Westside Academy II
The commercial corridor along W. Lisbon Avenue has expanded along the inner city and is now home to a multitude of businesses, including Supreme Foods, Family Dental Center, Lisbon Avenue Health Center, and the famous Amaranth Bakery & Cafe. Owned and operated by David Boucher, the cafe has a history of being a gathering place in the neighborhood, which strengthens the social fabric of the area, and Dave also has a history of community involvement.
Westside Academy II is located on N. 36th Street and plans to expand and add a community learning center. This expansion has been a major catalyst for new housing construction on the surrounding blocks. There is a high level of resident commitment to improving their neighborhood's quality of life, and the overall goal is to preserve Washington Park's character and build upon traditional development patterns and existing assets.
As a school, Westside Academy II is dedicated to providing fundamental education or students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The goal is to emphasize the mastery of basic and higher-order thinking skills in the areas of math, reading, writing, and science. They provide a highly structured environment that incorporates the arts and technology. Westside develops the skills and attitudes necessary for the students to become productive and successful citizens by maintaining a cooperative and collaborative effort between parents and the community. Westside also boasts a variety of after-school programs like Project Lead the Way and the Community Learning Center, designed to keep kids busy and productive in a safe environment.
The Community Learning Center helps students with homework and supervises various activities, such as gym time, cheerleading, basketball, and volleyball. Students in the Community Learning Center program also have access to the media center and technical lab. Alison Pelsis, a teacher at the school for 13 years, said that the program is typically run by paraprofessionals who also teach at the school during normal hours. Every day, they facilitate positive interaction between teachers and students through the program. Pelsis also said that most of the students in her fourth grade class are African-American and come from a poorer part of the neighborhood. At Westside Academy II, faculty, parents, and community members work together to provide the students with a safe and supportive environment in which to learn.