Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Changing the look of inner-city education

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Community


Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence regional vice president Vickie Frazier-Williams, shown with some of the school's students, credits a partnership with the organization 100 Black Men of Las Vegas for much of the academy's success.


No longer is our community overrun with just liquor stores and smoke shops. On corners that were once barren or misused, a new breed of learning institution is leading a quiet but steady revolution in inner-city education. One school making tremendous strides is the Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence, located at 2341 Comstock Drive (one block west of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Carey Street). In an exclusive interview with Black Image, Imagine schools regional vice president Vickie Frazier-Williams shares her thoughts on the positive impact her charter school organization is making in Las Vegas.

Why does the Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence stand out in Nevada?

I think it is because it has community engagement and support for the students we serve. We came to Nevada and established a partnership with the esteemed organization 100 Black Men of Las Vegas. They agreed to partner with us and offer mentoring services to the students at our academy. They’re fully committed to involvement with our charter school and are excited about working with our children.

Vickie Frazier-Williams with students.


How would you describe your curriculum?

The Imagine charter schools have their own standards-based curriculum. This means it is aligned with Nevada’s standards on education. Even though we have flexibility on how and what we teach, it is all based on the Nevada educational standards, which are patterned on the national standards in math, English and science.

What makes your curriculum different?

We are different because we create the actual curriculum that meets all the standards. I would describe it as an interdisciplinary curriculum that offers subjects that are interrelated. We don’t stop to teach English separately from math or science. We help our students integrate all of these subjects together. Our students can leave one of our Imagine charter schools and move right into a Nevada district school — and in some cases move to a higher level.

What attracted the Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence to Las Vegas?

When we heard about all the growth in Las Vegas, I traveled here and it was clear that there was a need for our academy. Much like the educational needs in many urban communities around the country, we … noticed that there were many African-American children who were not being served with a good education like they should be. We wanted to provide parents with a choice for their children. With a district school there are a lot of rules and boundaries that might keep a child from experiencing a good education. Our academy is open to anyone who lives in the state of Nevada.

Is there a fee to attend your academy?

No fee at all. A charter school is like a public school and is funded in the same way traditional schools are funded. The difference is that each individual charter school has its own board of trustees. The thought is that the board of trustees has the ability to be closer to the parents and children they serve. The Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence serves children from 30 different ZIP codes. 

Is it exclusive to African-American students?

No. I think that because we have a partnership with the 100 Black Men of Las Vegas, some people assume that we only serve African-American students. On the contrary, we serve Asian, Latino and African-American students. Some parents want their children to experience a diverse environment. We have two academies in Nevada and are looking to open another school because of demand. It goes from kindergarten to sixth grade. There are 72 Imagine schools around the country, and we service 37,000 students. People can look at us as a nationwide district school.

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