New West Alabama school makes history

Published: Aug. 13, 2018 at 2:23 PM CDT
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History has been made in West Alabama. The state's first rural charter school opened Monday in Sumter County. University Charter School serves students in pre-kindergarten through the 8th grade. With 309 students registered, the head of UCS says school officials will focus a great deal on forming relationships.

"Our main expectation this year is to form relationships," says Dr. J.J. Wedgworth, who is the head of UCS. "To meet all these families and students and have them trust us and know that we're going to love and take care of their kids every day. That's our expectations this year."

Aside from building strong relationships, Dr. Wedgworth says the school will focus on a rigorous curriculum.

"We run a place space model," says Wedgworth. "So, we're grounded in our community. So, the kids learn a lot about where they are and where they live. With that, we push out a project based, hands on curriculum and the kids get to have lots of innovative hands on experiences."

Doctor Wedgworth goes on to say that UCS is a high quality, diverse option for its students. Most of them come from Sumter County, however, there are some from neighboring counties such as Marengo, Choctaw and Greene.

"I think a charter school allows you a lot of flexibility," says Wedgworth. "So, we're able to meet the needs of the student and personalize the experience for every student."

Here are a few other facts about UCS:

- It is the 2nd charter school to open in Alabama; the first was in Mobile.

- It has 18 full-time teachers

- About a dozen part-time and adjunct instructors

- Many University of West Alabama students, who are majoring in education, will do their student teaching at the school.

At last check the Sumter County Public School District was planning to appeal a recent judge's order which allowed UCS to open. SCSD officials contend that the school district sold the University of West Alabama the old Livingston High building with a stipulation that another school could not open there.