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New African heritage charter school to open inside Huntley Elementary School

Posted at 8:38 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 21:38:27-05

APPLETON (NBC 26) — Come August, the Appleton Area School District will welcome a groundbreaking new charter school centered around African heritage.

  • The Appleton Area School District is introducing a new charter school called The Ọmọladé Academy focuses on African heritage.
  • The academy offers a culturally diverse environment and an African-centered curriculum open to all students.
  • Specific plans, including enrollment and teacher recruitment, are still being developed.
  • The academy will be located within Huntley Elementary School in Appleton.
  • The K-3rd grade school is set to open in August.

The Ọmọladé Academy, a K through 3rd-grade charter school has found a new home

Tori McNeil, with African Heritage Inc., an Appleton-based non-profit shared details of the new academy.

"It's a culturally diverse environment with an African-centered curriculum, open to all students," she explained. "It's a place where students can have a village," she said.

McNeil says the charter school will also focus on family engagement and have a holistic approach to education. "We'll teach subjects ranging from science, technology, engineering, reading, math, entrepreneurship, [and] arts," she added.

Dr. Bala Delano, Professor of Education at St. Norbert College, is an advocate for the academy.

"For years, many families have asked for us to develop or they've always wanted the idea of a school model that takes an African-centered approach and integrates quite a number of content areas," said Dr. Delano.
Out of the 15,000 students enrolled in AASD, only 5% are black, according to the district.

McNeil says Ọmọladé, which means "child of the crown," in the African Yoruba language, can help students have a space where they feel represented and learn from others they relate to outside of their family.

"Just having that village having that safe space, and just really meeting students where they are and just capitalizing off of that," McNeil adds.

Funded by a federal grant, the charter school received a planning grant for five years.

Plans for the school, including student enrollment and teacher recruitment, are still evolving.

However, the school's home will be within Huntley Elementary School in Appleton, utilizing empty classrooms in its own wing of the building.

The Ọmọladé Academy is set to open its doors in August, initially serving K through 3rd-grade students, with hopes to expand to fifth grade in the future.

The academy is currently accepting applications. Click here for a link to the AASD online charter school application.