Enrollment Booms at Andre Agassi School - 8 News NOW

Enrollment Booms at Andre Agassi School

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LAS VEGAS -- Charter schools are becoming a more popular alternative to public or private schools. One Las Vegas charter school has become so popular, there's now a waiting list and lottery just to get a seat.

When Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy opened its doors 11 years ago, it had 150 students. Now, the enrollment has grown to 1,200. The school is located at Martin Luther King and Lake Mead Boulevards, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the valley. When Andre Agassi first looked at the dirt lot, he saw the potential.

"Why here? Because this is where it was needed. There were no schools that were around here that gave students opportunity for great hope," said Principal Dwight Sanders, Andre Agassi Prepatory.

The school started by offering third through fifth grade classes. Over time, the school expanded and now offers kindergarten through high school. The school is now one of the most sought after charter schools in the state.

One of the students who did get in is Kellee Wiggins' daughter.

"It was like winning the lottery. Literally, the lottery. Like you just won a million dollars," Wiggins said.

She wanted her daughter Naomi to attend the school even before she was born.

"It's the academics. It's the expectations that they have for the students. You know that they are going to do great things," she said.

There are some requirements to get into Agassi.

"You have to live within a Two-mile radius. You have first priority there. Students, on free and reduced meals, who have siblings here also get first priority," Sanders said.

In recent years, the school has had to knock down some walls to add student space.

"Sometimes we had to go to the computer closets and say, what if we knock out a wall there? Does that work? Can we add more footage as far as space?

Agassi made sure that at-risk kids in the neighborhood didn't have to pay for anything. Tuition at the school is free and so is lunch. Students have a longer instruction day; they attend for an extra two hours. They also have a shorter summer break by two weeks.

"When I was in school I didn't go to a school like Agassi," Wiggins said.

She is thankful her daughter is getting the opportunity she didn't have.

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