The Athens City School Board approved the plan to designate themed academies at the system’s four elementary schools. In the Fall of 2018, Athens Elementary will become a Computer Science Academy. Brookhill will focus on Fine Arts and Julian Newman will target Health and Medical. Beginning in fall 2017, SPARK Academy at Cowart Elementary will be a complete STEM academy for all students. A fourth theme, Environmental Studies, will remain open for future development should another K-3 school be built in Athens.
Students will be assigned to the school within their designated school zone; however, students may apply for enrollment at a different academy. Acceptance at an academy outside the zoned school will be based on space availability.
“Each elementary will continue teaching to the same standards. The difference is that these standards will be taught through academy specific themes,” said Holladay. Students will receive the instruction that they always have with the added bonus of having projects and activities focused on the theme of their school.
Four academy themes were recommended to the Superintendent following a collaborative process that involved teachers, parents, and school leaders. To garner input, surveys were distributed to the community and a public meeting was held.
Now that the academies have been named, each school will form an advisory committee consisting of membership from teachers, parents and community partners. This committee will work together to help create a defined vision and specific details that align with the school’s theme.