The charter school plans to renovate the former school, converting it into a new K-8 campus to expand the number of students and the grades the bilingual charter school serves.
“When it comes to a change at Aldrich, I’m here to represent the residents who live nearby, and I will not take a position until I hear from them,” said Warwick City Councilman Jeremy Rix in an email to Norwood and Lakewood residents.
Rix said ICS has bid $1.9 million for the school, which is City property and under City control following the school’s closing as part of the Warwick Public Schools consolidation plan.
Julie Nora of the International Charter School will give a presentation and answer questions during Thursday’s meeting. Nora alerted the City’s purchasing division of the plan with a letter of intent along with the proposal July 15 (see document embedded below).
“While the existing Aldrich building will be preserved and the exterior of the building will remain unaltered, we will upgrade the interior of the building to house our innovative K-8 school, which will potentially attract new residents and promote business. We believe that by ICS locating our visionary school at the Aldrich property in Warwick, we will help Warwick preserve and improve a historical property, while providing amenities for the community,” the ICS proposal reads.
The statewide public charter school, currently based in Pawtucket, is an option for any child in Rhode Island who wins the annual admission lottery. More than 90 percent of families who apply are not admitted, according to the proposal. In 2016, there were 800 applicants for 66 open seats in ICS’s K-5 program.
ICS currently teaches 350 students in grades K -5, with three classes per grade (2 in the Spanish English strand and one in the Portuguese-English strand).
The students admitted are immersed in a dual-language curriculum from the first day of kindergarten and graduate from 5th grade fully bilingual.
Since no middle school bilingual option exists, the advantage they have gained evaporates. ICS graduates often don’t study languages again until they enter high school, and they lose a lot of linguistic ground—and cognitive benefits—along the way, according to the proposal.
So, the school expansion plan includes adding one more class per grade (starting in kindergarten) to the Portuguese-English strand, creating two equal-sized dual language strands. The plan, approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education, also includes adding grades 6, 7, and 8.
The school’s plans to grow from a K-5 school to a K-8 would take place over the next eight years. The total enrollment of the full build-out is estimated at 800 students.
Renovation of interior, exterior and road construction, would take place between 2017 and 2019. The school would open in August of 2019 with approximately 425 students and 60 staff. The opening enrollment will be primarily the students relocating from the school’s Pawtucket location.
The plan also includes dedicated space for a professional development center to train schools and their teachers how to launch and operate dual language and English Learner programs, support social and emotional learning, and how to integrate Information and Communication Technology as an instructional tool.
“We have a history of sharing the tools and expertise we have developed over these past 16 years with other educators. In 2015, ICS received a dissemination grant which allowed us to do this formally with South Kingstown and Pawtucket school districts, both which were dual language programs,” the proposal reads.
Total cost to purchase and renovate Aldrich to ICS’s specifications is estimated at $10,505,898, by the charter school:
Construction contingency (10%) $ 630,000
Soft costs (design, legal, debt service, reserves, etc.) $ 1,696,079
Acquisition $ 1,900,000
Meeting: International Charter School bid for Aldrich Thursday, Sept. 14, Boy’s & Girls Club, 42 Frederick St., 6:30 p.m.Aldrich_Proposal_FINAL_Tab_A-Tab_D