By Kathryn Brown
While it's certainly disappointing that some recently proposed charter schools did not meet the standards set by the Cobb County Board of Education, this does not affect the ongoing planning grants, property development plans, and petition writing for The Smyrna Academy of Excellence. The founders of SAE maintain that this school will be different than the schools that were not approved.
The Smyrna Academy of Excellence is being created, managed, governed, and led by Smyrna educators, parents, and residents. SAE will never relinquish these responsibilities to any outside organization. The school will be a “campus” with retail, residency, YMCA and Emory involvement, senior living, and a pre-school.
Although the school is still in the early planning stages, there have been some major accomplishments. SAE received an $8,000 planning grant from Georgia Department of Education. Partnerships have been established with Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Southern Polytechnic, and Lockheed Martin.
Next steps include applying for the Innovation Grant “Race to the Top” (November 1, 2011). The board will then file a letter of intent with the Cobb County Board of Education by Feb 1, 2012, followed by a charter petition that is due to Cobb County by May 1, 2012. If all goes according to plan, the board will then petition the State Board of Education in Aug. 2012. An implementation grant from the state will be applied for in March 2013. The Smyrna Academy of Excellence will open K-6 in July 2013.
Although the doors of the school won’t be open for a few more years, The Smyrna Academy of Excellence encourages Smyrna residents to get involved by visiting the website www.smyrnaacademyofexcellence.org to learn more about the school, donate to the school, pre-register children, and schedule subdivision meetings: Informational meetings will be held on the next three Sundays, Oct. 9, 16 and 30 from 4-5 p.m. at Taylor-Brawner Park. SAE will also have a table at the Oct. 22-23 Jonquil Festival.
Kathryn Brown is a member of development committee for The Smyrna Academy of Excellence.