By Danielle McCarthy Everett, Correspondent
Nolan Creek School, an open-enrollment public charter school in Belton, will soon wrap up its first full school year. As summer vacation quickly approaches, Principal Ken Wiseman said he is looking forward to seeing the school expand in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. Wiseman said the school currently serves a handful of students and he is aiming to enroll a total of 100 to 150 students in grades K-5 for the upcoming school year. So far, about 70 students have already enrolled and registered.
“The thing that sets us apart (from other area schools) is we are able to focus on what the child’s cognitive strengths are and craft the instruction so that it is helping them be as successful as they can be,” Wiseman said, describing what is attracting families to the school.
With more about 20 years of teaching and administrative experience, Wiseman said he recognized a need in the Belton area for a charter school that could offer a personalized learning experience in a smaller classroom environment, relative to the average public school. Through a Georgetown-based private nonprofit organization called Orenda Education, Nolan Creek School first opened its doors in August 2016. The school shares the Belton Christian Youth Center’s building at 505 E. Ave. C and school officials have plans to open the school to students in grades K-12 within the next few years. Students living in the Belton, Temple, Killeen and Salado school district boundaries are all eligible to enroll.
While the school only serves elementary school students at this time, future plans for the school include enrolling 250 elementary school students, 150 middle school students and 200 high school students.
“We’re a small school and it’s an advantage, educationally,” Wiseman said.
In addition to the school’s emphasis on personalized learning, Wiseman said the school also has a “citizen-scholar” emphasis. Students and staff make a point of cleaning up after themselves, sweeping the floors, picking up trash and more.
“I want our students to grow up with a sense of responsibility for their community,” Wiseman said. “The quality of a community is based on the quality of its citizens, so we all need to be aware of our responsibility and our position for that.”
Parents who are interested in learning more about Nolan Creek School are invited to attend a community meeting at the school on Tuesday, May 16 from 6 to 7 p.m. Wiseman will give families more information and a tour of the school, as well as give more information on the history and purpose of charter schools. More information is also available online at www.nolancreekschool.org.