State Charter Schools Commission Approves Charter Petitions
ATLANTA, GA - The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) approved petitions for six start-up state charter schools and one state charter school replication at its April board meeting. Commissioners affirmed staff recommendations to authorize DeKalb Brilliance Academy, Miles Ahead Charter School, Liberation Academy, Destinations Career Academy of Georgia, Zest Preparatory Academy Charter School and PEACE Academy. The SCSC also approved a petition for Resurgence Hall Middle Charter School, a replication of the successful Resurgence Hall Charter School. The schools plan to open in the 2022-23 school year.
“I am excited about each one of these new schools and the quality education they will provide the children of Georgia. The mission of the State Charter School Commission is to provide Georgia’s students with educational opportunities that best meet their needs and we feel strongly these new schools will accomplish that mission,” said State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia Chairman Buzz Brockway.
The 2022-23 cohort initially submitted petitions for the 2020 petition cycle, which was suspended due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SCSC resumed the 2020 petition cycle in fall 2020. The full 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 experts 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 voted to approve the seven petitions at the State Charter Schools Commission Board Meeting on April 28, 2021.
“All children deserve access to high quality schools that meet their unique needs,” said State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia Executive Director Lauren Holcomb. “We look forward to supporting these schools and expanding options for Georgia families.”
The SCSC received twenty-one petitions in the 2020 petition cycle. Ten petitioners withdrew from consideration to either further develop their educational plans or to apply for the 2021 cycle after the suspension announcement.
Including the new approvals, the SCSC has authorized 51 state charter schools located throughout the state. 39 schools are currently operational, three are scheduled to open in the 2021-2022 school year and eight are scheduled to open in the 2022-2023 school year. More information about the SCSC, current state charter schools and the 2020 petition cycle is available on the SCSC website.
Information About Newly Approved Schools:
DeKalb Brilliance Academy: DeKalb Brilliance Academy will have a defined attendance zone of the Dealb Country School District and Atlanta Public Schools with a brick-and-mortar location in Dekalb County and serve grades K-8. The school’s educational model utilizes a Project-Based Learning (PBL) model focused on entrepreneurship that approaches literacy through a two-teacher literacy model and provides for multidisciplinary learning opportunities. "Designed with input from nearly 1,000 community members, DeKalb Brilliance Academy will empower students to design a more equitable world. Through Entrepreneurial Project-based Learning, our students will learn academics and social-emotional skills not only from their teachers and peers - but directly from members of the community - scientists, lawyers, engineers, designers, and more. Our founding team is thrilled to receive authorization and is grateful to the SCSC for their continued partnership to make the dream of our school into a reality deserving of our families and students," said Founding Board Chair Courtney Jackson.
Miles Ahead Charter School (MACS): MACS will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in the Cobb County School District and serve grades K-8. The school described their education plan as a unique education plan implemented through the use of a whole child approach, rigorous, joyful, and equitable academic programs, a 21st century learning environment, and an active involved community. “With the SCSC authorization, we are elated to start advancing our unique mission for Georgia’s students,” said Founding Principal Kolt Bloxson “Miles Ahead Charter School was established to educate and prepare K-8 students for the 21st century through a whole child approach to teaching and learning. By focusing on digital citizenship, character education, and deeper learning structures, we have established a place where students can grow and learn with joy and rigor. With the support of the MACS Board, our volunteers, partners, and enrolled families, we look forward to opening our doors August 2022.”
Liberation Academy: Liberation Academy will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location within the Atlanta Public Schools District and serve grades 5-8. Liberation Academy will utilize a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) educational model with a focus on cultural relevancy and relatable content, coding and computer science courses, and extended time in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. “To be authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission is a tremendous honor for me and the board of directors. We are excited about reaching this point in our journey. A good education should not be an exclusive right. We now can provide a quality education to families in need of that option. Thank you to the SCSC for granting us the privilege of this partnership,” said School Founder Brian King.
Destinations Career Academy of Georgia (DCAG): DCAG will have a state-wide attendance zone and serve students in an exclusively virtual setting and serve grades 6-12. The school plans to implement a unique education plan through the use of exclusively virtual, career-focused instruction. “Destinations Career Academy of Georgia is excited to provide a much-needed virtual format for career education that will meet industry demand and provide families with more options,” said Board Chairman Tommy Stephens. “We are grateful to the SCSC and look forward to our partnership to ensure Georgia’s students are ready to enter a globally competitive, 21st century workforce.”
Zest Preparatory Academy Charter School (Zest Prep.): Zest Prep. will have a defined attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in the Douglas County School District and serve grades K-5. The school will utilize educational plan comprised a of college preparatory model offered through extended day instruction, discovery-based learning, individualization, and mastery. "ZEST Preparatory Academy is honored to work with the SCSC in partnership and joining the Douglas County community to bring another high-quality school option to the families of Douglas County. We value instilling the quality and characteristics in the next generation of leaders that will empower them to pursue lifelong educational achievement and become impactful community servants," said School Founder, Monique Carruthers.
PEACE Academy: PEACE Academy will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in the Dekalb County school district and serve grades K-8. PEACE Academy will use Project-Based Learning (PBL) educational model focused on critical thinking, cultural empowerment, restorative justice, and community engagement. "PEACE Academy Charter is a K-8 statewide attendance zoned school located in Southeast Atlanta. PEACE is committed to maintaining an Afrocentric foundation, a rigorous & inclusive academic program grounded in problem-based learning, and strong community partnerships,” said Board Chair Andrea Miller and School Founder, Ebony Payne Brown. “We understand the excellence it takes to engage in the undertaking of opening a school and the responsibility that we have agreed to share in partnership with our students and families. Our Afrocentric foundation will help students continue to build a strong sense of self and see themselves as critical leaders in their community. It is an honor to be given this opportunity and we look forward to working with our families to build a loving, self-aware, inclusive community of excellence at PEACE."
Resurgence Hall Middle Charter School: Resurgence Hall Middle Charter School will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in the Fulton County School District and serve grades 5-8. This school is a replication of Resurgence Hall Charter School which has an education model that includes several innovations that prepare scholars to be successful in the 21st century, including design thinking and computer science curriculum that begins in kindergarten, and a two-teacher push-in literacy intervention model that provides over 200 minutes of literacy instruction each day. "Resurgence Hall deeply believes that all children deserve access to an excellent education. We are honored by the SCSC's confidence in our ability to further expand, providing more high-quality seats for families seeking our game-changing program," said School Founder and Leader, Tori Jackson Hines.
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.