At Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School, college pennants line the hallways and each homeroom theme is a different college. But this isn’t a high school -- it’s an elementary school teaching 150 kindergarteners through second graders.
It’s the first rural charter school in Mississippi, and Amanda Johnson is the school’s executive director.
“Some of the top things that families are looking for for their child would be the academic program and having the opportunity to achieve great things," Johnson said. "[Some parents also wonder] will they get pushed or will they get supported. So if a child needs additional support or needs intervention, will the teachers here spend time making sure they get that support?”
Latasha Capers teaches kindergarten and says early encouragement makes a difference.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen, especially with my kids being younger," Capers said. "I mean, they come in like ‘I’m a college graduate’ like they already have this little persona like there’s this big goal. It’s already building that self esteem within them like little scholars.”
The Delta could be seeing more charter schools. On Tuesday, the public will weigh in on a potential charter school in LeFlore County.
The potential charter school could face challenges much like Clarksdale Collegiate did.
City officials said the charter school takes away students and therefore funding from already struggling districts. A group of individuals, under the name “Concerned Citizens of Clarksdale and Coahoma County” wrote to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Boar opposing the school’s opening.
Clarksdale Collegiate plans to eventually serve kindergarten through eighth grade. The Tuesday meeting takes place in Greenwood.