By: Wesley Martin
“A.A. Dixon is not closing down,” said Pastor LuTimothy May, Chairman of Dixon’s Board of Directors. “I don’t even use the term ‘closing’ anymore because that’s in our past. We’re open for business with a new administration.”
According to the Florida Department of Education, A.A. Dixon Charter School of Excellence received another consecutive failing FCAT grade this year. But, May says the “tremendous” learning gains students at Dixon made (87 points to be exact) are the very evidence that Dixon is a community asset. Furthermore, May said that other schools in the district would be “F” schools if it weren’t for a new rule stating that no school could drop more than one letter grade.
“Learning gains and proficiency is what you want to look at because that shows whether or not a child is learning,” May said.” Overall, students learn better and at a better percentage rate at Dixon than their counter parts.”
May believes labeling schools with a grade has caused great anxiety amongst administrators, faculty and students.
“We know when you label a school with a [grade] and you say the teachers are compared to that grade, the system is flawed,” May said. “Just because that school has an ‘F’ grade doesn’t mean that the teachers of that school aren’t as valid or valuable than [teachers] at a school that has an ‘A’ grade.
May also mentioned that due to delayed district funding in the past, Dixon had to heavily rely on community efforts and assistance to educate and feed its students.
“We fought for a long time just to get due funding where it was properly owed to each student,” May said. “That’s all been taken care of. But, we did have to reach out to some community folks and dig into our own pockets to feed children, transport them and give them supplemental and extra-enhanced tutoring and instruction.”
Dr. Wendy Bennett, former principal of Brownsville Arts and Sciences Academy and one of the new principals at Dixon, says she is excited about her new role.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity… and I’m delighted to come in at this point to help spread the vision,” Bennett said.
Bennett further stated that she sees the school being a neighborhood wonder.
“The possibilities are endless,” she said. “In a year, two years tops, you’re going to have a school where no matter what community a child lives in, both the parent and child will say ‘Dixon’ is where I want to go.”
A.A. Dixon will host a community informational next Monday, July 23rd, at the Fricker Resource Center at 6 p.m. Parents of current and perspective students are all invited to attend.