Schools Score High for Growth and Service
We asked some of the schools in our area what notable milestones they hit last year on campus and what priority they will put on community service in the 2016-17 school year.
Milestones: The school celebrated the completion of $35 million capital campaign, “The Way. The Hope. The Promise.,” which transformed Marist’s campus for 21st century education. This year, for grades 9-12, Informed Civil Discourse Day is planned for October familiarizing students with a communications philosophy and method that will help them have exchanges on political and other closely felt topics without resorting to accusations or epithets. Logic can be in short supply during election season, as emotion might instead steal the day. Staff are committed to helping students find their voice, but a voice that is civil and informed. Reach Out: Students will be continuing Marist’s commitment to the Terra Project (sustainability) and to those less fortunate through the community service hours and projects executed by students and the entire Marist community.
Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
Milestones: A new greenhouse was built this summer in the STEM Building, which just opened last year. The greenhouse will help students who are studying aquaponics, “a system of aquaculture in which the waste products of farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.”
Reach Out: Community service plans for this year in the Upper School will, once again, include the Great Day of Service. Students, faculty and staff fan out to places all over Metro Atlanta, including Habitat for Humanity, Clifton Ministries, Furkids, Chattahoochee Nature Center, South-View Cemetery, and Books for Africa, to lend a helping hand. Lower School students will this year, work with Stop Hunger Now and Sole Hope, make sandwiches for Emmaus House and the Community Assistance Center and science classes will partner with Global Faith and Service students. Pairings between Upper and Lower school US religion classes and US global studies students will emerge with programs being driven more and more by the students and what speaks to the students’ hearts.
Milestones: The Plus Program for students challenged by Dyslexia and ADHD was added. Outdoor learning facilities were expanded to include more animal life, which had a positive effect on campus life overall, as well as character education and art programing. Ninety percent of Springmont’s Middle School students are accepted into their high school of choice. A Book Club for parents started – with growing attendance each week.
Reach Out: Students continue to support World Water Day. Middle School students partner with the Georgia Department of Transportation through their Adopt-A-Highway program. The Middle School students also are spearheading a clothing recycling project. Each fall all students, Toddler through Middle School, help prepare food, and parent volunteers deliver it to Sandy Springs United Methodist Church before Thanksgiving break. Children also select programs for annual support in keeping with tradition, and non-profits include the Atlanta Humane Society, the American Red Cross, the Chattahoochee Nature Preserve, the World Wildlife Fund and many others.
Milestones: A major building expansion is currently underway at The Davis Academy including a 600+ seat Performing Arts Center, spiritual and community gathering space and multiple flexible learning spaces. A “temporary” unit that served as the Lower School cafeteria for nearly 15 years will be replaced by a state-of-the art permanent dining hall and kitchen. These major enhancements are possible thanks to the generous donors who have participated in the $7.5 million Next Stage Capital Campaign. The Davis Academy, soon to begin its 24th year, is a Reform Jewish day school located in the Sandy Springs/Dunwoody area.
The Cottage School
Milestones: The Cottage School adds 4th and 5th grades for the first time in 30 years. Founded in 1985, The Cottage School is a private, non-profit education center that serves 6th-12th grade students with mild to moderate learning differences, including ADD and anxiety. Students come to TCS when mainstream education is no longer an option. Their differences may cause them to withdraw and often times give up. TCS, while offering the core academic curriculum that meets the Georgia’s graduation standards, offers something that has become priceless for parents – seeing their child thrive because of acceptance and having their challenges understood. With that comes confidence, and builds confidence independence.
Reach Out: TCS is continuing to grow their programs to include the Arts, Technology and Career opportunities that will help the student who may not go on to college, but needs a workforce readiness to reach the independence and success every parent wants for their child. Students at TCS learn in a work environment which teaches accountability, a work ethic and soft skills that will be used for a lifetime.
Milestones: Woodward Academy launched an innovative and wide-ranging new Global Connections program to provide even greater global opportunities for our students. Woodward’s program is unique in that it takes a holistic approach—combining opportunities for study abroad with homestay programs for international students, sister school relationships, and language certification for students. Woodward is the first school in the nation to implement the International Certification testing program for Upper School students in five languages. During Spring Break 2016, a group of 24 Upper School students traveled to Cuba. During this historic trip, students experienced the country after more than 50 years of communism, repression, and economic isolation.
Reach Out: Upper School students devote more than 5,000 hours to service projects annually. Three annual service projects including a canned food drive benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank, fundraiser for The Terranova School, our sister school in Zambia, Africa and A walk-a-thon to benefit our neighborhood Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club. Last year Woodward alone donated 23,000 pounds of food and $19,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Since 1997, the Academy also has donated $500,000 to the Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club and in the last 10 years has raised $225,000 for Terranova.
(Note: Many public schools and some private schools couldn’t be reached for comment at press time, but we would love to hear from you throughout the year. Email the editor at SCollins@LifestylePubs.com with updates, news and event photos)