Northridge Academy Leader Among Top 5 Charter School Administrators In State

Northridge Academy Leader Among Top 5 Charter School Administrators In State

Ms. Latricia Brown-Coates, School Leader at Northridge Academy on Flint’s north side has been selected as a finalist in the Michigan Association of Public School Academy’s search for administrator of the year.  Ms. Brown-Coates was selected as a finalist from among 1,000 charter school administrators in the State of Michigan.  The winner will be announced this week.

Ms. Brown Coates has been school leader at Northridge Academy since 2011.  Prior to that, she served as Curriculum Coach at the school for nine months.  During her short tenure, she has transformed a school that merely attained Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) throughout its history, to one that has been designated a Michigan “Rewards” school for the last two years.  By definition, a “Rewards” school is one that is in the top 5% achieving schools as identified from the State’s Top to Bottom list, using the improvement composite index, and schools in the top 5% in the improvement composite index. Northridge Academy is one of the highest ranking schools in the City of Flint on the State’s Top to Bottom list.

The turnabout at Northridge Academy is remarkable in light on all of the odds stacked against it.  It is one of only a hand full of public schools still located on the north side of the city.  It is tucked away in the heart of the inner city in an area that is considered economically deprived.  In fact, 95% of Northridge’s students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

According to the Northridge Academy staff, Ms. Brown-Coates possesses a number of traits that lead to her success.  “The student’s love her.  They’re always going to her office to talk with her.  They’re always hugging on her in the hallways and in the classrooms,” said Jessica Smith, Instructional Coach at the school.  “She has an excellent relationship with our students.”

“She’s looked upon like a mother figure,” Jaton Currie, Behavior Interventionist at the school said.  “She’s fair but firm.”  That characteristic was expounded upon by other staff members:  “She’s fair, she’s funny, and she is good with kids.  She makes sure they know she cares about them, even when they’re facing disciplinary action.”

Ms. Brown-Coates is also held in high esteem by the Northridge Academy staff.  “She allows opportunities for her staff to grow,” Evelyn Hamlett, a math teacher said. “She not only projects a motherly persona to the students, but she has that same caring attitude for her staff.”

Forever humble, Ms. Brown Coates attributes her success to a devoted and dedicated staff and faculty.  “My job is easy when you have a team that is committed to being the best they can be,” Ms. Brown-Coates said. “That attitude filters down into the student body.  My job as a leader is to continue encouraging them and making sure I walk the talk in terms of my own commitment.”

So what accounts for the rapid and dramatic turnabout in Northridge’s academic achievement?  According to Glenita Rubin-Shelton, Data Coach at Northridge, “we work hard on a daily basis on our data-driven instruction.  Using data, staff is able to pinpoint academic deficiencies in each student.  They can, in turn, focus on alleviating those deficiencies through extra work and extra tutoring. The academy also motivates each student to self-manage, that is, to take responsibility for his or her own successes and failures.  This creates increased attention and retention.”

Northridge Academy was recently reauthorized by Ferris State University for five additional years. It is located at 530 West Pierson Road, Flint, on the former St. Agnes Catholic School Campus.  Enrollment is available to any child located in the State of Michigan.  The school is now accepting registrations for enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year.  Additional information can be obtained by calling (810) 785-8811.