for schools to request papers for students. The law states that we are required to educate every child regardless of legal status. The politicians make a law that schools are required to send home paper work in their home language. Today, immigrants don't want to assimilate and that makes the statement they don't care about their child's education. We continue to pander to them and they WILL become the majority in this country. It is sad that my children and grandchildren will never know the America of years past! They will know what it is like to live in a third world country in years to come, and not so far in the future.
February 13, 2014
Does it really make sense to start a "community" school in an area that is slated to have the community torn down?
Good luck
February 13, 2014
I think it is a great idea, if you have fluent English speakers with proper grammar. CCSD has many teachers who are native Spanish speakers. Unfortunately, they are not fluent in English and their grammar is not what I would expect from a teacher in the United States. Their writing is not what we would expect either. I would hope you could fill those positions with American teachers who are fluent in Spanish and can teach the children the proper oral language skills. Children who transfer from Marietta City to CCSD are always behind our standards. The parents need to be encouraged to learn the language instead of everyone stating they don't need to learn English. You need to assimilate into the US while keeping a balance of your own culture. My parents were immigrants and learned the language fluently. They didn't expect everyone to cater to them, but that America is long gone!
Give no Ground
February 13, 2014
STOP catering to illegals and their brood with CITIZEN/TAXPAYER money.....
February 14, 2014
First of all, when are people going to let it sink in that the Franklin Road area is a cesspool and trying to develop a hell hole is a waste of money.

Second, with schools struggling to survive as it is, why would you pump millions into the building and running of a school to support a primarily illegal population who contributes very little, if anything, to the tax base?! It's decisions like this that continue to make sure Cobb transforms into a third tier place to live.
George Washington
February 14, 2014
What is it like to foster so much hate? Do you find it hard to accomplish everyday tasks because of your anger?

This is classic racism: assuming because of one's appearance that they are all the same, in this case illegal aliens.

The overwhelming majority of people who live on Franklin Road are citizens and if they aren't than their kids sure are which means the government has an obligation to educate them.
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