Smyrna Academy of Excellence Public Charter Request
Walton High is an EXCELLENT PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL. The Cobb Board of Education renewed Walton Public Charter School’s charter without much ado, while on the other hand asking “what is your difference?” to the petitioners with Smyrna Academy of Excellence. Starting with the fact that funding, accountability, zone free admission, required parent involvement, and curriculum development latitude provides difference for any charter school, lots. Walton included, those differences create fertile ground for innovation and engagement not afforded traditional public schools. Walton’s charter for instance, is focused specifically on students with deliberate college aspirations. Lynda Crowder-Eagle continually questioned the Smyrna Academy of Excellence petitioners on the necessity of charter petitions, only later to admit not understanding laws related to public charter schools. She asked the retained legal expert from Brock and Clay if she would help the board get a general grasp of research regarding the differences charter schools can make. Setting the glaring issue of “educational liberty” and “local control” aside for a moment, Ms. Crowder Eagle’s admission is commendable and yet alarming. It suggests that the lack of foundational understanding is either strategically deliberate, or, the result of inadequate board development. Voting on any school’s charter without being briefed by unbiased education researchers is indeed an urgent priority. Would you give your retirement funds to an investor who didn’t understand bonds? Would you trust their decision making with your money?
Leading By Example?
Alison Bartlett’s question about the racial makeup of Smyrna Academy of Excellence’s leadership was hopefully nothing more than wishful thinking for the future of Cobb County School District’s racial makeup. With both Alice Stouder, Deputy Superintendent of Leadership and Learning, and Mike Addison, Chief Financial Officer leaving their posts in the CCSD perhaps well see a representative, qualified , and effective senior staff that is the kind of leadership Ms. Bartlett expects of Smyrna Academy of Excellence. For those who care, and to be fair to them, the Board of Directors of Smyrna Academy of Excellence is well represented with black americans and hispanics. Those issues pale compared to what really matters. Allowing all parents, regardless of race or economic ability to have choice for an education of quality that leads to opportunities, will heal a myriad of racial woes. School choice is a civil rights issue.
Smyrna Academy of Excellence has identified Austell as the possible home of the Academy. A name change may be probable. Reports that the graduation rates in Southern South Cobb hover around 50% makes their plan for expanded learning opportunities for students auspicious. The final vote on their charter is to occur this Thursday, the 28th with public comments starting at 7:00 p.m.
Speaking of Expanded Learning Opportunities
Dr. Judith Jones, Chief Academic Officer is looking at some in classroom innovations you education reform minded thinkers have been discussing on Patch. Past Patch posts have mentioned using more technology tools in and out of the classroom for delivering lessons. Using more knowledgeable others as resources to enhance in classroom instruction is an important part of blended education. Dr. Jones acknowledged some risk taking, innovative teachers who have “flipped the classroom” by making use of online video via Khan Academy. Stay tuned for more about that and check with Smyrna’s City Library to learn more about online delivery of instruction from FREE sources like Khan Academy.
Middle School Alert!
Did you know that Campbell Middle Schools Gymnasium and associated classroom space was closed last year? Campbell Middle School is slated for SPLOST3 funded modifications of $4,252,900.00 by Classic Plains Construction llc of Marietta Georgia. The project replaces the HVAC system in the Gymnasium and its classrooms within.
The item was moved to discussion and the Facilities and Technology committee will review for recommendations. If you are a Campbell Middle School fan, remember, oftentimes, the only wheel that gets oil is the squeaky one. Post 2 Board Member Tim Stultz is advocating for for the project. (Campbell Middle is part of Tim’s purview) Aside from the school needing the classroom space, our investment in it’s infrastructure needs to be maintained. Moreover, in face of the rise of obesity related health issues in teens, supporting physical education and sports participation in schools is crucial. Let’s not flush our tax dollars spent to build Campbell Middle down the drain? Maintenance is elementary!
This reminds me that I need to check back with SPLOST Project Director Doug Shepherd on the status of approve Argyle Elementary renovations.
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