Welcome Back Centennial Academy!

20150803_120642Yesterday was the first day of school for our students over at Centennial Academy. Centennial is beginning its second year as the district’s first conversion charter school in APS, expanding this school year to serve grades kindergarten through 7th.

I stopped in to visit with veteran principal Allison Shelton who was busy making the rounds and ensuring the safety and comfort of her students and staff. With 720 students present on their first day, the school was buzzing with excitement. Students were learning how to transition between classes and participating in team building activities.  The 7th graders looked sharp in their new black uniform shirts.

Principal Shelton took me on a tour of her hot spots within the school and showed me a few facilities issues she was working on and we discussed how they would be fixed and timeline in which they would be addressed.  While these issues may not seem to directly impact academics, a comfortable learning environment that is clean and ready to go on Day One directly impacts the ability for students to learn and teachers to teach.

We stopped by the cafeteria to check out what was on the lunch menu and I tasted the spaghetti, wheat rolls and grilled cheese, all of which were very tasty. The broccoli…well, I think we still need to work on that broccoli. I’ve already reached out to our nutrition department with a few ideas.

Welcome back to our friends at Centennial Academy. I hope you all have a phenomenal school year.

Big Changes at Centennial Place

centennial4Centennial Place Elementary (CPE) opened this school year as the first conversion charter school in APS and welcomed their first 6th grade class to the school.  The 6th graders spent their first two days experiencing “classrooms without walls”, which was a big goal for the leadership team during this conversion.  Students were greeted by Falcons Cheerleaders and several of the school’s governing board members.  

The entire 6th grade class spent two days at Georgia Tech and Georgia Aquarium classrooms working with CPE teachers and Georgia Tech students and being introduced to project-based learning.  These 6th graders actually took classes at Georgia Tech!

Centennial1With the conversion came the changes of new staff.   Over 50% of the teachers are new this year.  They represent a combined 450 years of teaching experience and over 60% of them hold advanced degrees.  As part of the charter’s goals, all teachers will receive math and science endorsements from Georgia State over the next two years and training in project-based inquiry learning from Georgia Tech (PBIL).  There are so many great things happening at Centennial Academy!

I look forward to working with the principal on how we can get more clarity on what it means to be a conversion charter in APS so that we can better support the school.

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