Charlotte non-profit expands after school program into private school aimed at tackling achievement gap

Innovative Learning Incorporated started as a before and after school program in 1998
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 4:51 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte non-profit with a passion for education is expanding its services.

Innovative Learning Incorporated started as an after-school and before-school program for K-8 children in 1998.

Since then, Executive Director Belinda Colter added tutoring services and took the leap of faith on January 4 by starting a preschool and private school for children in kindergarten and first grade.

Even though she’s expanding, she wants families to know they are still here for them for tutoring and other services for all students in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

“We are set for K-8 so I can still take school-aged children from CMS and children that are in the academy will also be able to of course attend because they’re already here so we’re still extending it out to any children that would like to attend our after school,” Colter said.

Right now a total of six children are enrolled in both programs and Colter’s goal is to have at least 40 students.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in the pre-school academy or private school, click here.

COVID forced schools to turn to virtual learning last year which put many students behind.

“There really were things that children missed and weren’t able to grasp but teachers had to forge forward,” Colter said.

She recognizes the challenges and learning losses some students faced as a result of virtual learning and pandemic stress. That’s one of the main reasons she’s opting for smaller class sizes so students get more personalized support.

“We do an assessment to see where they are and then we start filling those gaps and start working through any challenges that they’ve had or things that they missed,” she said.

In-person learning does mean close contact but Colter says they’re maintaining strict COVID-19 protocols including temperature checks and mandatory masks.

“Every week the parents have to fill out a symptoms screener, every day the rooms are sanitized,” she said.

Scholarships are available and the preschool is accepting vouchers.

“We’re trying to make sure that those parents are able to bring them so that they have a consistent place to bring their children every single day where they can receive a great education,” she said.

Once Innovative Learning reaches full capacity classes will have a maximum of 10 to 12 students.

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