Advocates for a proposed Buckhead charter school have more time to resolve concerns about their school plan raised by Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis.
The petition for Atlanta Classical Academy was up for a July 1 vote, but was removed from the agenda at the last minute.
ACA Chairman Matthew Kirby sent an optimistic letter to supporters saying there’s still a chance the BOE may approve the petition.
“Let’s focus on the positives…thank the administration for their willingness to work with us to enhance our plan, and perhaps share how wonderful it would be to offer an option like ACA to Atlanta families,” Kirby wrote to ACA supporters. “In terms of our dialogue with APS, it feels good that lines of communication are open. We are grateful for this opportunity. We have said from the beginning that we intend to have a positive relationship…to be a good partner with APS. I believe we are off to a good start.”
In his earlier recommendation to the board that it should deny the application, Davis said that ACA organizers recommended sharing space with Sutton Middle School.
In an earlier letter to supporters, Kirby disputed this claim. “Our petition made no mention of Sutton,” Kirby wrote. “But it is true that for months, we have been asking APS board members and administrators to have a real conversation with us about excess capacity in existing buildings beginning in 2014.”
The school would be an alternative to other schools in the North Atlanta cluster.
The school would not be part of the International Baccalaureate program used in the other eight North Atlanta schools. It will instead use the Classical Education model, which promotes literacy in Western traditions.
The classical model differs greatly from IB and its multicultural worldview. Kirby describes the Classical Education learning model as a “liberal arts approach that is content driven.” Classical Education is a popular method used by the Christian home school movement. Public charter schools use many of the same concepts but without the emphasis on Christianity.
One of the concerns Davis raised had to do with the school’s “Diversity Plan.” Kirby said the school is committed to enrollment diversity. He also said that as a concession to APS, organizers reduced their launch goal from K-10 to K-8.
“We know that this affects many of you who had hoped to have a second public option for your rising eighth and ninth graders, and we are sincerely disappointed for and with you,” Kirby told supporters. “Though we hated to do it, we felt it was important to concede on this point to show our willingness to be a strong partner.”