Resurgence Hall Charter School, a state-authorized charter school located in Fulton County, was founded on the belief that all children can achieve regardless of economic circumstances, zip code, race, or home language. In fact, it’s one of the key questions Resurgence Hall Head of School Tori Jackson Hines asks job candidates when she’s interviewing them for a potential teaching position at the school.
“Unfortunately, I find that not everybody holds that belief. That is the heart of it,” says Jackson Hines. “When you have a building full of people who believe that every child can thrive, every child can succeed, it makes you do everything a bit different. That is the core component of what makes us unique.”
Resurgence Hall is in its second year of operation and currently serves children in Kindergarten, first and seventh grades. Students zoned for Atlantic Public Schools or Fulton County Schools are eligible to attend. Jackson Hines says most younger students are eager to learn and come to the school with big dreams. However, a number of older students enter the school doubting their intelligence and questioning whether they can succeed in school. She says educators at Resurgence Hall work to change their negative self-narrative.
“The first shift comes in the children seeing the consistency in all of the adults who believe that they can achieve. Success is not optional, and we will do whatever it takes to help you achieve,” says Hines. “Once they see that consistency and that the expectations never change, they start buying into that belief, and they start turning that into their self-narrative.”
As a result, the public charter school is already seeing positive outcomes. Last year, sixth graders, the school’s first state testing grade, outperformed their neighborhood peers on the Georgia Milestones assessments. 77.4 percent of the school’s students scored at Developing Learner and above on the English Language Arts Milestones. That’s compared to 59.1 percent of Atlanta Public School students and 71.8 percent of students in Fulton County Schools. On the Math Milestones, 83.9 percent of Resurgence Hall sixth graders were at Developing Learner and above. Meanwhile, 64.8 percent of Atlanta Public School students and 75.8 percent of Fulton County students were Developing Learners and above. In reading, Resurgence Hall sixth graders at the school placed 3rd out of 24 State Charter Schools with a score of 77.4 percent. Resurgence Hall also placed 3rd out of 24 State Charter Schools for Math Milestones at 83.9 percent.
Literacy is critical to the mission of Resurgence Hall, which focuses on high school, college, and life-long success for its scholars. The school has committed to 100 percent of students reading at or above grade level by the end of every school year. To achieve that goal, the school currently offers 200 minutes of reading instruction and practice for students on a daily basis. Other focuses include computer science and design thinking, which are intended to help students build critical thinking skills. The school also offers an extended school year, blended learning, and an extended school day.
Jackson Hines wants Resurgence Hall to serve as an example of what schools can truly achieve when they believe academic success for all students is possible.
“I want it to be the proof point. I want those starting other schools to say, ‘if they can do it, we can do it too.’”