STATE CHARTER SCHOOLS COMMISSION APPROVES NEW SCHOOLS

September 28, 2016

ATLANTA - The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) today announced that it approved petitions for five new state charter schools to open in the 2017-18 school year. The schools are DREAM Academy, Genesis Academy for Boys, Genesis Academy for Girls, Resurgence Hall, and the School for Arts-Infused Learning (SAIL).

“The five new schools the SCSC approved will enrich the lives of Georgia’s students by providing unique educational opportunities that might not be offered in a student’s traditional school setting,” said Executive Director Bonnie Holliday.

Applications for the 2016 petition cycle were submitted to the SCSC in May. The petition review process includes an initial staff review of the petition for general legal compliance and an in-depth panel interview with staff, commissioners, and expert third party reviewers in the fields of finance, education, law and policy. Interview panels make recommendations to SCSC commissioners to approve or deny petitions and commissioners vote upon those recommendations. Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the five petitions at the State Charter Schools Commission meeting on August 31, 2016.

The SCSC received 22 petitions in the 2016 petition cycle – the largest number of petitions ever received in a SCSC petition cycle. Five of the petitions were ineligible for review due to legal compliance issues, eleven withdrew their petitions from consideration to further develop their educational plans, and one petition was subsequently approved by a local school district.

Since its inception in 2013, the SCSC has authorized 30 state charter schools located throughout the state. 23 schools are currently operational and six are scheduled to open in the 2017-18 school year. More information about the SCSC, current state charter schools and the 2016 petition cycle is available on the SCSC website. 

Information About Approved Schools:

DREAM Academy: DREAM Academy will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in Macon-Bibb County and serve grades K-10. The school plans to implement an arts and music-integrated curriculum through partnership with the Otis Redding Foundation. The school aims to integrate arts into project-based learning experiences to allow students to develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of academic subjects. DREAM Academy Founding Board Member Karla Redding-Andrews notes that “DREAM Academy offers a unique curriculum that blends music and the arts in core classes every day and will be the first of its kind in the state of Georgia.”

Genesis Academy for Boys: Genesis Academy for Boys will have a statewide with a brick-and-mortar location in Atlanta Public Schools and serve grades K-10. The school will be a single-gender charter school that provides a rigorous, college preparatory program. Genesis Academy for Boys will offer an extended day, week and year educational program and use a multidisciplinary system featuring Project Based Learning as well as emphasis on STEM subjects. The school will focus core-discipline instruction on applied, relevant work as well as the unique needs of boys.

Genesis Academy for Girls: Genesis Academy for Girls will have a statewide with a brick-and-mortar location in Atlanta Public Schools and serve grades K-10. The school will be a single-gender charter school that provides a rigorous, college preparatory program. Genesis Academy for Girls will offer an extended day, week and year educational program and use a multidisciplinary system featuring Project Based Learning as well as emphasis on STEM subjects. The school will focus core-discipline instruction on applied, relevant work as well as the unique needs of girls. Genesis Academy for Boys and Genesis Academy for Girls founder Gavin Samms commented on the SCSC’s approval of both schools, saying “We believe our model - which will push scholars to be innovative and entrepreneurial thinkers and problem solvers - will inform the way public schools address long-standing educational inequities and ensure academic and life success for all students.”

Resurgence Hall: Resurgence Hall will have a Fulton County brick-and-mortar location and attendance zone serving grades K-8. The school will offer an educational program with an emphasis on computer science, design-thinking and literacy. Specifically, the school will offer 200 minutes a day of literacy instruction using a two-teacher push-in literacy model. Other innovations include blended learning as well as an extended day and extended year. School founder Tori Jackson Hines added that Resurgence Hall believes “that every child -regardless of race, class, and life circumstance - deserves the opportunity to grow into their best and brightest self.” Additionally, the school “looks forward to providing an excellent education that prepares and propels every student for success in high school, college, and beyond.”

SAIL: School for Arts-Infused Learning: SAIL: School for Arts-Infused Learning will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in Columbia or Richmond County. The school will promote arts-infused learning and student collaboration through all areas of learning, performing, communicating, and school-wide projects. The school will maintain a robust fine arts program that will offer music, art, drama, and dance to all students in every grade by specialists in each field with the goal of utilizing the arts to draw connections with real world experiences. In addition to providing an arts-infused core curriculum, the school will offer: foreign language instruction to all students each day; physical education for students multiple times a week that includes lessons from core and fine arts classes; multiple year looping; and lessons regarding use and problem-solving with technology. SAIL Board Chairperson Kristy Zgol said, “We are honored that the State Charter School Commission of Georgia has given our school, SAIL: School for Arts-Infused Learning, the green light to bring a unique and engaging arts-infused educational opportunity to the Augusta area and surrounding counties. Our community has shown tremendous support in our efforts to bring a charter school to this area., and now we are ready to get to work.”

The SCSC is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The mission of the SCSC is to improve public education by authorizing high quality charter schools that provide students with better educational opportunities than they would otherwise receive in traditional district schools. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, non-renew, or terminate state charter school petitions in accordance with Georgia law.

###

Contact Information: 
Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director, bonnie.holliday@scsc.georgia.gov