Reprint from The Champion I thought folks might enjoy...
Academy designed to help students become leaders
by Jonathan Cribbs
DeKalb County’s third charter school in two years will open in the fall in Lithonia: The Leadership Preparatory Academy, an elementary and middle school designed to instill leadership skills in students.
The school, which received its charter earlier this month, will be led by Frankie Callaway, a former DeKalb County School System deputy superintendent for administration, who retired in July after a 36-year career as an educator.
The school, which has been in the works since 2008, will open in the fall to grades kindergarten through fifth, expanding by another grade each year until the eighth grade, Callaway said. The school expects to enroll about 300 students in its first year, adding between 50 and 60 each year after, said Lonnie
Hall, a parent who helped organize the school.
It would be open to anyone living within the county’s borders, Callaway said. The school would meet all state educational and curriculum requirements, leadership teaching would be infused into the instruction, she said. Students will be taught from learned texts such as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a widely known book by business professor and author Stephen Covey. His book tells readers to, among other things, be proactive, visualize the end result of goals and learn the principles of integrity.
“It’s something we have always worked on in DeKalb but not to this level,” Callaway said. Prior to a similar charter school opening in North Carolina recently, Hall said the closest school with a similar goal and curriculum was in Virginia. “It doesn’t exist anywhere (in Georgia),” he said. “There was an opportunity that (organizers knew) we could be missing in terms of preparing children at the grade school level for the challenges they will be facing in the early part of the 21st century.
… Every child, we believe, can be a leader. But there’s not much opportunity left to develop those other skills that a child will need once they complete their secondary school education. Being educated and being prepared are two different
The school is hiring personnel, including teachers, and will open off Evans Mill Road in eastern DeKalb County near Interstate 20, inside a vacated academy, Hall said. Two fellow charter schools will also open their doors to students this fall: The Museum School of Avondale Estates and Peachtree Hope Charter
Both were denied charters through the DeKalb County Board of Education but reapplied through the state’s charter school office – an appeal of sorts – and received their charters. These sorts of disagreements over home rule and state control over local money have sparked a lawsuit between several metro Atlanta school systems, including DeKalb, and the state Department of Education that has yet to be resolved.
The Leadership Preparatory Academy’s charter was initially denied in 2008, Hall said, because board members did not doubted the school was original enough. When the organization reapplied the next year, the board approved it, he said. If the school proves successful, Callaway said, it could expand through 12th grade.
“We want every child to believe that they can accomplish,” she said.