by Michelle Wirth
On Wednesday, September 27, Tapestry Public Charter School celebrated its building expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a performance by the Tapestry High School Band and musical
selections from the Tapestry High School Guitar Class. Remarks were given by the school’s principal Barbara Boone along with Tapestry Board Chair and Founder Tonna Harris-Bosselmann and Board Vice-Chair and Founder Devon Christopher. Student Government President Keyln Smith also spoke.
“This is a new beginning for Tapestry,” said Tapestry Principal Barbara Boone (pictured on the right). “We have grown and grown and grown. We’re marking a new beginning because now it’s all about the future for our students. Tapestry students unlike any other student will leave this school being able to honor and accept neurodiversity like no one else knows how to do. They will be able to navigate the world of neurodiversity, and most of all they are going to be able to support each other in that path.”
The mission of Tapestry Public Charter School is to offer an inclusive, individualized learning environment that is academically engaging, both for neurotypical students and those on the autism spectrum. The school also seeks to create a positive school culture that empowers all students to take possession of their innate talents and become creative builders of their own.
“From this point forward, not only will the school grow but the mission of the school will grow, and gradually the mission of the school will permeate the district, the state and the nation,” said Founder and Board Vice-Chair Devon Christopher. “No longer will segregation be the way we educate students. Instead, we will educate students in an inclusive, supportive environment with appropriate supports and funding from the district, the state and the nation.”
Tapestry Public Charter School was started following a parental grassroots effort that began more than six years ago led by Christopher and Harris-Bosselmann. In 2014, after gaining approval from the DeKalb County Board of Education, the school opened its doors in a local church. Two years ago, the school moved to its current location in Doraville where it occupied half of the building. The other half was rented to another school. However, as the school’s numbers increased it became apparent that more space was needed. This year, the school expanded and now has use of the entire building. The additional square footage has provided students with more classroom space and a new library. Next year, the school will be able to accommodate its first senior class.
“When we started this six years ago there wasn’t a lot of talk about inclusion, and now it’s en vogue. You hear that term a lot more,” said Board Chair and Founder Tonna Harris-Bosselmann. “While this is great, I’m personally looking forward to a post-inclusion world.”
Tapestry leaders say they are preparing for the charter renewal process. The school is also looking into replication so it can become a national model.
Those attending the ceremony included: Director of Charter Schools, School Governance and District Flexibility for DeKalb County Schools Laura Stowell, DeKalb County School District Region 1 Interim Superintendent Sherry L. Johnson, Doraville Mayor Donna Pitman, Doraville City Councilman Robert Patrick, Georgia Charter Schools Association President and CEO Tony Roberts, Georgia Charter Schools Association Vice President of School Services Elisa Falco and Georgia Charter Schools Association Director of Education and Training Jeff Homan.