Wilmington mayor marks Charter Schools Week with school visit [video]

 (photo courtesy FSMA)

(photo courtesy FSMA)

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki visited one of Wilmington’s 11 charter schools to see how students are connected to the city.

You may have seen the kindergartners heading to dance class at the Grand on Market Street or maybe you’ve seen older students heading to the Wilmington Library, the New Castle County Courthouse or the Playhouse Theater. Students from the First State Montessori Academy in Wilmington have made more than 100 field trips to locations in downtown Wilmington so far this school year.

“They go to the Playhouse, they go to the Queen, we’ve been up to Rodney Square to plant flowers in the fall,” said Courtney Fox, head of school at First State. “Twice a week our kids head up to the Wilmington Library, we utilize that resource a ton.”

The school is growing by leaps and bounds. This year, there are 428 students in grades kindergarten through 6th. Over the next two years, attendance is expected to increase to 663 as the school adds 7th and 8th grade classes.

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki visited the school Tuesday to commemorate National Charter Schools Week. He said the school represents the diverse educational options in the city.

“A really great school is an attraction for people to move in and have their families live nearby, walk to school,” he said. “This has been a beautiful school with a great reputation and we’re really happy to have it here.”

Kendall Massett, who leads the Delaware Charter School Network described the work at FSMA as amazing. “This is one of the gems,” Massett said. “We’re really excited about this joyful community of learning here that’s a charter school because they’re so flexible in their ability to do what they need to do for the kids that they have in front of them, but they’re also accountable.”

Massett said while Wilmington is home to 11 charter schools, those aren’t the only places Wilmington students are getting a charter school education. Students from Wilmington travel outside of the city to attend 19 charter schools somewhere else in the state.

For Mayor Purzycki, a big benefit of the city school experience is learning from those different than you. “There’s the fabric of living in the city and seeing people who are a little different than you everywhere you go. To me, that’s the great joy of living in the city.”

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