The Georgia State Charter School Commission today unanimously approved the state charter application of the Brookhaven Innovation Academy (“BIA”) charter school. This initially K-6 state charter school will open its doors to an expected 420 students in the metro Atlanta region in the 2016-17 school year and grow by one grade per year over the next two years until it reaches full enrollment of 540 students in grades K-8. As a member of the BIA Board I wanted to share our good news and provide some details about our new school.
Student enrollment will be based on a lottery system and Bates Mattison, our BIA Board Chair, explained the expected student body makeup of the school and our community outreach efforts: “Because we will have a state-wide attendance zone, we expect our student body will mirror the demographics of existing public schools in Brookhaven, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Doraville, Chamblee, and DeKalb County. For instance, the traditional public schools in our area serve a significant number of Hispanic students. Through our collaboration with the Latin American Association and other direct service organizations, we will have a strong outreach program to Hispanic families, as well as all other populations in our area. All interested families will be encouraged to take a close look at what we can do for their students.”
The BIA program will be facilitated by teachers with the flexibility to both individualize and personalize a student’s learning and has these design principles at the core of the program:
- Teacher-led and student-centered
- 225 day school year
- Extended school day
- High expectations for all students who assume personal responsibility for their learning
- Clearly defined and monitored performance goals for each student
- Blended learning curriculum as the core, constantly adjusted based on regular assessments (Blended learning is an education program that delivers instruction, in collaboration with the teacher, through digital and online media, allowing the student some control of time, place, path, or pace)
- Compass Learning as the core curriculum which allows for individualized adjustment based on regular assessments of the students’ needs. Compass Learning is used by more than 10,000 schools nationwide to educate 2 million students and has a strong track record of success
- Use of Renzulli Profiling and playlists to further personalize the curriculum for each student
- One-to-one Chromebooks with home internet access
- Average of one hour a day of STEM-focused project-based learning
- Coding as part of the core curriculum from kindergarten onward
The above, of course, is just an outline. For more detailed information on BIA and how its success can provide a road map for the future of public education in Georgia, visit our web site at http://brookhaven.education/index.html.