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Published: Wednesday, 8/19/2009

Charter school set to open for talented, gifted

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

French lessons, music, and visiting artists are just some of the offerings L. Hollingworth School for Talented & Gifted will have when it opens next week in the former Sacred Heart Elementary.

The East Toledo charter school, which is sponsored by Richland Academy of the Arts in Mansfield, Ohio, will begin classes Aug. 24 for up to 150 students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Classes will have no more than 20 students each.

"I don't think we ever want to be large or huge," said Terrence Franklin, Hollingworth School executive director. "We want to keep the one-on-one instruction as much as possible."

He added, "We appreciate the opportunity to provide this kind of school to the east side families."

After 120 years, Sacred Heart Elementary closed last spring as part of a consolidation by the Toledo Catholic Diocese in response to declining enrollment and revenues. On Aug. 17, 150 middle school students from Sacred Heart and two other schools started going to Kateri Catholic Academy at Cardinal Stritch High School in Oregon, where they have a designated wing.

Eventually, Catholic education is eastern Lucas County will be consolidated on Cardinal Stritch's campus. For now, though, elementary students will continue going to the former St. Thomas Aquinas in East Toledo and St. Jerome in Walbridge, which have been renamed Kateri Catholic Academy-Toledo Campus and Kateri Catholic Academy-Walbridge Campus, respectively.

Kateri has 625 students for this school year, which is what was budgeted, said Rev. David Reinhart, president of Kateri Catholic School System.

"I think we're moving in a direction that's positive, and that we'll be satisfied over the long haul," Father Reinhart said.

Hollingworth School, meanwhile, has leased space in the former Sacred Heart Elementary at 824 Sixth St. Some of that space will continue to be used by the church and Kateri.

Among other community partnerships, Hollingworth School will benefit from violinists, painters, and other visiting artists who are at Collingwood Arts Center, said Lois Fuller, curriculum director.

"We want the children exposed to all kinds of art, theater, and drama so they start to realize what their talents are," Ms. Fuller said.

Creativity will be incorporated into academics at the school, which also provides special education for those who need assistance, Ms. Fuller said. Students will undergo frequent testing with an interactive computer program so their individual curriculum can be adjusted accordingly, she said.

"That will eliminate frustration and boredom," Ms. Fuller said.

Besides having a French instructor, some of Hollingworth School's seven teachers speak fluent Spanish, which helps with communicating with some of the students' parents, Ms. Fuller said. One teacher was a Russian linguist in the Navy, she said.

The charter school also has a relationship with Kids Unlimited, an after-school program that will provide tutoring assistance and other services, and is exploring a partnership with Lourdes College in Sylvania, Mr. Franklin said. Some Lourdes students could do internships at Hollingworth School, he said.

Having updated technology at the school, which already is wired for Internet access and interactive white boards in classrooms, and student participation in community projects are other key goals, Mr. Franklin said.

Hollingworth School is continuing to enroll students from East Toledo and elsewhere. More details are available at hollingworthschool.com or 419-705-3411.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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