Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) is pleased to announce that all of GCSA’s Charter Incubator schools were approved by the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) on Wednesday, July 31. Amana Academy West, Atlanta SMART Academy, Atlanta Unbound Academy and D.E.L.T.A. STEAM Academy were among a group of only six new charter school petitioners the SCSC decided to authorize for the 2020-2021 school year from a total of 22 applicants. Wednesday’s vote marks the second year in a row the State Charter Schools Commission approved all GCSA Charter candidates.
Georgia Charter Schools Association is grateful to the State Charter Schools Commission and members of the SCSC staff for their hard work and careful vetting of charter applicants.
“We’re thrilled the SCSC continues to give their vote of confidence to GCSA Charter Incubator applicants,” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “We believe it’s because our incubator candidates have taken part in a rigorous, year-long training process that successfully prepares them to open and sustain successful schools that put the unique needs of students first.”
“The incubator schools approved by the SCSC are prepared to provide a transformative educational opportunity for children in low-income communities,” said Aarti Sharma, GCSA Vice President of New School Development. “I am grateful for their hard work, dedication, and intelligence. We will continue to make sure all students across Georgia have access to a great education.”
Amana Academy West, Atlanta SMART Academy, Atlanta Unbound Academy and D.E.L.T.A. STEAM Academy received state approval after participating in GCSA’s Charter Incubator program. GCSA’s Charter Incubator is a competitive program that recruits top talent to start charter schools; assists and supports school founding teams throughout the entire charter petition process and provides coaching and professional development to school leaders and governing boards during their first two years of operation. Through this crucial program, Georgia Charter Schools Association is working to ensure more Georgia students of all backgrounds have access to a high-quality public school.
Amana Academy West
Amana Academy West is a replication of the highly successful Fulton public charter school, Amana Academy, in Alpharetta. Amana West will continue to implement the award-winning EL Education model with an emphasis on scholarship, sustainability, STEM, and global citizenship for its students. The school will have a statewide attendance zone with a brick-and-mortar location in the Atlanta Public Schools district. The school plans to open in the fall of 2020 with grades K-3 and add a grade each year up to the 8th grade.
“Building on 14 years of experience operating an award-winning Fulton County charter school, Amana Academy is thrilled to be partnering with the SCSC in establishing a second school in West Atlanta,” said Ehab Jaleel, Founder of Amana Academy West and Executive Director of Amana Academy. “Our participation in the GCSA Charter Incubator program prepared us for this moment, and we are eager to continue our Harvard-based EL Education teaching & learning approach to offer more students a unique educational experience that prepares them to become 21st-century changemakers.”
Atlanta Unbound Academy
Atlanta Unbound Academy (AUA) will be a K-8 school community providing a rigorous, empowering, and culturally relevant education to students in low-income communities in Atlanta. AUA will be an official affiliate and lab school of the Black Teacher Collaborative, which trains teachers to develop transformative learning environments by enabling children to excel intellectually and instill in them the confidence to overcome any challenge they face. The public charter school will create a supportive atmosphere for students that incorporates rigorous academics, builds self-confidence and self-advocacy to transcend narratives meant to stifle their potential, and instills in them the power to become their ancestor’s wildest dreams.
“The SCSC’s recommendation for approval is a momentous yet humbling landmark for AUA,” said Alaina Chipman Leeks, School Founder of Atlanta Unbound Academy. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the SCSC and thankful to the Georgia Charter Schools Association for their continued support starting with the Incubator program and seeing us through the approval. GCSA’s Charter Incubator program prepared me and our board of directors through meaningful coaching and development. AUA will create a supportive atmosphere where students develop the self-advocacy needed to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.”
Atlanta SMART Academy
Atlanta SMART Academy began as a dream more than 10 years ago to bring a different educational opportunity to Southwest Atlanta. Since then, with the support of the parents and community, the founding board has moved forward with the mission to use science, math and the arts to build students into innovative “solutionists.” Atlanta SMART Academy is expected to open in the fall of 2020 with grades 5 and 6. The school plans to grow a grade level each year up to the 8th grade. The vision of the school is to be a conduit from elementary years to high school where students are equipped with the critical thinking skills to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring a high-quality school to students in Georgia that teaches critical thinking through project-based learning. Students will be both challenged and engaged by our school curriculum with a unique emphasis on science, math and the arts,” said Patrice Meadows, Lead Founder of ASA. “Atlanta SMART Academy is extremely thankful for the support of the GCSA incubator program which has been instrumental in helping bring our vision to life. We are grateful for the confidence that the SCSC has placed in us and we look forward to working together for years to come.”
D.E.L.T.A STEAM Academy
D.E.L.T.A STEAM Academy will be a full immersion STEAM school with equal emphasis on Science Technology Engineering and Math and the Arts (STEAM). D.E.L.T.A STEAM is designed to produce the next generation of creative and critical thinkers. DSA plans to open its doors to Kindergarteners and 3rd graders in the fall of 2020.
“We are incredibly excited and deeply grateful for this opportunity to bring a unique, quality K-8 school choice to the students and families of Douglas, South Fulton, South Cobb, and Atlanta Public Schools. Our full STEAM immersion school model is designed to produce the next generation of culturally conscious, critical, and creative thinkers,” said Nikki Grier, D.E.L.T.A. Steam Academy Founder and proposed School Leader, “The support of the GCSA Incubator, Aarti Sharma, and cohort members has been invaluable in this process. We look forward to working closely with both the SCSC and GCSA as we launch a joyfully rigorous learning experience where Deliberate Excellence Leads to Achievement.”
Georgia Charter Schools Association congratulates and hopes to work closely with the two other petitioners approved by the State Charter Schools Commission, Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School and Collegiate Academy of Albany. Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School will utilize a community-based school educational model with a culturally-relevant and project-based curriculum. The school plans to locate in DeKalb County, provide wraparound services, and offer a soccer program for all students. Collegiate Academy of Albany is a tuition-free, college-preparatory public charter school approved to serve students in Albany and the surrounding areas. Upon opening, CAA will become part of the SABIS Network®, a global network of schools that has existed for more than 130 years.