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Our A Education Guide +

Make the most of your child’s school years using the resources and information in our annual school guide.

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Will Kids Learn Cursive Today?

60

Real-World Reality in School Curriculums

34 36

Learning Styles

65

Guide to Private Schools

Foreign Language Immersion

40

Get Ready for Preschool

52 Choosing the

Right School for Your Child

56

Public School Profiles

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Special Advertising Section

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Learn About Psycho-educational Testing

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Keep Kids on Track in School

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Sampling of Private Schools

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 29


Is Cursive Disappearing? Atlanta Area Schools Share Their Approaches to Cursive Writing Instruction by Courtney Riggin

Will my child learn cursive in school? Do I want him or her to? Knowing how Atlanta’s schools address cursive writing instruction can help answer these questions and more.

Benefits of Cursive Whatever your experience of cursive, it’s important to know that the process of writing by hand is helping your child’s physical and cognitive development in ways that may not be immediately obvious. For some students, cursive may boost academic performance. Susan Orloff of Children’s Special Services says cursive is preferable for young children and certain learners because it naturally

30 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

In 2010, states began to implement The Common Core State Standards to help create consistency in student learning across states. Despite extensive coverage of keyboarding and some early handwriting principles, these standards did not include cursive handwriting, and people reacted. What followed was a widespread debate about the usefulness and relevance of teaching cursive in today’s increasingly techfriendly and time-strained classrooms. In Georgia, cursive never formally left the state requirements. Pamela Smith, Georgia DOE director of Curriculum and Instruction, says states that adopted the Common Core were allowed to include some of their own standards, so Georgia added the same cursive standards the state had previously used to the curriculum of third and fourth grades. Smith clarifies that allotted instruction time, resources, and curriculum are decisions left to each school or district. In Atlanta Public Schools, Mariama Tyler Jenkins, director of External Affairs, said that these decisions are not made by the

sequences the motions of writing and groups letters in a word, making it less labor intensive for many students. At least seven physical and cognitive processes are happening simultaneously when writing a single word. When cursive is mastered, these motions can work together and more attention can be focused on what is being written rather than the act of writing. Studies have shown that children in younger grades may be able to write faster and more

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creatively when writing in cursive versus print. The whole-word visual cursive creates may result in more fluent readers and writers, as well as more accurate spellers. The process of writing sight words, vocabulary words, and spelling words in cursive creates a visual and neural pathway. With these neural pathways for reading and writing deeply established, students may perform better on skills required across the curriculum and throughout their school years.

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district but left up to each individual school. Each school can decide how much emphasis to put on cursive instruction and there’s no state measure to ensure students are gaining the skill. A lot depends on each school’s unique circumstances, resources, and the administration’s views on cursive. Dr. Kenneth Proctor, principal of Sarah Smith Elementary, an Atlanta charter school, says that “because of the research on handwriting and the brain connections to learning to read, we saw a need to re-focus on [cursive].” They allow as much time as possible for instruction and practice. Group instruction takes about 30-45 minutes of class time per week and students “practice independently for approximately 10-15 minutes per day.”

Starting Before Third Grade? Although the standards require initiating instruction by third grade, some schools begin introducing cursive sooner. Smith says that in her 40 years of teaching, she has found that “Children are excited to learn cursive. They can’t wait to get to it, so some schools choose to introduce cursive in the spring of second grade.” Sarah Smith Elementary is one of those schools. But while public schools are beginning cursive instruction in or just before the third grade, some Atlanta-area schools are embracing cursive instruction as Percentage of parents say students entered school. children should learn to read Montessori schools believe and write in cursive. this is the most productive Only 45 percent of parents route. Dr. Myesha Green, a say they regularly write in lead primary teacher at Arbor cursive and 7 percent say Montessori School, explained they never do. that cursive is a more natural Source: Seattle Times poll transition for young children because the looped and circular motions of scribbles are already quite similar to the key motions and shapes of cursive letter formations. Green says beginning handwriting instruction with cursive significantly reduces the instances of children struggling with letter reversals. An added benefit, she says, is that many children find it faster and easier to distinguish one word from the next. Montessori isn’t alone in this approach. Susan Orloff, owner of Children’s Special Services and an occupational therapist whose specialty is programs for children who learn differently, says many European countries teach cursive as the first (and sometimes only) form of handwriting, because research shows cursive handwriting is a key step in cognitive development, especially for young children. Orloff, who has helped many students learn cursive and improve their writing skills, points out that “cursive takes away the need to worry about spacing” and that the frequent start-and-stop motion of printing is more challenging for young children and certain learning styles. Brooke Hight, director of Teaching and Learning at The Westminster Schools, says the school has found “some children who had difficulty with their fine motor skills were able to write more legibly with the flow of cursive writing.” Rather than working so hard to create the right amount of space between every letter paired with the constant pick-up-put-down motion of the pencil, the letters are already connected and grouped. Only whole words need to be spaced.

Cursive at Home If your school doesn’t teach cursive writing, here are a few options for learning at home.

n  Cursive Writing Wizard. Kids can trace letters and words directly on the screen with this app. Fun sounds and colors plus animated accents and interactive portions post writing. ITunes, $4.99.

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n  The Kid O “Magnatab”. Grab the stylus pen that pulls the beads to the surface with a solid click revealing your creation of uppercase and lower case cursive letters. Ages 3 and older. Available on Amazon, $29.99. n  Make your own Montessori-style tracing cards by writing each letter on a square of sandpaper. n  Start off with Spectrum Cursive Handwriting Book to teach uppercase and lowercase letters to kids while exposing them to academic vocabulary. Practice connecting letters, in words, and in sentences using the entire alphabet. To help learn to write with rhythm and joining words together with speed try, Improving Cursive Writing. Both $7.99 and available at schoolbox.com. n  Summer programs for cursive writing:

W.I.N. camp, a program offered by Susan Orloff of Children’s Special Services, is “12 very succinct hours that take children into the cursive world” in a fun and engaging way, using games and entertaining interactions. childrens-services.com The Atlanta Speech School offers summer handwriting groups that include Prewriting Readiness, Handwriting Readiness, and a 6-week Beginning Cursive group. atlantaspeechschool.org

Cont’d on page 32

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 31


Is Cursive Disappearing? Pros and Cons of Cursive

There are countless reasons human beings put words to paper

(or word processors), with scenarios ranging from lecture note-taking to shopping lists to social communication to artistic endeavors to various career purposes, and there are just as many styles to go with those scenarios.

Numerous studies have shown that strong handwriting instruction may be directly linked to more fluent reading and writing, improved spelling, and better overall reading comprehension. Classical Education recognizes both the functional and aesthetic value of cursive, says Dr. T. O. Moore, principal of the Atlanta Classical Academy. “We find that [practicing] cursive can improve the legibility of students’ handwriting, not only in its cursive form but retroactively by improving students’ printing.” Surprisingly, he says, “This especially seems to be the case with boys.” But he says the “ultimate reason for teaching cursive is that it is beautiful” and it has a heritage: “When one looks back into the actual letters written by people in the past, especially historical figures, one finds that people took pride in their ‘hand,’ as it was called.” Still, not everyone agrees that cursive is a productive use of time for every student in every classroom. The SAE School, a fairly new project-based learning school in Mableton, emphasizes handwriting and

engages students in many brain-based, hands-on strategies for learning manuscript, but they only teach students to sign their names in cursive. Their multisensory approach creates neural images of the words to bolster reading, spelling, and writing fluency through manuscript, and gives students a little taste of the flow and form of cursive, maybe enough that they could teach themselves if they want to master it.

Individualized Instruction The Midtown International School (MIS) takes a different approach: handwriting instruction tailored to each student. Ande Noktes, MIS School Head and Founder, says “writing has the sole purpose of being able to communicate what’s in our minds” and with communication as the goal, “teaching handwriting (and typing) the same way to all students does not move each learner closer to being an effective communicator.” Because of this belief, MIS teaches cursive to students who “will benefit most from the mechanics of this style” and teaches manuscript to other students. There are even some who “learn typing very early,

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as that will be their most effective means of communication.” The Westminster Schools take a similar approach, teaching students all three forms and allowing them to choose their preferred method by third grade. Most schools don’t (and can’t) take such an individualized approach, but Noktes’ method taps into something profound yet simple. This debate is raging because getting words into print form is a personal thing. There are countless reasons human beings put words to paper (or word processors), with scenarios ranging from lecture note-taking to shopping lists to social communication to artistic endeavors to various career purposes, and there are just as many styles to go with those scenarios. Moore says he “questions the logic” of schools choosing one form of communication instruction over the other. “Just because we use computers does not mean we do not need to learn how to write,” he says. And when it comes to the question of children learning print or cursive, many educators are asking: Why not just teach both? Then students can decide which form helps them perform their best, once given all the tools. After all, human communication is still vital even in our modern culture, so what harm is there in generating students who have as strong a literate foundation as possible? c

Getting Ready to Write n  Infants: Crawling strengthens and develops muscles critical to early fine motor foundations. n  Toddlers and Preschoolers: Engage children in lots of (safe) scissor practice, Play-Doh pounding and molding, pipe cleaner creations, finger plays, lacing and beading toys, scribbling, and tweezer counting games. Many preschool board games help fine motor development, such as the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel and Willy’s Wiggly Web. n  Preschool, Kindergarten, and Early Elementary Students: Because a child’s corticospinal tract (which connects the brain to the fingers) is not fully developed until age 10 or later, it’s important to focus on core strength, motor skill development, and keep practicing handwriting throughout the elementary years. Several activities that can assist include games such as Operation, Jacks, and Pick-up Sticks; and outdoor activities like climbing walls or most playground equipment.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 33


Unlocking Your Child’s

Learning Potential

by Sara Kendall

E

very child processes information differently and learns in a slightly different way. Hearing, seeing, and touching are different ways a child learns. There are three main cognitive learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. While everyone uses each to a certain degree, one style will stand out as primary. Understanding your child’s learning style will reduce homework battles, improve academic achievement, and boost parent-child relationships. l l l l l

Visual Learning Style A child with a visual learning style is good at drawing, puzzles and hands-on games. They can see color, texture and 3-D. Their learning is benefitted by the use of color, seeing images, watching a person perform a task and viewing a hands-on presentation. A colorful homework area stimulates a visual learner. This type of learner tends to remember information that has been written down. The use of flash cards for a child to see the word, picture and definitions helps to grasp information. Using different colored markers and highlighters on their homework will grab the attention of a visual learner. Graphs and charts will benefit a visual learner in retaining information.

34 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Auditory Learning Style Natural readers, good listening skills, and strong musical talents are common characteristics of an auditory learner. These learners retain information from hearing and speaking. Teachers are fortunate to have auditory learners in their classroom. They are able to listen to the teacher and answer questions. Repeating information out loud and in their own words are good homework practices for an auditory learner. Listening to a book on tape and following along at the same time is an excellent way for this type of learner to retain information. Playing soft music in the background may help an auditory learner concentrate better.

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Kinesthetic Learning Style These type of learners are generally good at math and science. They would rather demonstrate how to do something rather than verbally explaining it. They like to work while standing, chew gum, or tap Kinesthetic their fingers or toes learners while studying. may want “These learners need to experience to act out what the movement feels like when being a situation asked to demonstrate from a story, a movement or lesson or task,” says Norma Wright, occupational game. therapist. “Just be aware that sometimes a child is paying attention, even if it appears they are moving all over the place when we are talking to them.” Kinesthetic learners may want to act out a situation from a story, lesson or game. They will search around the room for objects to represent what they are talking about and will go through the motions while explaining a specific scenario. “One might think that the child just doesn’t have the words to describe the game, but it’s more than that. Their thoughts and ideas come out easier as they go through the motions,” says Wright. Allow the child to move as much as possible when doing homework. The movement does not have to be specific to acting out the concepts to solve a problem. Use a big exercise ball to move to different areas of the room to collect letters while practicing spelling or clap out rhythms for things to be memorized. Different methods fit different learning styles. Once you know your child’s primary learning style, you can start incorporating different approaches to increase their learning potential. c atlantaparent.com

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 35


? l o ñ a p s ? E s i a l a b ç a n a H r F s u o v z e l r a P

Spanish Academy

n  Start Early

Immersion is the best way to learn a language by Kristy MacKaben

It’s circle time on a Wednesday morning. A dozen 4-year-olds promptly sit on their assigned letter on an Alphabet-themed rug. Legs crossed, hands folded. And they begin to sing their “Good Morning” song. Except it’s actually the “Buenos Dias” song and the teacher and children sing in Spanish. Then, they recite the days of the week, and the months of the year. They talk about the weather, count to 20 and sing about the seasons. Entirely in Spanish, not one word of English. 36 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

These are 4-year-olds in the pre-kindergarten program at the Spanish Academy, a language immersion preschool with locations in Buckhead, East Cobb, Emory and Johns Creek. Though some of the children may speak Spanish at home, for most of the children, English is their first language, and many of the children do not have parents who speak Spanish. “We’re a total immersion preschool and kindergarten. One hundred percent of the content is taught in the target language,” says DeShea Brooks, director and founder of the Spanish Academy. The content and information taught at the Spanish Academy is nearly identical to what is taught in other English-speaking preschool and kindergarten classrooms; however, everything is taught in Spanish starting the first day of school. To a bystander this is nothing short of amazing, but to teachers, parents and students involved with language immersion programs, it is natural; it is a way of life.   “Children at this age are still learning language in general,” Brooks says. “They don’t process it the way an adult would. For them it is very easy and a lot of communication is through hand gestures. All research points to when you acquire a second or third language, you learn more about the native tongue.”

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n  Language Immersion Once a rarity in the United States, foreign language immersion schools have taken off in popularity. Though immersion schools first popped up in the United States in the 1970s, these types of schools were scarce until about a decade ago when more parents began seeking foreign language immersion education for their children, says Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The organization does not have information or statistics on how many foreign language immersion schools currently operate in the United States. “We only hear anecdotally where programs are being implemented,” Abbott says. “From anecdotal discussions, these schools are spreading very quickly. It is a model that people are looking at across the country. Nationwide, we’re seeing parents as a huge motivator in implementing programs like this.” In Georgia, the first school focusing on language immersion opened 30 years ago as Atlanta International School, a private school in Buckhead. The school which started with 50 students has grown to about 1,160 students in preschool through 12th grade with a focus on Spanish, French or German, as well as Chinese for upper grades. “It was a group of local families, some local businesses, some international families and international businesses. They got together and realized something was missing from Atlanta education,” headmaster Kevin Glass says. “What’s special about the international school is you have this multinational world view. You look at things from a lens of other languages and cultures. There was nothing like it at the time in Atlanta.” (The school also offers the International Baccalaureate program.) Ellen Bender’s daughter Katie began attending the Atlanta International School last year for sixth grade. During the search for a private school for the middle and high school grades, the Benders wanted an educational facility with many opportunities. After visiting the International School they realized that the multicultural experience and global environment was a necessity. “The number one and number two reason we chose the school was cultural diversity,” Bender says. “Here she has exposure to people from all over the world. It’s just a Atlanta International School gift that we feel like is huge.”

n  Public Schools Following the International School’s example, other private language immersion schools have opened around Georgia, as well as local public language immersion schools, and public schools that offer advanced language programs, but not complete immersion. The most recent public school to open is the International Charter School of Atlanta, located in Roswell, though other public district charter schools offer language immersion programs as well. In August, the International Charter School of Atlanta opened to 390 children in kindergarten through fourth grade focusing on one of four language tracks: Spanish, French, German and Mandarin. Next year, school officials hope to receive more funding to add fifth grade, and consequently add one more grade each year. “This is a charter school created by a group of parents who wanted to see bilingual immersion options,” says Pamela Spalla, principal at the International Charter School of Atlanta, explaining that students live in many different counties, and anyone living in Georgia is permitted to apply to the lottery system to attend the school. (About 700 children applied last year to fill the almost 400 open spots.) The thrust behind the recent popularity of language immersion education isn’t just the desire of parents for their children to learn another language, Abbott says. It’s more than that. Children who learn another language at an early age learn to use different parts of their brains, and then, in turn, they succeed in other areas as well. These children who learn second or third languages at young ages outscore their peers (in similar demographic groups) on state and national tests, Abbott says. Cont’d on page 38

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 37


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In addition, many parents want their children to have a multicultural view of the world. “Parents are looking to the future for their own children. Knowing languages is going to be a critical skill in the future. And sometimes parents are aware of the excellent cognitive benefits and academic gains from these programs,” Abbott says. Some parents come from bilingual homes, while others, like the Benders, simply want to give their children a push academically. “I’m actually wondering why more parents don’t send their children to a language immersion school. It’s good for the development of the child,” says Besa Taiazhi, director at Tabula Rasa, The Language Academy in Sandy Springs. “It’s just good for the brain.” The private school offers Spanish immersion education for babies through children 4 years old, and then bilingual education from kindergarten to fifth grade. To reap the full benefits of language immersion, children should be exposed to foreign language at an early age. Before age 3 is ideal, but attending a foreign language preschool by age 3 will still allow children to learn foreign languages more easily. “Before about 10 years old, you have a very large window of language, especially at age 2 or 3,” Brooks says.

n  Teaching

“Through Language” During the early schooling years, most language immersion programs teach every subject in the foreign language. English is not spoken. While adults may think this would be frustrating, experts say children adapt quickly and pick up the language by hand gestures and facial expressions,

38 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Brooks says. “We don’t teach language. We teach through language,” Glass explains. “It’s a medium of instruction. It’s the whole way of thinking.” By the end of kindergarten at language immersion schools, most children are reading and writing in English and the foreign language. Susan Podray of Cumming can attest to this. Podray’s oldest son Zachary Donovan finished kindergarten at the Spanish Academy last year, and was reading and writing in Spanish. This year he attends the International Charter School of Atlanta. Zachary’s 4-year-old brother Kyle attends the Spanish Academy this year and is also learning to read and write in Spanish. “Both children are familiar with Spanish and communicate with confidence,” Podray says.

n  Global Citizens Around second grade at an international school, more English is spoken and the students are not immersed in the foreign language the entire day, as children need to also focus on English language arts and other subjects, and also other students may be joining the program who have not been exposed to language immersion previously. And while continuing to speak and learn foreign languages is important for older children, the focus at that time, is more on fostering a multicultural view of society, and encouraging curiosity and exploration, Glass says. “The whole purpose of the school is to make the world a better place,” Glass says. “Extraordinary individuals are going to be called on to shape the 21st century. The school is growing global citizens and internationally-minded people.” c atlantaparent.com


Language Immersion A sampling of public and private schools that offer foreign language immersion. Preschool n  Spanish Academy: Spanish. Preschool-K. Four locations in Buckhead, East Cobb Marietta, Emory Campus and Johns Creek/ Suwanee. thespanishacademy.com n  Little Linguists International Preschool: French and Spanish. Preschool. East Point and Decatur. littlelinguistspreschool.com n  Maylan International Academy: Chinese. Preschool. North Druid Hills. maylanacademy.org Tabula Rasa

Private Schools n  Tabula Rasa The Language Academy: Spanish, French and Chinese, depending on location. Preschool-5th grade. Sandy Springs and Lawrenceville. trlanguages.com n  Atlanta International School: French, German, Spanish, Mandarin and Latin. K-12th grade. Buckhead. aischool.org n  Atlanta Trilingual Academy: Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Preschool-4th grade. Atlanta and Smyrna. atlantatrilingualacademy.com n  The Green School: Spanish. K-4th grade. East Point. littlelinguistspreschool.com/programs/greenschool.cfm n  Little Da Vinci International School: Spanish, French. Preschool- 2nd grade. Atlanta. littledavincischool.org n  Omni International School: Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. PK-5th grade. Atlanta. omnischoolatl.com n  Seigakauin Atlanta International School: Japanese. K-5th grade. Atlanta. seig.ac.jp/english/Atlanta

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Public Schools According to the Georgia Department Education, these schools are part of the Dual Language Immersion program. Find out more at gadoe.org or the school’s website. n  Atlanta Public Schools: E. Rivers Elementary, Garden Hills Elementary, Perkerson Elementary n  Clayton County: Unidos Dual Language Charter School n  Cobb County: Riverside Primary, Smyrna Elementary n  DeKalb County: Ashford Park Elementary, Evansdale Elementary, The Globe Academy, Rockbridge Elementary n  Douglas County: Beulah Elementary n  Fulton County: Oakley Elementary, International Charter School of Atlanta n  Gwinnett County: Annistown Elementary, Bethesda Elementary, Trip Elementary n  Hall County: McEvers Arts Academy Charter School, World Languages Academy Charter School n  Henry County: Dutchtown Elementary

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 39


Find a Great Preschool In 5 Easy Steps Top-notch preschools share five critical characteristics. Here’s what to look for:

1

3

Make sure that the ABCs and 123s are a key part of the school’s learning goals. The very best preschools help children who are ready to advance beyond age norms, but they also nurture children who are behind so they catch up in these early years.

show that when children have the chance to make choices at ages 3 or 4, they have better long-term social and life outcomes on a variety of measures. l  Look for: A copy of the school’s schedule that shows windows of time that are dedicated to play and stations where children are able to choose activities. 

l  Look for: Letter and number materials in the classroom and on the walls; a well-stocked bookcase, tracing paper, maps, clocks and puzzles.  

2

Ask if children are able to choose some of their activities during the day. Studies

4

l  Look for: A costume corner, art up on the walls, pretend kitchen sets and pairs or small groups of children working together creating and collaborating. Physical play helps children develop gross motor skills which directly correlate with long-term health.

with a teacher is a predictor of children’s cognitive advancement in preschool. l  Look for: Teachers’ smiles encouraging children and strong teacher interaction in the classroom.

Ask how “play” is woven into the day, particularly imaginative and physical play. Great preschools encourage “pretend play” because research shows that it improves emotional/behavioral skills that predict academic performance later.

Check for positive/nurturing relationships between teachers and children. A strong, a positive relationship

5

l  Look for: Outside play time, room for kids to run around, a climbing structure, tricycles and balls.

Evaluate close alignment with “home values.” Schools should handle social and emotional issues similar to the approach you use at home since consistency is essential in helping preschoolers develop.  l  Look for: An answer to this scenario: If two children always played together and one day one child decides to play with another child and leaves his friend behind, how would the teacher handle that situation? Think about whether that approach is the same one you would have taken.  Source: SavvySource.com

40 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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The ABCs of Success

You Can Help Your Child Prepare for New Challenges in Preschool by Sharon Nolfi

S

tarting preschool is a milestone for children and their parents. Preschool presents new challenges, even for children who have been in child care. Many preschools have expectations more commonly associated with kindergarten or first grade. Some preschools even have entrance exams that require a child to demonstrate specific skills. Prepare your child for preschool success by incorporating some simple activities into the daily routine. Here are some ideas: l  Talk With Your Child, Not At Him. Preschool requires children to express themselves in words. Give your child a lot of practice by encouraging conversations among family members at home. When your child is telling you something, focus your attention on her and on what she is saying. Ask questions so she will tell you more. l  Find Playmates. Give your child the opportunity to play with children his own age. At first each child may engage in his own activity, although other children are present. Psychologists call this “parallel play,” a developmental skill that must be mastered prior to “interactive play,” in which children actively engage each other. Gradually introduce the concept of sharing, but understand that children develop this skill at different rates.

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l  Provide Sensory Play Experiences. Playing with sand and water allows children to learn about the properties of each, while developing perceptual pathways in the brain. Many preschools emphasize sensory activities in their reading readiness programs. l  Introduce Materials And Tools. Provide your child with paper, fat crayons, washable markers, child-sized safety scissors, removable tape, and stick glue. Let them create pictures, cut outs, and greeting cards. Teach them to hold and use these tools safely. Cont’d on page 42

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 41


The ABCs of Success l  Emphasize Physical Play. A child’s muscle control develops in sequence from larger, looser movements to smaller, more detailed ones. For this reason, hours spent running, jumping, throwing a ball, and climbing will make a child more able to master holding a crayon or pair of scissors later on. Public parks are excellent places for play that will enhance your child’s physical abilities. l  Read To Your Child. Be sure to pause occasionally to discuss pictures or action in the book. Your child will love having you close, and she will learn how to properly handle and enjoy a book. Some children learn to read the alphabet, or even words, by following along with a parent’s reading. l  Teach Hygiene For Good Health. Preschools are incubation rooms for germs, so make sure your child knows how to wash his hands before eating and after using the bathroom. Teach him to sneeze and cough into a tissue. l  Provide Structured Activities. Play simple games with your children and emphasize that following rules makes the game go smoothly. If your child doesn’t have routines for getting up in the morning and going to bed, establish regular sequences of tasks for those times. l  Visit Preschools With Your Child. Let your child get used to the idea of preschool with visits designed to tantalize. Point out the attractive toys and activities. Remember that some fear and a period of adjustment are normal. l  Explore Your Own Feelings. Preschool can be more traumatic for the parent than for the child, when our “babies” aren’t babies anymore. Try to separate your own emotions from any adjustment difficulties your child may experience.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 43


Early Math Matters Whether it is counting cookies at snack time or measuring flour when baking cookies, every day activities start reinforcing math concepts early. Here are some resources to make math fun at home. n  PEG + CAT See what life is like for Peg and side kick Cat, the heroes of this animated adventure series and website for 3-5 year olds on PBS KIDS. The show teaches measurements, shapes and patterns in a fun and engaging way to provide children with opportunities to practice math skills at home. pbskids.org/peg n  Step-by-step math videos Take a look at this series of how-to videos with fun and simple games from bowling to tracing to help preschoolers learn math. Developed by Charles Bleiker, an early childhood professor at Florida International University, he focuses on teaching preschoolers four key concepts: number equating, number naming, number sequence and number writing. The videos are available at go.fiu.edu/mathgames n  turtlediary.com This preschool math website introduces kids to number recognition and aids in understanding what they are all about through interactive games, videos, quizzes and more. n  Math Stickers Workbook With more than 400 stickers this interactive book helps children ages 4-6 recognize that each number has a unique name and shape by locating the correct sticker in order to solve the problem. Available at schoolzone.com, $7.99. –  Hayley Markowitz

44 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 45


46 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Essay

True Confession: I Did My Daughter’s Homework and It Felt Good! by Lara Krupicka

D

uring open house at my children’s school, I secretly cringe at my girls’ handmade posters next to the projects with multi-color graphs and computerprinted illustrations with neat, precise captions under each one. The creations with my girls’ names on them look amateurish. But at least my kids complete their homework independently, I think. It’s obvious an adult contributed more than a little to the others. I’ve always been a bit judgmental of parents who insert themselves into their kids’ schoolwork. But I also have to admit: I once completed my daughter’s homework for her. It was 9 p.m., past bedtime for my seventh-grader. I poked my head around her door to see her sitting on her bed, colored pencil in hand, lips pursed. I plunked down beside her and looked at the page on her lap desk. Graph paper. She was coloring it in a geometric pattern of orange and blue. “It’s my math homework,” she said. And then she looked up at me, tears pooling in her eyes. “I still have reading to do for language arts, and I have to fill this whole paper.” The page was only half completed. “What is this math homework about?” I asked. “What are you supposed to be learning?” Between sniffles, she muttered about patterning and trapezoids. atlantaparent.com

“Do you understand patterns and trapezoids now?” I asked, rubbing my hand up and down on her back. She nodded. It wasn’t the first time she stayed up late working on homework that year. Not because she was a slow worker or procrastinator (although she can be both at times). But because the work she got often required intense amounts of manual effort – usually lots of coloring, like this one. And it frequently resulted in her becoming overwhelmed and falling apart. But with each one she rejected my offers to talk to her teachers about the workload. And she turned down my suggestions to turn in an incomplete project. I needed to try something different. Even as the rulefollower in me cried “foul,” I knew what I had to do. I stopped rubbing and held out both hands. “Give me your homework,” I instructed. “And go get ready for bed.” “But...” she started to protest. Then her shoulders slumped and she handed me the pencil and paper, and tucked the lap desk beside her bed. She sleepily dragged herself away to the bathroom. I can’t believe I’m doing this, I thought as I situated myself at her desk, armed with two colored pencils. My children’s work was their own. They earned their grades fair and square. And yet there I was about to not only help, but actually complete a portion of my daughter’s homework, or as it appeared to me, “busy work.” Cont’d on page 48

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 47


True Confession: Yet in that moment I also knew I was being the best parent to her that I could. This rebel mother had a cause – a bigger picture of her daughter’s school performance and what was in her best interest. I had to weigh which mattered most: an assignment completed by a diligent child who the following day would be drowsy and irritable (and not at all focused in any class)? Or a project done with some “help,” allowing the sleep-sensitive girl to have a good night’s rest and a productive school day after? Her previous objections to my offers for other kinds of assistance told me she was learning about the importance of owning her assignments and being conscientious. She also grasped concepts quickly. She didn’t need to color 48 trapezoids when 24 would suffice; she had finished her homework, enough to comprehend the lesson.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, I thought as I situated myself at her desk ... I was about to not only help, but actually complete a portion of my daughter’s homework.

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48 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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So I attacked the grid with vigor – four squares across orange, then three blue, four orange. I lost myself in the repetition of the work, more like coloring than math. I completed several rows before she returned to the room in her pajamas, looking much more settled. I reassured her as I tucked her in that her math homework would be ready in the morning and I would wake her early enough to finish her reading. In the end the assignment was turned in on time and the reading got done. Even better, my daughter woke up relaxed and more confident about school than she had been in weeks. We never spoke of the coloring incident after that day. And I haven’t done anyone else’s homework since. But I learned sometimes it’s better to bend the rules for the sake of the bigger picture. And now I try not to judge parents who contribute to their children’s schoolwork (at least not so much – there are rules after all). I just hope they won’t judge my kid’s projects for their amateur look. c atlantaparent.com


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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 49


50 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Choosing a School What’s Right for One Child May Not Be Best for Another by Shelly Gable

All parents want a school that will give their children the best possible foundation. These families share how they made their choices. n  Private,

Religious Education

Paul and Carla Corley of Atlanta both attended private school for their pre-college education. They were led to consider faith and family values when looking at where to send their three children, who are enrolled in Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, a private religious school in Fulton County. Carla says, “I had a wonderful 12 years in Catholic school and felt a faith-based education for my own children was very important.” Paul and Carla also wanted to make sure that the class sizes were smaller and that the other families their children were exposed to would have the same value system as their own. Being in a smaller school allows students, parents, and staff to get to know one another – exactly what the Corleys were looking for in educating their children. With 14 years invested and six left to go, Carla says, “I wanted the best all-around education I could get for my children, and Mount Vernon has exceeded all my expectations. We love our school, and our children love their school.” n  Four

Children, Three Options

Dennis and Vickie Jarosv of Peachtree City have a four-child household of almost every education option available. Their oldest daughter, Angel, is a junior at The Campus in Peachtree City; Mya and Grace, the middle daughters, are freshmen at McIntosh High School; and their youngest, Jason, is homeschooled by Vickie. Matching education to each child accounts for the different choices. All four of the Jarosv children are adopted, and Dennis and Vickie have faced a number of issues. Angel was in public school for a little while, but her learning disabilities coupled with many negative experiences led Vickie to put her back in private school, where she could receive more one-on-one attention. Mya and Grace, whom Vickie describes as “self-learners and capable of independent study” are doing well in the public school system, though Vickie says she might place them in a private school if cost were not a factor. Jason presented another set of educational challenges, prompting Vickie to begin homeschooling him. Vickie says of Jason, “He works between K-2 curriculum and has shown a lot of progress. I find that public school serves independent learners well, but unfortunately, does not meet the needs of kids with special learning differences and needs.” 52 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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n  When

n  Private

Possible, Private School

Kourtney Williams loves being involved in her son’s education. Though she attended public school, she would prefer that her son Kylan be in a private Montessori school. Kylan has special needs, and he attended ABC Montessori school for awhile, but he currently attends East Lake Elementary in Henry County for financial reasons. Kourtney says she looks for a school environment that genuinely cares about all children’s academic performance and high community involvement, so that as a parent she can be involved as well. Kourtney says the Montessori experience was a great one for both of them. “I felt a closer relationship with the staff and teachers,” she says. “Academically, my son seemed to be learning more and faster. He had more positive social influences, and it worked so well with his personality and learning style.” “Since I have experienced public as well as the private sector I can say that it boils down to the staff and teacher you have for the year,’ Kourtney says. “My choice to choose private over public is heavily based on the academic curriculums offered and smaller classroom settings.”

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and Public

Mark Graves of Marietta has a son in 8th grade at The Walker School and a daughter who’s a senior at Pope High School. “Each child’s personality and needs are different, and it’s important to take those needs into account when making this very important decision,” he says. “Private schools tend to have a lower studentto-teacher ratio and therefore, in theory, this allows for more individualized attention and potentially a better learning environment,” he says. “Also, public schools sometimes, out of necessity, have to focus teaching more to the median, which can potentially be a disadvantage for gifted or advanced students. However, Advanced Placement and other similar programs in public schools tend to counterbalance that.” “It’s important to keep in mind that these are generalizations only. I have a daughter, Cameron, in public school. She’s a senior at Pope and has never attended private school. Her high school has been phenomenal and is just the right fit for her from all the important perspectives – campus size, culture, academic offerings and the like. “My son, Nathan, on the other hand, is in his third year at The Walker School and the smaller classrooms and campus feel create just the right fit for him. Again, it’s about each child’s personality and needs.” Cont’d on page 54

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 53


Choosing a School

What’s Right for One Child May Not Be Best for Another n  The

n  Private

School, the Best Fit

Right Public School

The parents of two young boys, Jay and Julie Travis were both raised in the public school system. Jack, their oldest son, is attending Inman Elementary in Fayette County, while Joey, their youngest, is enrolled in a childcare program at a church. When it was time to consider school for Jack, Julie says, “We both had positive public school experiences while growing up. There were a number of factors that led us to choose public school over private school, with economic factors as a main concern.” A good school district was of utmost importance to the couple, even if it meant a longer commute for their jobs. They have searched for the best fit for them, living in five different areas of metro Atlanta before settling in Fayette County. Julie summarizes their feelings on their choice with this: “In addition to the financial factor, we looked at school quality and population diversity when choosing a school district for our children. A desire for our children to have real world experiences

54 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

was also a deciding factor. As tempting as home schooling was for protecting, directing, and controlling our children’s education, we value socialization skills learned in the public school system. Learning from and working with peers of different backgrounds is a valuable life skill.”

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All three Gallivan children attend McGinnis Woods Country Day School, and their mom, Elysia, says the school is the best possible fit for their family. “We wanted our children to get the hands-on attention they deserve to grow and learn. We were also passionate about the kids having access to art, music, health, languages_ and counseling,” she says. “A final factor was a place that we could see all our children going, as each has different needs. We hit the jackpot with McGinnis.” Elysia and husband Roger both attended public schools with great experiences. In spite of that, she goes on to explain that the decision was not about what they encountered in their own schools when it came to choosing what was going to work well for their children.

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“Our decision about sending our kids to private school was less about our own experience and more about the quality of education and attention our children would be getting,” she says. “We loved the family atmosphere of the school, and extras our kids were getting on a weekly basis (Spanish, music, art, etc.). We are part of a community at McGinnis, where my kids are known, curiosity is encouraged, and self-confidence is instilled.”

n  Public Schooling, Community Ties

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Although Lee, age 2, is not quite ready for school, his parents, Arthur and Melanie Williams are primed to place him in a good public school in DeKalb County. “We want our child to be exposed to as many different types of people, backgrounds, and lifestyles as possible,” Melanie says. “We also have a strong sense of community and love our neighborhood,” she says. “The stability of our local school system was a major deciding factor in our decision to raise our family here. We want our child to attend school with his neighbors and friends and develop strong ties to our community as well.” c

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 55


DeKalb County School System

Public School Profiles A snapshop of school districts in metro Atlanta

Atlanta Public Schools 404-802-3500 www.atlanta.k12.ga.us Atlanta Public Schools is the sixth largest school system in Georgia with 50,754 students. There are 3,674 teachers, of which 34 percent have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 98 learning sites and programs; 47 elementary (3 primary campuses); 10 middle; 2 single-gender; 14 high schools; 4 non-traditional; 2 evening schools; 17 charter schools. n  Pupil to teacher ratios: Kindergarten, 25 to 1; Grades 1-3, 26 to 1; Grades 4-5, 33 to 1; Middle, 33 to 1; High, 33 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $12,585

56 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

Bartow County School System 770-606-5800 www.bartow.k12.ga.us There are 14,000 students attending Bartow County’s 20 schools, with 67 percent of 1,069 teachers holding advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 12 elementary; 4 middle; 3 high schools; 1 college and career academy n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 18 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,650 Buford City Schools 770-945-5035 www.bufordcityschools.org There are 4,300 students enrolled in Buford City Schools. 77 percent of the 273 teachers have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 2 elementary; 1 middle; 1 high school. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 16 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $10,008

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Cherokee County School District 770-479-1871 www.cherokee.k12.ga.us Cherokee County has 41,180 students attending 44 schools. There are 2,600 teachers in the county, of which 73 percent have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 24 elementary; 7 middle; 6 high schools; 3 alternative schools; 3 pre-K centers; 1 special services center. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 16 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,691 Clayton County Public Schools 770-473-2700 www.clayton.k12.ga.us Clayton County has the fifth largest school system in Georgia with approximately 54,400 students. Of the district’s 3,372 teachers, 64 percent have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 2 primary; 33 elementary; 14 middle; 9 high schools; 1 K-8 school; 2 LEA charters; 1 alternative education center; 3 psychological education centers; 1 multi-purpose education center; 3 magnet schools. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 16 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,168

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Cobb County School District 770-426-3300 www.cobbk12.org Cobb County has more than 111,460 students attending 114 schools. There are 8,100 certified employees with 61 percent having advanced degrees. There are also 46 National Board Certified teachers. n  Number of Schools: 67 elementary; 25 middle; 16 high schools; 1 special education centers; 1 adult education center; 2 virtual academies; 1 performance learning center, 1 international welcome center, 2 independent charter schools. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: Varies by school. Meets or is lower than state mandated numbers. n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,455 Coweta County School System 770-254-2800 www.cowetaschools.net Coweta County has 22,300 students and about 2,950 employees, 55 percent of whom are certified teaching employees. 60 percent of Coweta’s teachers hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools:19 elementary, 6 middle, 3 high schools; 1 College and Career Academy charter school (serving grades 8-12 with a traditional and non-traditional learning models); and the school system’s Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. n  Pupil to teacher ratios: Kindergarten: 20 to 1 with paraprofessional; Grades 1-3: 21 to 1; Grades 4-5: 24 to 1; Grades 6-8: 29 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,900 City Schools of Decatur 404-371-3601 www.csdecatur.net City Schools of Decatur have 4,667 students attending nine schools. Of the district’s 363 teachers, over 70 percent hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 9 total; 1 Pre-K; 5 Kindergarten-third; 1 fourth-fifth; 1 middle; 1 high school. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 13 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $12,574 DeKalb County School System 678-676-1200 www.dekalb.k12.ga.us DeKalb County School District is the third largest school system with 102,000 students. More than 6,000 teachers in the system, about 65 percent hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 77 elementary; 19 middle; 22 high schools; 1 alternative school; 9 centers, special education and alternative schools; 10 start-up charters; 5 conversion charters. n  Pupil to teacher ratios: General: 27 to 1; Gifted: 16 to 1; CTAE: 24 to 1. n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,500

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Gainesville City Schools

Douglas County School System 770-651-2000 www.douglas.k12.ga.us There are approximately 26,082 students attending Douglas County’s 33 schools. 70 percent of the 1,931 certified employees have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 20 elementary, 8 middle, 5 high schools; 1 performance learning center; 1 college and career institute. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: Meets or is lower than state mandated standards. n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,419 Fayette County Public Schools 770-460-3535 www.fcboe.org Fayette County School System has 20,095 students. More than half of the 1,346 teachers have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 14 elementary; 5 middle; 5 high schools; 1 alternative school; 1 open campus high school. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 13 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,064 (FY ‘14) Forsyth County Schools 770-887-2461 www.forsyth.k12.ga.us Close to 44,300 students attend Forsyth County’s 35 schools. There are over 3,000 certified employees in the system, of which 75 percent have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 20 elementary; 9 middle; 5 high schools and 1 6-12 virtual school (open to out-of-county students). n  Pupil to teacher ratios 20 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,249

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Fulton County Schools 470-254-3600 www.fultonschools.org Fulton County has more than 96,000 students and 7,000 certified staff members at 101 schools. Approximately 37 percent of the teachers hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 58 elementary (with Pre-K programs); 19 middle; 17 high schools (2 with open campuses); 8 charter schools. n  Pupil to teacher ratios: Kindergarten, 22 to 1; with paraprofessional; Grades 1-3, 23 to 1; Grades 4-5, 30 to 1; Middle, 30 to 1; High, 32 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $9,111 Gainesville City Schools 770-536-5275 www.gcssk12.net 8,036 students attend Gainesville City’s 8 schools. 485 teachers are employed by the system, and 64 percent of them have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 5 elementary; 1 middle; 1 high school; 1 alternative learning academy, 1 non-traditional high school. n  Pupil to teacher ratios: PreK: 22 to 1; Grades K-5: 15 to 1; Grades 6-8: 16 to 1; Grades 9-12: 18 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,969 Gwinnett County Public Schools 678-301-6000 www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us With more than 175,800 students attending 136 educational facilities, Gwinnett County is the largest school system in Georgia. The average GCPS teacher holds a Master’s degree and has 14 years experience. Cont’d on page 58

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 57


Public School Profiles n  Number of Schools: 79 elementary; 28 middle; 21 high schools; 8 other educational facilities. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: Varies by classroom, per Investing in Education (IE2) contract. n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,215 Hall County Schools 770-534-1080 www.hallco.org There are 27,268 students and 2,018 certified staff at Hall County’s 33 schools. 65 percent of the teachers have obtained Master’s degrees and 20 percent have achieved Specialist or Doctorate degrees. n  Number of Schools: 20 elementary; 6 middle; 6 high schools; 1 evening school. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 16 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,639 Henry County Schools 770-957-6601 www.henry.k12.ga.us There are 42,000 students and 2,960 certified teachers in Henry County Schools. 75 percent of the certified employees have advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 26 elementary; 2 conversion charter elementary schools; 11 middle; 10 high schools; 1 alternative school; 1 charter college and career academy; 1 6-12 online school (Impact Academy). n  Pupil to teacher ratios: Kindergarten, 24 to1; Grades 1-3, 25 to 1; Grades 4-8, 32 to 1; Grades 9-12, 34 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,547

58 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Marietta City Schools 770-422-3500 www.marietta-city.org Some 8,800 students attend Marietta City’s 11 schools, 1200 certified employees with 73 percent of certified staff holding a Master’s degree or higher. n  Number of Schools: 8 elementary (one is grades 3-5 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Magnet school); 1 6th grade academy; 1 middle; 1 high school. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 20 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $9,242 Paulding County School District 770-443-8000 www.paulding.k12.ga.us The Paulding County School District has 33 schools, 28,301 students and 1,945 classroom teachers. 61 percent of the teachers hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 19 elementary; 9 middle; 5 high schools. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 23 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $7,528 Rockdale County Public Schools 770-483-4713 www.rockdale.k12.ga.us There are 16,605 students attending Rockdale County Public Schools. Approximately 71 percent of the 1,295 certified personnel hold advanced degrees. n  Number of Schools: 11 elementary; 4 middle; 3 high schools; 1 career/vocational academy; 1 alpha school; 1 open campus; 1 magnet school; 10 school choice programs. n  Pupil to teacher ratio: 15 to 1 n  Per pupil expenditure: $8,394

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678.305.3027 whitefieldacademy.com [ Focus on Education ]

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 59


INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS

Adding a Dose of Real-World Reality to School Curriculums by Kristin Tobaben Smith

H

THE JA DISCOVERY CENTER AT GWINNETT

gives students an idea of what running a business is like in their own communities, and important basic knowledge such as salaries, credit scores and budgeting money.

60 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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igh school students are studying hard for the SATs, but do they know real-life skills – how to open a savings account, balance a checkbook, live on a budget? Many public and private schools in metro Atlanta have added a dose of real-world reality to their curriculums, focusing on offering lessons such as personal finances, entrepreneurship, business management and even auto maintenance. Some schools are partnering with the Junior Achievement program and others have implemented their own training. The JA program has added a dynamic twist to educating middle-school students. With its first Junior Achievement Discovery Center inside the Georgia World Congress Center, the program integrated financial literacy and work readiness into the core curriculum of several Georgia school systems. Annually, more than 30,000 middle school students from Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools and Marietta Middle Schools have the opportunity to take part in the Junior Achievement program. Recently, the program expanded with the opening of the Junior Achievement Discovery Center at Gwinnett, at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville. The partnership has synergy because Discovery High’s curriculum is career-oriented, with academies that focus on business and entrepreneurship, fine arts and communication, health and human services and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The JA Discovery Center at Gwinnett, like the one at the World Congress Center, gives students an idea of what running a business is like in their own communities, and important fundamental financial knowledge such as salaries, credit scores and budgeting money. JA BizTown and JA Finance Park are the two simulations at the two JA Discovery Centers. JA BizTown provides sixth-grade atlantaparent.com


students with a four-week curriculum, then a one-day interaction within a simulated economy. The students become business or community leaders and consumers. Callie Majors, marketing director for the Junior Achievement Discovery Center program, says that, “Throughout the simulation, students are working to make a profit for their business as well as a salary for themselves. They discover the intricacies of being a professional and member of the community, and, they discover the abundance of opportunities available in their city.” Students recognize their own education at work, what it’s like to work as a team, and the importance of problem solving – all crucial components practiced in day-to-day life, now and in the future. Hull Middle School in Duluth visited the Gwinnett center recently and experienced some eye opening cost-of-living reminders. Students were given a salary to work with, and learned how to balance a checkbook, fill out a savings deposit form, and fill out a job application. “This shows students how the world really works,” says Margaret Baggett, a sixth-grade math teacher involved in the program. “They learn what expenses have to

atlantaparent.com

“MY MOTHER LOANED ME THE MONEY TO START UP,

but I have to pay it all back, with interest. It puts the pressure on to earn the money back, and, you’re invested financially and emotionally in the product.” Kyra Perry

be paid, what insurance and taxes are, and how budgeting a salary works to support a family. They also gain insight on what their parents are going through.” In eighth-grade, students visit JA Finance Park, the second simulated experience in the JA program. This experience, which also follows four weeks of classroom work, is dedicated to teach students first-hand about their own financial futures.

[ Focus on Education ]

“When eighth-grade students walk into JA Finance Park,” Majors says, “they receive an adult persona that is complete with education, employment, family scenario, and credit score. Using this information they navigate throughout the simulation to gather knowledge from the individual businesses in order to make educated budgetary decisions based on their individual profile.” Cont’d on page 62

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 61


INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS In an Academy of Finance program at Dunwoody High School, students are learning other lessons in business and finance. Ask Makala Muhammed and Kyra Perry about their business experience and be prepared to listen for awhile. These two seniors at Dunwoody High School are both active in the Academy of Finance taught by former investment analysis and financial planner, Steve Fortenberry. Both girls have successful businesses, up and running on websites, and their experiences have taught them a lot about the business world and personal financing. They already possess an understanding of the basics, like balancing a checkbook, opening a checking and savings account, and drawing up a financial budget for themselves. However, as business owners, they are discovering how expensive things are. Kyra Perry, who produces her own hammocks, laments that, “It’s a reality check. My mother loaned me the money to start up, but I have to pay it all back, with interest. It puts the pressure on to earn the money back, and, you’re invested financially and emotionally in the product.” Makala Muhammed and her business partner, Madison Beecher, run a homemade candle business. They put in $25 each to buy all the initial materials and say their business is doing well online. She believes running a business at her age is a confidence builder that will last over in to adulthood. Their teacher and mentor, Fortenberry, agrees. “The Academy of Finance gives students a vision as to which route they want to go,” he says. “They learn to network, hone interview and presentation skills, and develop

IN THIS AUTO MECHANICS SAFETY CLASS,

at the Galloway School, students learn the major components of personal car care. They learn to read the car’s manual, and locate and use the jack to change a tire – skills that many adults don’t have. their own innovative designs. They will need these skills when they set out on their own after college in pursuit of being their own boss.” From finances and entrepreneurship, let’s move on to oil. Lessons on changing the transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant in a personal vehicle should also be included, as well as changing a tire. These skills are mandatory for students at the Galloway School in Buckhead. An innovative program called Car Whisperers, taught by Mark McCandless, a science and social studies teacher, and Howell Kiser, English, Yearbook and photography teacher, is offered only to seniors. In this auto mechanics safety class, students learn the major components of personal car care, such as how to check fluid levels and tire pressure. They learn to read the car’s manual, and locate and use the jack

to change a tire – skills that many adults don’t have. “Howell and I have found, over the years, that many of our senior students don’t even know where the hood latch of their car is,” McCandless says. “Car Whisperers increases not only their knowledge about these machines their lives depend on but also their selfefficacy and confidence.” This class teaches students basic mechanic abilities that could potentially save their lives on the road. They also learn how to communicate with auto repair shops, giving them the knowledge to successfully seek the help they need. Every generation worries that the next generation won’t be prepared for adult responsibilities. These students are well on their way. c

Country Brook & Covered Bridge Montessori Schools Toddler, Primary & Elementary

NORCROSS

Country Brook Montessori School 2175 N. Norcross-Tucker Rd. Norcross, GA 30071 770-446-2397 countrybrookmontessori.com

62 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

SMYRNA

Covered Bridge Montessori School 3941 Covered Bridge Place & 488 Hurt Rd. Smyrna, GA 30082 770-434-3181 & 770-801-8292 coveredbridgemontessori.com

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 63


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Guide to Private Schools When searching for the best school for your child, there’s much to consider. From the school’s academic approach to its learning environment, size and location, our guide to private schools will help you make the right decision. atlantaparent.com

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 65


Atlanta

Private Schools Academe of the Oaks

Alexsander Academy

he world is exciting, complicated, and changing fast. At Academe of the Oaks, this global reality inspires a radical and relevant educational approach, emphasizing active involvement, experiential learning, imagination and creative consideration. Learning at Academe is centered on lived experience. The r ig or ous W a l do r f h i g h s c h o o l c u r r i c ul um immerses students in the sciences, in mathematics, and in the humanities. Students learn from the original writings of great thinkers and leaders, writing and illustrating their own textbooks that incorporate material from a variety of classic and contemporary sources. Students learn to think and to connect academic work to real world issues. Art, music, physical education, gardening, extensive trips, and community service balance academic work. A diverse student body, a vibrant foreign exchange program, interfacing with schools in other countries and extracurricular activities like Model U.N. contribute to the strong international atmosphere of our high school. At Academe, students become well rounded human beings who care about others and the world. Located just east of downtown Decatur, Academe of the Oaks serves students in grades nine through twelve. Please call to schedule a visit or see the website for more information. www.academeatlanta.org

lexsander Academy, located in Alpharetta serves students with learning issues and special needs. Their students are those that do best in a small, flexible learning environment. The school focuses on academics as well as independence, classroom and social skills. Class sizes range from 3 to 8 students, depending on the students academic and social needs. Each class has one certified teacher. Programs are available for students working at, above or below grade level. Programs are also available for students who have been in one on one or ABA programs and are ready to learn how to take their skills into a classroom environment. Alexsander Academy believes ALL children are capable. They build up self-esteem by fostering an environment where students are successful, but also challenged, where there are high but realistic expectations, and where children are able to form true friendships with their peers. Alexsander Academy is accredited, accepts SB10 and has other scholarships and programs to help parents with tuition costs. Summer academic sessions as well as tutoring year round are available. For more information contact Stefanie Smith 404-839-5910 or smith@alexsanderacademy.org. Website www.alexsanderacademy.org

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Arbor Montessori School

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rbor Montessori School Founded in 1970, Arbor is one of the largest and oldest Montessori schools in the Southeast, serving 300 students from ages 18 months to 14 years. Arbor is one of only two Montessori schools in Georgia accredited by AMI, SACS and SAIS. For over 100 years, the hallmarks of a Montessori education have been creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem-solving; communication; collaboration; and focus on character. These are the same core competencies being advocated in today’s education arena as the necessary “21st Century Learning Skills” for students to meet the challenges of a changing world. Montessori is the originator of projectbased learning. An Arbor Montessori education cultivates concentration, motivation, self-discipline and love of learning in every child. This is accomplished through specially designed sensorial materials, multi-age classrooms, and teachers who are specifically trained to put the child in touch with exactly what he or she needs at that very moment to learn. In addition to an outstanding academic curriculum, Arbor offers art; music; Spanish; a before and after-school program; clubs and teams; and a close-knit community of families. Register for an Open House tour January-February at 404-321-9304. Open House is January 23. Application deadline is February 15. Visit www. ArborMontessori.org.

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Atlanta Country Day School

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ollowing the retirement of Atlanta Country Day School’s founder, Mr. Mark Cox has been appointed to lead the school into the next chapter of serving students and parents. Cox’s background includes 20 years of experience in education having served as Head of School, Teacher, and Academic Dean in both Secondary and Post-Secondary schools in the southeast. “Atlanta Country Day School enjoys a rich 30 year history of academic excellence and as the new Head of School, I am very excited to become a member of this great school!” Cox said. As a SACS accredited co-ed college preparatory school, Atlanta Country Day School provides a challenging college preparatory curriculum that meets the Georgia High School graduating standards and HOPE scholarship requirements, enabling their students the opportunity to attend the college or university of their choice. At the same time, their low student teacher ratio of 6:1 enables them to attend to the unique learning styles of each individual student. Atlanta Country Day School currently has plans for growth in the coming years, but remains firm to their commitment of a low student teacher ratio that will allow the school’s continued tradition of providing creative and individualized programs tailored to each student. For more information, visit atlantacountrydayschool.com or call 770-998-0311

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Atlanta Girls’ School

Atlanta Speech School

tlanta Girls’ School offers girls in grades 6 through 12 a college-preparatory curriculum of the highest standards. Graduates attend Ivy League schools, prestigious liberal arts colleges, leading southeastern universities, and respected research institutes. Atlanta Girls’ School was custom-built for one purpose: girls’ achievement and success. Girls attending AGS learn to take appropriate risks, be courageous leaders, give back to their communities, and project personal confidence and competence in all they do. Through their classrooms, sports, stage, and community involvement, AGS leverages the legacy and experience of girls’ schools all across the country, preparing girls to be respected leaders in every field. With access to real-world experiences, AGS students complete two customized internships with local, national, or global organizations. These unique internships are unmatched opportunities that—combined with the school’s signature Winterim minisemester, community service projects at every grade level, and global travel program – fuel extracurricular learning that culminates in each student’s Senior Speech to the entire school. For girls entering grades 1 through 9, AGS also offers SMART Girls Summer Camp. This weeklong day camp offers courses in science, math, art, and real technology. For more information, call 404-845-0900 or visit www.atlantagirlsschool.org.

s the nation’s most comprehensive center for language and literacy, the Atlanta Speech School’s four schools, five clinics and professional development center share one common mission: to work within each program and collaborate across all programs to help each person develop his or her full potential through language and literacy. While the four schools serve different types of learners, each program provides a language-rich environment that gives children the strongest possible foundation for communication and learning. Exceptional professionals tailor the latest cutting-edge research to the individual needs of each child, and provide the support and resources necessary so each child can excel. The schools include the Kenan Preschool, an early childhood education program that develops children who are exceptionally prepared for school; the Wardlaw School, an elementary school for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities; Stepping Stones, a preschool and transitional kindergarten for children with speech and/or language delays; and the Hamm Center, a listening, spoken language and literacy program for children ages birth to 5 who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. atlantaspeechschool.org. 404-233-5332.

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The Bedford School

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he Bedford School is located on Milam Road in Fairburn, Georgia. The school serves children with learning disabilities in grades1-9. Students are grouped by skill levels in classes of 12 or less. At Bedford, students receive the proper academic remediation,as well as specific remedial help with physical skills, peer interaction and self-esteem. Students must be diagnosed professionally as having specific learning disabilities. The Bedford School is based on the idea that every human being should have the opportunity to become the very best person possible. For the child with the learning disability, this is difficult without proper intervention. The goal of the school is to help each child maximize his potential through a combination of teamwork, structured materials, organized activities and a dedicated staff. Extracurricular activities include basketball, soccer, volleyball and track and field. A four-week summer program is available through Squirrel Hollow, where children can receive tutoring in the areas of Language Arts, Math and written expression in a camp-like setting. The summer program is open to students in grades 1-9 who need an academic boost. For more information, call Betsy Box at 770-774-8001 or visit the website at www.thebedfordschool.org. atlantaparent.com

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The Cottage School

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he Cottage School’s 2015-2016 school year marks its 31st year of providing a comprehensive educational program for middle and high school students with learning differences and Attention Deficit Disorders. The school’s 23-acre campus in Roswell includes a state of the art media center, computer and science labs, a multi-purpose athletic and performing arts facility, outdoor classrooms, and trails for mountain biking and cross-country. AdvancEd accredited for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Southern Association of Independent Schools, TCS provides an academic college preparatory curriculum that meets Georgia high school graduation standards and HOPE scholarship requirements. Experiential classes and clubs include drama, forensics, horticulture, computer literacy, yoga, chess, photography, journalism/yearbook, Interact, and culinary skills. Ten-to-one student/teacher class sizes accommodate various learning styles. Students participate in community service projects and various activities that broaden their knowledge base and assist them in unlocking their talents. TCS’ athletic program offers a wide range of sports and provides opportunities to develop a positive competitive spirit, learn self-discipline, and foster teamwork and sportsmanship. TCS offers an after school study and activities program as well as summer academic programs and sports camps. Visit www.cottageschool.org for more information.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 67


Atlanta

Private Schools Country Brook and Covered Bridge Montessori Schools

Covenant Christian School

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ountry Brook and Covered Bridge Montessori Schools are among the longest operating Montessori programs in the Atlanta area. Established in 1981, Covered Bridge Montessori School serves children 14 months to 9 years from Smyrna and it’s neighboring communities. Operating since 1988, Country Brook Montessori School welcomes children 18 months to 9 years of age from Norcross and the surrounding areas. Both campuses continue the Montessori legacy that has successfully served so many children during their past 30+ years. Affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS), all students are provided a true Montessori school experience in classrooms specially prepared with Montessori designed materials and under the guidance of experienced and dedicated Montessori trained teachers. For more information about Country Brook and Covered Bridge Montessori Schools, visit our websites at www.countrybrookmontessori.com or www. coveredbridgemontessori.com. Better yet…pick up the phone, give us a call, and schedule an appointment today. 770-446-2397 (Norcross) or 770-434-3181 (Smyrna). Teaching children HOW to learn.

stablished in 1975, Covenant Christian School (CCS) in Smyrna celebrates a long history of Christian education. CCS is committed to partnering with Christian families in the nurture and education of their children by providing a distinctly classical and Christ-centered academic program. Our teaching is intentionally founded upon biblical truth, and our methodology is based upon the Trivium of a classical liberal arts education: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. CCS serves students from K4-8th grade. The experienced faculty and staff bring many years of committed Christian teaching to our students every day. They are personally devoted to applying Christian principles in all areas of teaching as they lead students to grow in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and virtue. CCS students also have opportunities to broaden interests outside the classroom by offerings in athletics, music, drama, dance, and various clubs. Service opportunities are also a part of the CCS experience. CCS invites Christian parents to come see the benefits of a Covenant education by attending an Open House January 12 at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.ccssmyrna.org or call Barbara Hines at 770435-1596.

Cresco Montessori School

The Galloway School

resco Montessori School is a year-round GAC certified private school, and full-service childcare center. Serving families in Marietta, Buford, Johns Creek and Woodstock for over 10 years. Cresco Montessori School is open 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., for children from 6 weeks old to 6 years old. Students can attend for a half day, school day or full day. Cresco Montessori offers free Georgia Pre-K, scholarships and a GA Tax Redirection Program. Cresco also provides an afterschool and summer camp program along with many enrichment activities for children up to 12 years old. A focus on family is an important component of the school. Each year, Cresco Montessori hosts fall flings and spring carnivals for students, parents and siblings to enjoy. Each Montessori classroom is prepared with a range of materials to allow children to progress through the curriculum as their skills develop. Montessori classrooms intentionally include a mix of ages, so that younger children can learn from older children, and older children develop leadership skills and confidence. Visit www.crescomontessori.com for more information. Daily tours are available at each location from 9:30-11:30 am.

ocated in beautiful Chastain Park, The Galloway School is an independent day school that serves a diverse student body of around 750 students age 3 through grade 12. Guided by a unique approach to teaching and learning, Galloway offers students daring, deliberate, and dynamic learning experiences that inspire them to become fearless learners for life. The Galloway School’s educational philosophy and approach stem from the belief that learning should be an experience of discovery that is both challenging and joyful. It is only then that students develop an abiding love of learning and embrace it as a life-long endeavor. The Galloway School offers an environment of high expectations and low anxiety that challenges students to grow by teaching them to challenge themselves today and for the rest of their lives. Graduates attest that Galloway’s focus on the journey of learning and personal development is what makes the school truly different, and the results speak for themselves. Galloway graduates are mature, independent, and confident individuals who are well prepared for college and for a life lived as enlightened citizens who think independently, care deeply, and engage responsibly. For more information, call 404-252-8389 or visit the website at www.gallowayschool.org.

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Gracepoint School

Greater Atlanta Christian School

ounded in 2012, GRACEPOINT was formed when two families believed that there must be something better for their children with dyslexia. The students at GRACEPOINT receive a comprehensive, high quality education program that combines remediation with enrichment and acceleration in grades one through eight. GRACEPOINT is unique in that it is a transition school. Students typically attend between 3 and 4 years to complete remediation before rolling out into a more traditional educational environment. Students are taught utilizing the Orton-Gillingham method, and this multisensory approach is woven into all subject areas. Their students receive seventy-five minutes of explicit reading instruction daily by a certified OrtonGillingham teacher. The student/teacher ratio for reading is 5:1. All other classes have a student/teacher ratio of no more than 8:1. The mission at GRACEPOINT is to equip students with the skills needed to develop into independent and confident learners. They strive to instill a life-long desire for their students to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, so that each will fulfill God’s purpose and bring Him glory. www.gracepointschool.org. (678) 709-6634.

reater Atlanta Christian School offers a dynamic educational experience to 1,800 students in grades K3-12. As the educational landscape continues to evolve, GAC is being more intentional than ever about adopting new learning strategies and programs to better prepare students for a distinguished, promising future. Children at GAC experience unmatched academic learning daily and have on-campus access to opportunities such as dance classes, music lessons, drama groups, 74 athletic teams from youth to varsity level, in-school swim lessons, more than 20 annual mission trips, an Environmental Center, 3 international study abroad programs, 22 AP classes, and 21 Honors classes. With 1,800 students in K3-12, the 88-acre campus provides vast resources and unlimited opportunities, including state-ofthe-art facilities, new programs for all ages, and project-based learning initiatives. You child can have a full educational and extra-curricular experience on one campus. See why kids come from 90 zip codes to be at GAC. Be our guest at an Open House: Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 8 at 9 a.m. Contact Mary Helen Bryant at 770-243-2274 or mbryant@greateratlantachristian. org. Learn more at www.greateratlantachristian.org. 1575 Indian Trail Road, Norcross GA 30093

The Green School

Hebron Christian Academy

he Green School at LLIP is a newly established independent Spanish/English dual language immersion school for independently motivated students in grades Pre-K through 4th grade. The Green School is committed to engaging students in unique project-based educational opportunities featuring guest speakers, themed field trips, farm-to-school, experiential learning curriculum and international travel. In small classroom communities with ratios of 1:10 or lower, qualified teachers designed fluid learning stations to implement the Core national standard. All curriculum objectives are delivered in both Spanish and English with defined proficiency goals. Best practice and innovative methods support the school’s goal of creating bilingual world citizens with a diverse perspective. Additional enrichment activities include organic gardening, physical education, dance, gymnastics and Mandarin. An Open House is on January 23 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. For details email Raquel@littlelinguistspreschool.com. Applications are available online and will be accepted after January 1, 2016 for 2016-17 school year. Financial aid also available. www.littlelinguistspreschool.com

ocated in Dacula, HCA serves the NE Gwinnett area. HCA’s mission is to help parents prepare their children spiritually, academically, physically, and socially to become disciples of Jesus Christ. JUST THE FACTS • Since 1999 • About 900 students in K-12 • Small class sizes • Dual SACS/AdvancEd + ACSI Accreditation • Caring, involved, trained teachers with a minimum of a B.A. • 12 year outcome-based curriculum design • No common core • Accelerated academics including AP and Dual Enrollment classes • 100% college acceptance rate • Integrated technology • Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for students • Flipped classrooms • PC and Mac labs • Biblical worldview • Developing servantleaders who care about others, locally and globally • Prefect system • Student mentor programs • Award-winning athletics, academics, and fine arts programs • Close knit community of caring peers and involved parents • Value-priced tuition • 2014 & 2015 Readers’ Choice award Get more info at HebronLions.org or call 770-963-9250.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 69


Atlanta

Private Schools High Meadows School

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ince 1973, High Meadows School has inspired children in Preschool through Eighth Grade to think critically, learn creatively, act globally and live compassionately. Ours is a school where adventure, play, and discovery go hand in hand with extraordinary academic preparation and exemplary student outcomes. We know that there is time in each school day for intellectual challenge and fresh air, for authentic learning and physical movement.

High Meadows School’s progressive education approach encourages children to ask the next question, to embrace intellectual challenge, to consider multiple perspectives and to discover the wonders of life though experience. Our curriculum is shaped around respect for the capabilities of children, best practices in education, clear learning objectives, and the belief that education should (and can) be joyful, meaningful, and

powerful. It’s no wonder that our graduates go on to achieve amazing things and have fun along the way. Our International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum helps prepare students for participation in a global community in which so much is interrelated and the ability to consider multiple perspectives is essential. High Meadows students are easily recognized as confident, creative problemsolvers, accom p lish ed speakers, critical thinkers and enthusiastic learners. Our graduates stand out not only as excellent students, but also as exceptional thinkers and community members. High Meadows School is located on 42 acres of woods and meadows near historic downtown Roswell. We hope you’ll come experience what school should be. For more information, please visit www.highmeadows.org or call 770-993-2940.1055 Willeo Rd., Roswell, GA 30075

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School

Holy Spirit Preparatory School

t Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, students aren’t scholars or athletes or artists or servant leaders. They are all of these things and more. Through a broad, diverse, and rigorous curriculum, they become empathetic and openminded learners, ready to serve as catalysts for change in the world. With every step of their journey, Holy Innocents’ students take chances, seek out challenges, and strive for excellence in all that they do. Because of an open-minded attitude, consistent encouragement and collaboration, and myriad extracurricular opportunities, students discover talents, passions, and aptitudes they never knew they had. Located on Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs, the school is easily accessible from all parts of Metro Atlanta. Campus spans 43 acres, with a brand new, stateof-the-art STEM building, stand alone Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper School facilities, a fine arts building, two modern gymnasiums, and four sprawling regulation athletic fields. To learn more, please call 404-255-4026 or visit their website at www.hies.org.

f you’ll excuse the cliché, Holy Spirit Preparatory School is a hidden gem in Atlanta. The young but accomplished school is one of the few independent Catholic schools in the Atlanta metro area. It serves students from ages 2 all the way through 12th grade, so they’re perfect for families. Its high school keeps getting named one of the top Catholic high schools in the country by the Catholic Education Honor Roll. Their AP scores are way above state and national averages (in the hardest AP tests, like Chemistry and Calculus, their students average over a 4 out of 5, which is incredible), and their alumni get accepted to Ivy League schools, military academies, top 25 schools, and universities across the world. But, really, it’s all about fit. Because they maintain a smaller enrollment than most independent schools, they find the right place for each student - channeling them to the right club, the right gifted classes, the right team - and the right college fit after HSP. This school is all about personalized learning, small class sizes, and forming students in “mind, body, and soul” in a family of faith and learning. For more information, you can visit www.holyspiritprep.org or call or text them at 678-761-7992.

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70 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Johnson Ferry Christian Academy

The Lovett School

ohnson Ferry Christian Academy is a certified UniversityModel® School that prepares students for life academically, spiritually and relationally in a vibrant community atmosphere. They deliver a personalized, accredited, collegepreparatory education with a uniquely flexible schedule. The JFCA community offers students an active school culture, rich with opportunities for growth and achievement. The staff leads with a love for Christ, a desire for every student to discover God’s purposes in their lives and a passion to prepare students for life. Established in 2004, JFCA is a ministry of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and provides an educational program for grades K–12. JFCA offers rigorous academics, a low teacher:student ratio, opportunities for spiritual growth and personal development with an array of activities for our students including academic competition, athletics, and fine arts. JFCA also has an on-campus dual enrollment program available to students in grades 9–12 in partnership with Truett-McConnell College. JFCA develops students to be accountable critical thinkers, independent learners, and excellent time managers who are ready with the skills needed to navigate the college experience. An Open House will be held January 26. JFCA is accredited with quality through the Georgia Accrediting Commission and is a member of the Association of Christian School International. For more information, visit www.jfca.org or call 678-784-5231.

he Lovett School, founded in 1926 by Eva Edwards Lovett, is an Atlanta independent school serving children in Kindergarten through Grade 12. Lovett seeks to develop young men and women of honor, faith, and wisdom with the character and intellect to thrive in college and in life. Lovett provides integrated experiences in academics, arts, athletics, and service. Lovett’s reach extends beyond the Buckhead neighborhood – students come from 70 zip codes across Atlanta – and even into Central America, where Lovett maintains 825 acres of Ecuadoran cloudforest as a preserve and research center. Exclusive research partnerships with the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Botanical Garden give Lovett students authentic research and lab experiences in marine biology, botany, and genetics. Lovett’s curriculum includes a required year of American Studies, options for African and Asian studies, multivariable calculus and linear algebra, and organic and biochemistry. Lovett was one of the first schools in Georgia to offer AP Chinese, the culmination of a Chinese program that begins in the Lower School. Additionally, makerspace labs, which includes access to the school’s theater set workshop, modeling software, 3D printers, laser cutter, and a lathe, allow students to tackle real world problems. For more information, visit www.lovett.org or call 404-262-3032.

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Midtown International School

Mill Springs Academy

idtown International School is intended for gifted and superior students grades K–9 who thrive in small class environments, with exposure to a globally-minded curriculum and problem-based instructional strategies. Our foreign language instruction, dedicated science and arts teachers, and commitment to student success create a home for our future global leaders. MIS envisions limitless learning for academically superior students where potential discovers opportunity. The school immerses students in a diversity of viewpoints that transcend national, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries. Problem solving and critical thinking are the foundation of our integrated curriculum, developing inquisitive, flexible, and collaborative thinkers who will be successful in a knowledgedriven global society. MIS ignites the educational and social learning of gifted students through advanced instruction in science, math, and technology; arts integration across the curriculum; development of student leadership and peer collaboration; strategic community partnerships; and international travel for all upper elementary and middle school students. With writing labs for dissecting writing, computer science instruction, diverse after school programs, competitive and award winning robotics, and the focus on moving every child forward, MIS has created an environment where students take ownership of their learning. Call 404-542-7003 or email admissions@ midtowninternationalschool.com to schedule a tour!

ill Springs Academy is an SACS/SAIS accredited college preparatory, independent school community dedicated to the academic, physical and social growth of those students who have not realized their full potential in the traditional classroom setting. Since 1981 Mill Springs has been supporting student learning by raising expectations and developing self motivation, while providing skills and values for life. The school is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization governed by a board of trustees. The population consists of average to superior ability students in grades 1-12. Small classes and an individualized curriculum help them to capitalize on their strengths while learning compensatory strategies. Mill Springs offers a broad range of college preparatory and fine arts options, along with college placement support. A variety of sports and an extended day program are also available. In the summer months, summer school, summer camp and sport workshops are offered. The 85-acre campus is nestled in the beautiful rolling hills and pasture land of Alpharetta. For more information, please visit www.millsprings.org/visitus or call (770) 360-1336. Mill Springs is a participant of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program (SB10). Follow us on Twitter (@millspringsacad) and Facebook. Mill Springs Academy, 13660 New Providence Road, Alpharetta, GA 30004.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 71


Atlanta

Private Schools

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McGinnis Woods Country Day School

cGinnis Woods Country Day School is a private, non-parochial school offering a challenging Preschool, Elementary and Middle School education. The school is located on the border of Forsyth and North Fulton counties in northeast Alpharetta. The Preschool at McGinnis Woods accepts children as young as 6 weeks and the Elementary and Middle School teaches students in PreK 4 through 8th grade. McGinnis Woods Country Day School has top accreditations, including GAC (Georgia Accrediting Commission), SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)), and NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). McGinnis Woods is a member of many professional and educational organizations including the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA). Class sizes are small at each grade level with low student-teacher ratios, allowing frequent one-on-one learning. The children learn through a variety of groupings including class lessons, small group activities, hands-on experiments and “buddy” classes which encourage multiage groupings. The school is equipped with an in-house broadcast system, computer labs, tablets, wireless laptop labs, interactive whiteboards, two STEM labs and robotics. Frequent guest speakers and monthly field trips reinforcing classroom learning round out the classroom experience. Off-campus overnight class trips are offered for students in 1st-8th grade. Recent trips have included Zoo Atlanta, The Tennessee Aquarium, Desoto Caverns, Nature’s Classroom and Space Camp. The mission of McGinnis Woods is to inspire students with the passion to excel. This goal is accomplished though superior curriculum taught in engaging hands-on ways which incorporate research based best practices. An academic support teacher provides extra strategies for success including Orten-Gillingham instruction. These programs include: The Letter People, Saxon Phonics and Math, Wordly Wise, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Harcourt, Glencoe, and Core Essentials. The excellent curriculum provides the children with a strong framework on which to develop academically, socially and emotionally. All classes have daily study skills and tutoring opportunities. The administration and staff are committed to

72 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

helping each student achieve their full potential. Students at McGinnis Woods enjoy many enrichment classes as part of their curriculum including library and computer skills, Spanish, character education, health, music, art, band and chorus, physical education and quarterly electives for students in 5-8th grade. Communwity Service projects are emphasized throughout the year. All special programs are taught by specialists and provide opportunities for students to explore and discover talents and strengths. Competitive sports and robotics teams train year round. Athletic teams include: soccer, volleyball, cross country, basketball, tennis, and track and field. Fine Arts offerings include: drama, chorus, band, visual arts, and special performances providing an avenue for creative expression. Elementary school hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (3:30 p.m. for students in 4th-8th), with Before and After School programs available for families needing additional child care. Discovery Clubs are offered during After School and include an impressive variety of choices including drama, band club, robotics, STEM club, Science Olympiad, Oratorical Club, ballet, chess, cheerleading, football, tennis, and cooking. The Preschool and After School programs are available from 6:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Exciting Summer Camps are also available. Junior and Senior Summer Camp Programs include a variety of theme based activities featuring fun field trips, enriching educational opportunities and on-site water activities. Our theme for summer 2015 is Sunsational Summer. The school encourages all prospective parents to visit and tour the beautiful campus and review the curriculum for each grade level. Parent involvement is strong and parents are invited and encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education. McGinnis Woods is known as a wonderful, caring family where community is strongly valued and nurtured. An open house for prospective students will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. You may also visit www.mcginniswoods.org or contact the school to schedule a personal tour by calling 770-664-7764.

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Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs Montessori at Vickery

Montessori School at Emory

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Montessori education creates independent, entrepreneurial, confident children. They are selfsufficient, globally aware, environmentally conscious and respectful of oneself and others. Our schools offer children ages 14 months – 15 years meticulously prepared indoor and outdoor environments rich in learning materials and experiences. The Montessori curriculum includes mixed-age classrooms that allow students to interact on a variety of levels learning social, academic, and leadership skills. Teachers facilitate the learning process by guiding students toward meaningful activity and the children discover and develop their own interests & abilities. Montessori truly helps children develop a life-long love of learning. Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs and Montessori at Vickery have both earned accreditation by the State, AdvancEd, and American Montessori Society which affirms our school meets a standard of excellence recognized by Montessori educators worldwide. Please visit to see how our Montessori schools can benefit your child. Attend a Saturday Tour on January 16th, 2016 at 10:00 AM. For more information, go to MontessoriAcademySharonSprings. com or MontessoriVickery.com.

ontessori School at Emory was founded over 22 years ago becoming accredited as a Montessori School in 1993. With over 175 students, from 15 months through 14 years, the Montessori School at Emory supports the whole child and prepares them for life through accredited, authentic quality Montessori programs. Children are given one-on-one instruction from their teacher which creates an individualized program that engages their interests and skill levels. Montessori School at Emory offers several options. Full day, half day, 10 month or year round formats are available. Afternoon enrichment programs are also offered from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., in which children enjoy experiences in the creative arts and sciences such as music, art and foreign language. Also, early morning drop-off is available at 7 a.m. For more information about the Montessori School at Emory, call 404-634-5777 or visit www.MontessoriSchoolatEmory.com.

Mount Paran Christian School

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School

n interdenominational, covenantal community with a passion for serving and learning, MPCS has been providing a balance of traditional education and contemporary approaches where faith and intellect grow as one for 40 years. Students of all ages participate in spiritual growth opportunities such as weekly chapel services, daily Bible classes, community service projects, and short-term mission trips. In this Christ-centered environment, students discover how using their God-given talents and abilities to excel in the areas of academics, arts, and/or athletics all bring honor and glory to God. With full SACS/SAIS accreditation, MPCS offers challenging academics for grades PK3-12. Expanded opportunities exist for those who qualify with an ENCORE/Gifted program in lower school, advanced classes in middle school, and more than 50 honors and AP courses along with a summer study abroad program in high school. Additionally, the Dozier School of Performing Arts is a performing arts magnet program. In this program, students explore the performing arts with a scope and depth that prepares them for college and professional arts programs. Finally, MPCS offers 15 sports in one of the top athletic programs in Class A claiming recent state championships in competition cheerleading and football. As a GHSA member of region 6A, MPCS competes at one of the highest levels in high school and middle school athletics . If you feel your child would benefit from the experience of a Mount Paran Christian School education, call 770-578-0182 for your personal tour or visit www.mtparanschool.com.

stablished in 1972, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School serves students in preschool through grade 12. Located in the heart of Sandy Springs, MVPS is a school of inquiry, innovation and impact. Grounded in Christian values, Mount Vernon prepares all students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders. With innovation at the forefront, Mount Vernon leads the national conversation around systemically integrating design thinking into learning. By identifying real world issues, collaborating through research, and testing their results, students produce prototypes to impact the world. Additionally, Upper School students are given an opportunity to fully immerse their studies in design thinking by earning an Innovation Diploma. Demonstrating the School’s commitment to inquiry, the Upper School offers a dynamic opportunity unique to Atlanta independent schools called Interim Term. Students travel through cultural arts trips, national college tours, mission trips, as well as participate in internships. As engaged citizen leaders, our students make an impact throughout the Atlanta area. Each year MVPS students perform more than 10,000 hours of community service. Rounding out the Mount Vernon experience, 90% of students in grades 5-12 participate in one more of the School’s 51 sports teams. For more information, visit www.mountvernonschool.org or call 404-252-3448.

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 73


Atlanta

Private Schools Pace Academy

The Piedmont School of Atlanta

n 1958, an interfaith group of community leaders envisioned a learning environment open to fresh ideas and debate. Pace Academy today is exactly what its founders had in mind. With 1,100 students in Pre-First through 12th grade, Pace strives to create prepared, confident citizens of the world. Student-teacher relationships are at the heart of the Pace experience, so the school maintains a student-teacher ratio of 9:1 and an average class size of 15. Pace develops children’s passions and strengths through academics, athletics and the arts, while providing global perspectives in the classroom and an integrated experience after the bell rings. Through the Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL), Pace students come to view the world through a global lens. The ICGL builds on an innovative academic curriculum and explores an annual, school-wide theme. Curricular and co-curricular activities, scholars in residence, fellowships, internships and international study tours support education around these themes. Through the ICGL, Pace students, guided by an outstanding faculty, develop a deep understanding of the world and the people around them. Pace graduates want to be successful and realize that true success means making a difference. For program information, visit www.paceacademy.org.

he School accepts cognitively typical children with autism. The comprehensive curriculum integrates academic, social, and emotional learning, and stimulates the development of life skills, preparing students to be happy, independent adults actively engaged in their communities. The Piedmont School is accredited and accepts students participating in SB-10. A talented team of certified teachers and therapists provides behavioral support and delivers individualized programming that meets the requirements of the National Core Curriculum and Georgia Standards. The School reflects best practices in education and evidencebased programming under the guidance of an internationally renowned Professional Advisory Board. The curriculum includes physical education, art, and foreign language instruction, as well as a robust community-based instructional program. Weekly visits to the outstanding resources of Metro Atlanta afford motivating experiences where skills acquired in the classroom are applied in the community. Collaboration with The Boys and Girls Club of Brookhaven offers a lovely campus in which to learn and an inclusive after-school program. Currently, the School is accepting applications for grades K-9. Tuition is competitive and a Scholarship Program is available. For more information and a personal tour of The Piedmont School call 404-382-8200 or visit www.tpsoa.org

Pinecrest Academy

Porter Academy

inecrest Academy is a PreK3 through 12th grade, college preparatory Catholic school, located in Cumming, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta. Pinecrest is a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School and has been recognized for eight consecutive years as a School of Excellence by the Cardinal Newman Society Catholic School Honor Roll. The school provides an atmosphere of academic rigor and critical thinking, while offering personalized attention in a Christ-centered environment of faith and reason. Pinecrest prepares students to become committed Christian leaders, eager to transform a global society. This mission is accomplished in a gender specific environment on a co-ed campus. Following the educational philosophy of the Legionaries of Christ, Pinecrest implements Integral Formation to develop the intellectual, human, spiritual, and apostolic dimensions of the whole person. Students are challenged to identify and use their gifts in service to others. Recognizing the parent as the primary educator of the child, the school’s mission embraces the entire family. Pinecrest provides a safe, moral, and spiritual environment which leads to positive peer groups and joyful, caring and confident students. Pinecrest serves the Archdiocese of Atlanta, local parishes, and local Christian and civic communities. The school also serves international students, their families, and others who embrace its educational philosophy. For more information, visit www. pinecrestacademy.org or call 770-888-4477.

orter Academy is dedicated to educating children Pre-K through 8th grade by utilizing individualized programs that are appropriate to each student’s developmental level and learning style. If one technique is not proving effective for a particular child, then the teachers will try alternative techniques until they find one that works. The team of teachers, therapists, and administrators work together to develop academic abilities, foundational abilities (e.g, processing skills, attention, motor skills), and self-esteem. Porter Academy utilizes 1) small homerooms grouped by socialdevelopmental level, 2) assessments to determine academic and developmental level, 3) individualized academic programs, 4) small group instruction of core academics to ensure comprehension, 5) integration of project based learning, multi-sensory techniques, and well established academic programs to engage students and enhance learning efficiency, 6) social guidance and intentional character development, and 7) therapeutic support (speech/ language therapy, occupational therapy, and music therapy) within a group setting. “This is the first environment which has enabled my daughter to be successful in so many ways. She knows herself that she is learning and improving academically.” – Porter Academy Parent For more information, call 770-594-1313 or visit the website www.porteracademy.org.

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The SAE School

Sophia Academy

t The SAE School, teachers lead each student on their own personal journey of self-discovery. It is not enough to simply teach. Their educational vision is the discovery of the individual and the nurturing of unique strengths and interests, the tailoring of a journey that will take the student further than even they could have imagined. The school’s mission and responsibility are to make sure they are ready when they get there. The SAE School is an independent, nonprofit school in southern Cobb County providing Georgia’s only true Project Based Learning approach. The SAE School is different because it was created, and is managed, governed and led by South Cobb educators, parents and residents. As a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, they are solely focused on the education and development of your children with powerful advantages such as Academic Families that preserve teacher-student alliances across multiple years, martial arts integrated into the curriculum, and a year-round, 200 day learning calendar. Come and explore the many unique aspects that fulfill the mission to be the most exceptionally Safe, Innovative and Rigorous school in Georgia. The SAE School is currently accepting applications for Preschool - 10th grade for the 2015-16 school year, and through 11th grade for 2016-17. Call 678-239-3200 or visit saeschool.org for more information.

ophia Academy, a K-12 Catholic school, has been serving students with learning disabilities, ADHD and Asperger’s since 1999. It is the only Christian school of its kind in Atlanta and the only Catholic school of its kind in the southeast. The mission of Sophia Academy is to provide a personalized Catholic education in the spirit of the Society of Mary (Marists) to students with learning differences while developing their individual gifts. Sophia Academy provides an environment where children to not only thrive, but shine. Small class sizes and individualized instruction are paramount. Multi-sensory teaching methods and the Orton-Gillingham approach are used in the classroom. They know that children who may struggle in traditional classrooms have many gifts to share, which may not be recognized in other more traditional environments. Children of all faiths are welcome at Sophia Academy where they recognize and value each child as a unique and extraordinary gift from God. They delight in the fact that no two children are alike. Sophia Academy celebrates differences and meets children as they are, where they are. To learn more call 404-303-8722 or visit sophiaacademy.org.

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St. Joseph Catholic School

St. Martin’s Episcopal School

JCS, a 2003 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, is accredited by AdvancEd, the parent company of SACS. Established in 1953, it is part of the educational system of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. With a current enrollment of 490 in grades Kindergarten through eight, St. Joseph School prides itself on the spiritual growth and academic excellence of both students and teachers. Catholic faith is front and center at St. Joseph School. Religion classes are part of our academically challenging curriculum. Our upper buildings dedicated space is used for middle school and for supporting classes in Spanish, computer science, art, physical education and music. Students enjoy enriching experiences such as weekly mass, community service, field trips, choir, band, student council, sports, drama productions and art festivals. The middle school offers elective classes in a variety of areas including Lego Robotics, yearbook and newspaper production. Graduates continue their academic excellence by attending rigorous high school programs at Catholic and private schools and also IB and magnet programs in the public school systems. For more information visit St. Joseph Catholic School on the web at www.stjosephschool.org or call 770-428-3328.

t. Martin’s Episcopal School is a place where each child can discover his or her unique gifts. Serving approximately 635 students from 3 years old through 8th grade, St. Martin’s has offered a quality education in a loving, Christian environment for more than 50 years. Every parent knows that the ability to learn, create, lead and serve is as individual as each child. With small classes and a nurturing community, students can safely explore, take risks, face challenges and celebrate each other’s success. They are not only well-prepared to be high achievers and strong leaders during high school, they also build a foundation that encourages lifelong learning. Students’ spiritual growth remains an important part of the school’s mission. While St. Martin’s is a Christian school with an Episcopal identity, children of all faiths are welcomed. Students also enjoy a variety of extracurricular opportunities in upper Elementary School and throughout Middle School in athletics, fine arts, journalism, science and more. Open House events will be held on Jan. 20, Jan. 23 and Feb. 4, 2016. St. Martin’s invites you to tour the campus to learn more. For more information, contact Director of Admission Blythe Marsau at (404) 228-0709 or visit www. stmartinschool.org.

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Atlanta

Private Schools Sugar Hill Christian Academy

Swift School

ugar Hill Christian Academy serves students 12 months through 8th grade. Their mission is to offer an excellent academic and Christian education while developing a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ. At Sugar Hill Christian Academy they believe a successful education is only met by partnering with the parents during these important formative and academic years. Together, they will pray for, lift up and support your child to grow in character and faith and to be successful in the modern world while living as Disciples of Christ. Their students begin each day by raising their hearts and voices to God in praise and worship. Character education and devotions are combined with song and prayer to start the day off right. Students also have a daily enrichment period that rotates weekly through the following subjects: art, computer lab, music, physical education and Spanish. Academy students also visit the school library on a regular weekly schedule and are encouraged to participate in Accelerated Reader, a reading incentive program. SHCA middle school students currently compete with area schools in basketball, soccer, cross country, tennis and volleyball through the North Atlanta Metro League (NAML). Students also participate in flag football and cheerleading. For more information, visit www.sugarhillchristian.org or call 678-745-4121.

wift School is celebrating 18 years of preparing students with dyslexia and related language-based learning difference to be successful in academics and in life. Children in grades 1-8 are taught by encouraging teachers certified in methods proven to achieve success with dyslexia. At Swift, dyslexia is viewed through the lens of leading-edge brain-science and seen as a brain-type with great advantages. Using Orton-Gillingham, teachers cultivate the strengths of the child, customize to their learning style and teach students how to master their language challenges. Within a low student/teacher ratio, the school allows students to explore, expand and excel in language development and application across all disciplines. Swift helps shape dyslexic students not only by teaching them to decode and understand language, but by developing interpersonal skills that will allow them to adapt to and thrive in a life beyond Swift. Children emerge as dynamic, self-aware, and confident individuals. The school offers a challenging Middle School program to prepare for high school and provides frequent assessment of children with clear and constructive reporting to parents. Middle Division athletics include soccer, basketball, and track. Swift School is conveniently located in Roswell right off of GA – 400 at exit 7. Call 678-205-4988.

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Tabula Rasa - The Language Academy

The Waldorf School of Atlanta

abula Rasa, The Language Academy Total Immersion School started in 2001 with a desire to create a family-like environment where babies through 5th grade become fluent in a second language (Spanish), become familiar with a third language (French or Chinese) and learn the culture of the countries speaking that language. A strong aspect of the daily programs and activities involves diversity, respecting the environment and each other. The students come from a variety of backgrounds and countries and the teachers are native-speakers, all of which adds to the diversity and enrichment of the learning experience. Preschool instruction is all in the foreign language, Elementary School is bilingual Spanish/English, the third language (French at the Sandy Springs campus and Chinese at the Lawrenceville campus) is continued in the afternoons. Tabula Rasa has a low student/teacher ratio, and helps students with their Spanish homework in the Afterschool program. Their new Lawrenceville location opened August 2015 and is now accepting applications. For more information or to tour the campus and see reasons why students love the program, please call 404409-0827, or visit www.trlanguages.com

hildhood First. The Waldorf School of Atlanta offers a revolutionary notion – that in the midst of a high-speed world, children should be provided a timeless space to do their sacred work. The school nurtures within students the will to become life-long learners by fostering their ability to think with clarity, feel with compassion, and act with purpose in the world. The Waldorf curriculum is rich in every branch of academics and enlivened with the arts and practical skills. As such, it honors children at each stage of their development, nurturing their current capacities and preparing them for new learning to come. Located in Decatur, with a satellite location in Inman Park, The Waldorf School of Atlanta serves children from age 2 through 8th grade. Aligned with the ideals of Waldorf education – a century-old approach to learning, carried on by 1,000 schools worldwide – TheWaldorf School invites you to learn more at www.waldorfatlanta.org!

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The Walker School

The Weber School

he Walker School is Cobb County’s college-preparatory independent school for families seeking an engaging, perspective-widening academic program within an intimately scaled, caring environment where meaningful relationships engender transformative learning. Walker’s dedicated teachers exude contagious intellectual energy, demonstrate authentic interest in the life of the mind that extends beyond their core subject areas, and model genuine respect for students and one another. Through their actions and interactions, Walker teachers cultivate students’ spirit of wanting to know in every setting— the classroom and the hallway, the laboratory and the library, the art studio and the stage, the court and the playing field. Walker students, feeling known and encouraged by their teachers and classmates, come to value the experience over the applause, developing along the way the confidence to explore new avenues of thinking, the wisdom to articulate meaningful insights, and the fortitude to act with integrity and honor. At the culmination of this carefully guided, increasingly independent journey from pre-K through grade 12, Walker graduates have evolved from curious young learners into young adults thoroughly prepared for the challenges of college and life. Please visit thewalkerschool.org or call 678-581-6891 today!

he Weber School, Atlanta’s only high school serving students from all Jewish backgrounds, offers a robust advanced academic and co-curricular program. The Program: Weber’s collaborative and creative faculty lead a powerful learning community where student initiative and intellectual inquiry is encouraged and fostered. The rich interdisciplinary Jewish and General Studies program features a variety of opportunities for advanced academic work including AP and honors courses, a year-long Senior Capstone project with Honors diploma, and academic electives in math and science, the humanities, and technology. Full-time and adjunct faculty direct their innovative visual and performing arts program. Many Weber students participate in a highly competitive athletics program which includes interscholastic, intramural, and wellness options. The Mission: The Weber School prepares its students for success in college and in life, inspiring them to be knowledgeable, thinking, responsible Jewish adults, by weaving together the pursuit of academic excellence; a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish people and Israel; and a responsibility to serve the community and improve the world. Words can’t describe it. A visit will. Schedule a visit with Rise Arkin, Director of Admissions today! (404) 917-2500 x117 risearkin@weberschool.org New at Weber: Ask about our Intown transportation option.

The Westminster Schools

Whitefield Academy

ounded in 1951, Westminster is a K-12 Christian preparatory school that serves 1,862 students on a 180-acre campus in the heart of metro Atlanta. The School prepares students to serve and lead in a rapidly changing world, helping them tap into innate talents in a vibrant and personal learning environment. Westminster is committed to developing the whole student by offering not only carefully designed academic instruction, but also a wealth of engaging extracurricular opportunities, including unique service learning projects that partner with nonprofit organizations locally and abroad; a dynamic performing arts program that includes music, visual arts, and drama; a nationally recognized athletic program with more than 84 teams across 17 sports; and interdisciplinary global programs in more than eight countries. Westminster students are encouraged to deeply investigate and explore their passions while being nurtured and guided by gifted faculty, who know them well and support them on their Westminster journey. To learn more about Westminster’s academics, faculty, and extracurricular activities, or for more information about the admissions process, please visit www.westminster.net

hitefield Academy, a Christ-centered college-preparatory school located in the Smyrna/ Vinings area of northwest Atlanta, serves more than 770 students in grades pre-K4 through 12. Situated on a bucolic 80-acre campus, Whitefield has established a solid academic reputation with its numerous AP and honors courses and rigorous curriculum that sets a framework for 100 percent of its graduates to matriculate to colleges and universities. In fact, the 2015 graduates earned more than $7.7 million in scholarships. The Whitefield learning environment facilitates a discovery of students’ talents and interests that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. With more than 50 sports teams including 20 varsity teams, Whitefield athletes have multiple opportunities for success. Eighty-six Whitefield alumni have moved on to NCAA competition in baseball, basketball, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field. In addition to academic and athletic prowess, Whitefield has an award-winning fine arts department that has produced successful artists who have honed their skills at the collegiate and professional levels. For more information, visit www.whitefieldacademy.com.

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Atlanta

Atlanta

Charter Schools

Private Schools

Woodward Academy

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oodward Academy is the largest independent school in the continental U.S., with 2,700 students spanning two campuses on 133 acres in metro A ­ tlanta. With an average class size of only 16, teachers, coaches, and counselors provide wise, individual guidance at every step, mentoring students in life­-shaping qualities of good character, and helping them reach their fullest potential. Students develop a deep respect for difference as they collaborate with peers from more than 20 metro­-Atlanta counties and a broad array of religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Woodward offers prolific opportunities to try and triumph, including 20 AP courses, a Transition Program for students with mild learning differences in grades two through eight, and a wide range of clubs, arts opportunities, and athletic options. The Global Connections Program offers extensive international study abroad programs. A typical Woodward Academy graduating class attends more than 100 different colleges and universities, devotes 5,000 hours to community service projects, and earns more than $14 million in collegiate scholarship awards. Discover the Woodward Difference today at woodward.edu.

Cherokee Charter Academy and Coweta Charter Academy

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herokee Charter Academy and Coweta Charter Academy at Senoia offer educational options for students that focus heavily on individual student achievement. Each student’s personal learning plan is developed in conjunction with the teacher, student and parents to help students set achievable, yet challenging, goals and achieve results. Coweta Charter Academy offers advanced technology in every classroom with one-to-one devices for every student. The school also offers an instrumental and vocal music program starting in Kindergarten. Cherokee Charter Academy offers the S.T.E.A.M. model integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, which encourages creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. Both schools are now accepting applications in grades K-8 for the 2016-2017 school year. To apply online go to CowetaCharter.org or CherokeeCharter.org. Cherokee Charter is located at 2126 Sixes Road in Canton. Telephone: 678-385-7322. Coweta Charter is located at 6675 East Highway 16 in Senoia. Telephone: 770-599-0228. Call or visit online to learn about information sessions and to schedule a tour.

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To-DO list

for choosing a private school DO be realistic. There is no perfect school or one-size-fits-all academic setting. Look for one that is the best fit for your child.

DO meet the teacher who would be teaching your child. Consider how your child will interact with him or her. DO keep a written record of what you observe, particularly if you are visiting more than one school.

school. Be specific and prioritize your list.

DO make a list of schools in your area that are potential candidates. Call and ask for information to be sent. Then make an appointment to further investigate those schools that meet your criteria.

DO consider commute. A drive as far as 30 minutes or an hour is okay if everything else matches up. Look for someone to carpool with or use the drive to study or spend quality time together.

DO consider your child’s needs.

DO talk with other parents whose

DO look for a school where the

DO make a list of what you want in a

Choose one that will foster his strengths, weaknesses, interests and talents.

children currently attend the school to find out what they do and don’t like about the school.

DO consider your child’s learning style. Is he self-motivated or

DO visit the school. You will get a better idea if this is the right environment for your child once you step onto the campus.

does he need a structured environment? Is he an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner?

DO choose a school that matches your family’s values.

DO consider a school, even if it is out of your price range. Many schools offer financial aid or scholarships, so don’t be afraid to ask.

78 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

DO talk with the principal or school administrator. Ask specific questions and be realistic and honest in telling him or her about your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

DO sit in on the classes and observe how the students and teachers interact.

[ Focus on Education ]

teachers work to build a relationship with the students and their families. This is one of the biggest factors in a child’s academic success.

DO take your child to visit the school once a decision has been made. If possible, let him meet the teacher and other students and sit in on the class. Then ask him for his feedback.

DO follow your instinct. You know your child and family situation better than anyone else. – Denise Yearian

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 79


Does Your Child Struggle with Learning?

Psycho-educational testing might help by Rebecca Ruffin Leffler

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enny,* a mother in Atlanta, noticed her fourth-grade daughter would struggle for hours on homework just to get a “B” in math. She approached the school, but the teachers weren’t alarmed because her daughter was making decent grades. When the situation didn’t improve during the school year, she sought an independent psycho-educational evaluation. Rebecca,* who lives in Sandy Springs, saw her seventh-grade daughter’s stress level increase. The anxiety didn’t seem to be caused by academics, an upcoming test or project, but over any change in routine. When her daughter couldn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m. because of worrying, a doctor recommended a psycho-educational evaluation. The process can be time-consuming and expensive, but both families are glad they took that step.

What is a PsychoEducational Evaluation? Although the name sounds daunting, Dr. Caroline L. Sherrill, a psychologist at Behavioral Institute of Atlanta, explains, “The evaluation is a way to understand your child’s learning and processing strengths and weaknesses.” “It’s like flavors of ice cream,” she 80 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

explains to the students she tests.”There are many flavors out there and none are wrong, just different. The same goes for how we learn. There isn’t a right or wrong way, just different.” The battery of tests is split into several parts. The cognitive section measures the student’s potential and includes an IQ test. The second area tests achievement – what

[ Focus on Education ]

has been learned in the classroom in reading, spelling, written language and math. Next, testing examines information processing skills, which is how children bring in information through the eyes and ears, and how they express it through the hands and mouth. Lastly, emotional and behavioral issues are examined. Gaps between potential and achievement might signify a learning disability or weakness. Although the majority of learning disabilities are verbal (meaning they are reading and language based such as Dyslexia), there is growing research about non-verbal learning disabilities, which tend to be more hidden. In addition to identifying any informationprocessing deficits, the evaluation can diagnose attention issues such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Signs That a Child Might Need Testing Although most learning issues are diagnosed in the elementary school years, some aren’t discovered until later. So how do you know if your child needs to be tested? Sherrill suggests parents look for any behavioral or emotional symptoms. A common manifestation is increased anxiety. She says, “It’s tricky because sometimes anxiety can be related to hormonal changes. But anxiety can also increase because the demands of school are becoming more and more difficult.” atlantaparent.com


Parents should note if their child doesn’t want to go to school or if they have complained about how difficult school has become. Another red flag is if the child’s grades have started to fall – even if those grades are still good. A good place to start is to set up a meeting at school. Many public school systems will provide psycho-educational testing through a school psychologist. However, with budget constraints, these tests are usually reserved for students with obvious issues. If behavior or learning issues are more subtle, parents must obtain an independent evaluation. Hesitations Regarding Testing Despite recognizing the signs and symptoms in their children, not all parents obtain an evaluation. “The process is very time and labor intensive,” Sherrill explains. The evaluation entails multiple sessions with a licensed psychologist – usually during school hours. After an initial meeting with the parents, approximately six hours of actual testing with the child will be scheduled over two to three sessions. A few days later, the

Prepare Your Child for Testing n  Schedule testing sessions for morning when your child is more alert. n  Have your child go to bed early the night before. n  Serve a balanced breakfast the day of testing. n  Bring snacks and water since testing sessions last over 2 hours.

psychologist and parents will meet to discuss findings and come up with a game plan. Costs vary, but independent evaluations can range from $1,800 to well over $3,000. Many times, they are not covered by insurance. However, some educational institutions, such as the University of Georgia, offer lower fees as tests are performed by a graduate student who is supervised by a licensed psychologist. Sometimes parents are afraid of what they may find out or they don’t want their

child labeled if a disability is diagnosed. It should be noted that unless the school system is paying for the evaluation, parents are under no obligation to share the results of testing with the school. Benefits of Testing and the Results Most parents find the benefits of the psycho-educational evaluation outweigh the negatives. Sherrill summarizes, “The goal [of testing] is to make school better for the child and to alleviate issues they are having.” Depending on the results of testing, a student may be referred to many different sources of intervention, including a learning specialist for tutoring, a psychiatrist for ADHD medications, a psychologist for therapy or an ophthalmologist for vision testing. Now that they know what is going on with the child, parents and teachers can determine “accommodations” to help the student at school. For the child with slow processing issues, the school may allow increased testtaking time. For the student who has auditory processing issues, the teacher may hand out a copy of her written notes. Cont’d on page 82

1-12 Coed - Small Classes Competitive Athletic Programs College Preparatory Laptop Program Athletic Programs Extended Day Program Art, Band, Chorus, Drama Summer Programs SACS/SAIS Accredited

2016 Open Houses - Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. January 20 • February 10 • March 9 • April 13 • May 11 “I’ve always believed that if a student can’t learn the way we teach ... we should teach the way a student can learn.” Tweetie Moore, Founder

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13660 New Providence Road, Alpharetta, GA 30004-3413 [ Focus on Education ]

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 81


Porter Academy Enabling Children with Learning Differences to Succeed • Pre-K–8th • Small Groups • Individualized programs • Hands-on learning activities • Speech, Occupational & Music Therapies; art, sign language and daily PE 770-594-1313 | www.porteracademy.org | 200 Cox Rd., Roswell

Does Your Child Struggle with Learning? The evaluation revealed Jenny’s daughter has trouble with sequencing. “Take long division as an example,” Jenny explains. “It requires multiple steps. You divide, multiply, subtract, carry the number up to the top and begin again.” Her daughter could perform each function alone, but got confused when putting it all together. Now, the teachers let her daughter use a calculator and flash cards. Rebecca’s daughter has weaknesses in visual-spatial processing skills, specifically with regards to location and time. “It’s hard for my daughter to visualize where she is in the school building. If she has a random after-school activity, she worries about the route to find the meeting spot. Since maps are visual, they confuse her even more.” Teachers now assign a buddy to take Rebecca’s daughter to different parts of the building. Additionally, she expects to hire a tutor when her daughter gets to geometry, which is more visual than algebra.

Gaps between potential and achievement might signify a learning disability or weakness.

GRACEPOINT School Serving students with dyslexia in a quality Christian environment

We offer a comprehensive, high quality education program that combines remediation with enrichment and acceleration.

Please contact the Office of Admissions at 678-756-8897 to schedule a tour. 2005 Stilesboro Road | Kennesaw, GA 30152 678-709-6634 | www.gracepointschool.org 82 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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Although the majority of learning disabilities are verbal, there is growing research about non-verbal learning disabilities, which tend to be more hidden. Another benefit is that life at home usually improves. Shannon,* another Atlanta mother, says the psycho-educational evaluation revealed her 15-year-old son has trouble multi-tasking. “He focuses on one thing at a time and can’t move on to something else until that task is done,” she says. “If I tell him to take out the trash, get the mail and pick up his shoes in one sentence, I’ll only get the trash taken out.” With these findings, she has changed her parenting strategy by waiting until her son has performed one task before assigning another one. Shannon reports this has reduced conflict in the household. “When I get frustrated, I go back to the test report and remember that sometimes I’m asking him to do something in a way he can’t do. He’s not trying to disobey me, but it’s just the way he’s made.” c *The families asked that their last names not be used to protect the children’s privacy. atlantaparent.com


Tips to Help Kids Stay on Track in School

n  Plan a homework schedule and study times at the beginning of the school year. The planned work and review times will help your child or teen meet the scholastic demands of the new grade level. n  Students entering a higher-grade level typically need to upgrade their study skills to help them keep pace with their current curriculum. Children and teens benefit from reviewing the notes they take in each of their classes for at least five minutes a day. Reviewing the class notes will help students retain more core learning concepts. Younger students can benefit from a few minutes of reviewing concepts such as grammar and phonetic rules

by Barbara Dianis

A step-by-step approach will help all students conquer their learning challenges, including students diagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD or a learning disability. Try these eight proven strategies:

n  Plan to check the student’s grades online together each week. Parents who check grades with their son or daughter show they care about education. If parents see downturns in their children’s grades or missing assignments, parents and children can work together to find educational solutions. n  If grades start to slide, take action. All too often scholastic slides are not addressed early enough because the parent may feel it is a problem that will correct itself. It is generally better to address the academic difficulty early on. One way to address scholastic slides is to help your child or teen correct their mistakes on graded assignments that have multiple mistakes on them. Cont’d on page 84

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 83


The Bedford School accepts students in grades one through nine. Students receiveproperacademicremediationin a small class setting, as well as specific helpwithphysicalskills,peerinteraction and self-esteem. The Bedford School also offers Squirrel Hollow Camp, a remedial summer camp program. For Children With Learning Differences

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The Bedford School maintains a non-discriminatory policy concerning admissions, scholarships, use of facilities and employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or creed.

Tips to Help Kids n  Tests and quizzes are an important part of the academic experience. Children and teens should add more study and preparation time to the system they used in the previous grade level. Students of all ages benefit from studying for tests and quizzes several days before they are given, not the day before. Parents can help their student to understand their brains may need time to absorb and readily access the educational concepts they will see on the test.  n  Parents can help make learning fun during homework and study time by using flash cards. When review time is presented in a game format, students generally are more engaged throughout the learning process. Parents may wish to host a study review time with students in their son’s or daughter’s classes. Students enjoy the review process when it is made into a game they are playing with their friends. n  Parents can help their child or teen develop an interest in learning by asking them to name three concepts they learned in their classes each day. This technique can help improve a student’s ability to focus in class. n  If a child or teen is struggling in math, then pre-learning the mathematical formulas can help increase the student’s understanding of new concepts. Previewing the key concepts from the upcoming lesson can help the student absorb and glean more information as the teacher presents the lesson. Student can pre-learn new math concepts by reading the following day’s lesson in their online text or textbook. Next, the student should make a notation of concepts they don’t fully understand and ask the instructor for further explanation on the more difficult mathematical concepts. In addition, students benefit from reviewing key terms to increase their mathematical vocabulary and improve their understanding during the lectures.  Students of all grade levels and ages who implement educational solutions to help them overcome areas of academic weakness can improve their skills. Overtime, students will be able to spend less time learning new scholastic concepts as their organizational skills and study habits improve. Students also may find learning to be fun as they become capable to meet scholastic challenges and overcome their learning weaknesses. Dianis is founder of Dianis Educational Systems and author of Grade Transformer for the Modern Student. Find out more at dianiseducation.com.

84 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 85


86 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

[ Focus on Education ]

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A Sampling of Atlanta’s Private Schools Start your search for the right private school for your child with our listings. Schools are divided into four categories: non-sectarian, religious-affiliated, Montessori and special needs school. Tuition prices are approximate.

Pinecrest Academy

Non-Sectarian Schools Schools listed below offer classes at least through the third grade. They include the largest in the metro area as well as Atlanta Parent Magazine advertisers.

Academe of the Oaks. 146 New St., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-405-2173. 9th-12th. 97 students. $17,250/yr. academeatlanta.org. Atlanta Girls’ School. 3254 Northside Pkwy., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-845-0900. 6th-12th. 235 students. $21,950/yr. atlantagirlsschool.org. Atlanta Country Day School. 8725 Dunwoody Place, Atlanta (Fulton) 770-998-0311. 7th12th. 25 students. $16,000- $21,000/yr. atlantacountrydayschool.com Atlanta International School. 2890 N. Fulton Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-841-3840. K3-12th. 1160 students. $20,647-$23,570/yr. aischool.org.

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Brandon Hall School. 1701 Brandon Hall Dr., Dunwoody (Fulton). 770-394-8177. 6th12th. 175 students. $31,940/yr. brandonhall.org.

The Cottage School. 700 Grimes Bridge Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-641-8688. 6th-12th. 156 students. $24,200-$24,950/yr. cottageschool.org.

Cambridge Academy. 2780 Flat Shoals Rd., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-241-1321. 2 yrs.-8th. 225 students. $7,280-$8,000/yr. acambridgeacademy.com.

Eaton Academy. 1000 Old Roswell Lakes Pkwy., Roswell (Fulton). 770-645-2673. K-12th. 150 students. $12,000-$22,000/yr. eatonacademy.org.

The Children’s School. 345 Tenth St., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-873-6985. 3yrs.-6th. 400 students. $19,550/yr. thechildrensschool. com. Cliff Valley School. 2426 Clairmont Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 678-302-1302. 3yrs.8th. 321 students. $6,975-$17,490/yr. cliffvalleyschool.org. Cornerstone Schools. 4888 Browns Bridge Rd., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-205-8202. PreK-10th. 350 students. $8,000-$11,000/yr. cornerstonesch.com.

[ Focus on Education ]

Foundations for the Future. 1500 Stanley Rd., Kennesaw (Cobb). 770-429-4799. 6wks.-6th. 202 students. $7,200-$9,800/yr. foundationscorp.com. The Galloway School. 215 W. Wieuca Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-252-8389. K3-12th. 750 students. $11,400-$23,900/yr. gallowayschool.org. George Walton Academy. 1 Bulldog Dr., Monroe (Walton). 770-267-7578. K4-12th. 840 students. $4,200-$10,795/yr. gwa.com. Gracepoint School. 2005 Stilesboro Rd., Kennesaw (Cobb). 678-709-6634. 1st-8th. 47 students. $19,500-$20,500/yr. gracepointschool.org. Cont’d on page 88

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 87


A Sampling of Atlanta’s Private Schools The Green School. 1460 E. Cleveland St., East Point. (Fulton). 404-768-2111. PreK-4th grade. 35 students. $10,000/yr. littlelinguistspreschool.com The Heritage School. 2093 Hwy. 29 N, Newnan (Coweta). 770-253-9898. 4yrs.-12th. 434 students. $7,500-$14,950/yr. heritagehawks.org. High Meadows School. 1055 Willeo Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-993-2940. 3 yrs.-8th. 400 students. $5,860-$18,070/yr. highmeadows.org. Lakeview Academy. 796 Lakeview Dr., Gainesville (Hall). 770-532-4383. PreK312th. 575 students. $6,300-$15,244/yr. lakeviewacademy.com. Lovett School. 4075 Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta (Fulton). 404-262-3032. K-12th. 1,665 students. $21,650-$25,630/yr. lovett.org. McGinnis Woods Country Day School. 5380 Faircroft Drive., Alpharetta (Forsyth). 770-6647764. Infant-8th. 400 students. $9,150-$12,600/ yr. mcginniswoods.org. Omni International School. 3940 Cascade Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-865-1463. PreK2-5th. 50 students. $9,000-$12,800/yr. omnischoolatl.com. Pace Academy. 966 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-262-1345. Pre1-12th. 1,102 students. $21,800-$25,100/yr. paceacademy.org. The Paideia School. 1509 S. Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-377-3491. 3yrs.12th. 1,005 students. $12,507-$22,521/yr. paideiaschool.org. Peachtree Academy Private School. 1801 Ellington Rd., 1760 Ebenezer Rd., and 14101 Hwy. 278, Conyers and Covington (Rockdale) and (Newton). 770-860-8900. PreK-12th. 450 students. $5,000-$7,150/yr. peachtreeacademy.com. Piedmont Academy. 126 Hwy. 212, Monticello (Jasper). 706-468-8818. K4-12th. 295 students. $4,780-$6,660/yr. piedmontacademy.com.

Atlanta Country Day School

The SAE School. 6688 Mableton Pkwy. Mableton (Cobb). 678-239-3200. 2 yrs.-11th. 375 students. $8,750-$10,500/yr. SAEschool.org. Saint Francis Schools. 13440 Cogburn Rd. and 9375 Willeo Rd., Alpharetta and Roswell (Fulton). 678-339-9989. K-12th. 785 students. $10,900$18,900/yr. saintfrancisschools.com. Tabula Rasa Language Academy. 5855 Riverside Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-409-0827. Preschool-5th. 150 students. $7,000-$15,000/yr. trlanguages.com.

Trinity School. 4301 Northside Pkwy., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-231-8100. 3yrs.-6th. 642 students. $15,100-$21,305/yr. trinityatl. org. The Waldorf School of Atlanta. 827 Kirk Rd., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-377-1315. 2yrs.-8th. 240 students. $3,500-$15,300/yr. waldorfatlanta.org. The Walker School. 700 Cobb Pkwy., Marietta (Cobb). 770-427-2689. 3 yrs.12th. 952 students. $9,110-$20,950/yr. thewalkerschool.org. Wesleyan School. 5405 Spalding Dr., Norcross (Gwinnett). 770-448-7640. K-12th. 1,128 students. $15,660-$21,185/yr. wesleyanschool.org. Westminster Schools. 1424 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-609-6202. Pre 1st-12th. 1,862 students. $22,125-$25,660/yr. westminster.net. Whitefield Academy. 1 Whitefield Dr., Mableton (Cobb). 678-305-3000. PreK412th. 780 students. $10,530-$21,390/yr. whitefieldacademy.com. The Wood Acres School. 1772 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-971-1880. 2yrs.-8th. 500 students. $3,700-$10,200/yr. woodacresschool.org. Woodward Academy. 1662 Rugby Ave. and 6565 Boles Rd., College Park and Johns Creek (Fulton) and (Gwinnett). 404-7654000. PreK-12th. 2,700 students. $15,100$24,800/yr. woodward.edu.

Woodward Academy

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Religious-Affiliated Schools Schools listed below offer classes at least through the third grade. These listings include the largest religious-affiliated schools in the metro area plus Atlanta Parent Magazine advertisers.

Alpharetta Christian Academy. 44 Academy St., Alpharetta (Fulton). 770-475-5762. 18 mos.-6th. 350 students. $180-450/mo -$8,000/yr. alpharettachristianacademy.com. Annunciation Day School. 2500 Clairmont Rd. NE, Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-565-2850. 18 mos.-7th. 107 students. $1,890-$9,450/yr. annunciationdayschool.org. Arlington Christian School. 4500 Ridge Rd., Fairburn (Fulton). 770-964-9871. K4-12th. 225 students. $5,500-$9,000/yr. arlingtonchristian.org. The Atlanta Academy. 2000 Holcomb Woods Pkwy., Roswell (Fulton). 678-461-6102. PK2-8th. 300 students. $3,000-$13,350/yr. atlantaacademy.com. Atlanta Jewish Academy of Atlanta. 5200 Northland Dr. and 3120 Raymond Dr., Atlanta (Fulton) and (Dekalb). 404-843-9900. Infants12th. 500 students. $14,835-$22,767/yr. atljewishacademy.org. Bible Baptist Christian School. 2780 Mount Carmel Rd., Hampton (Henry). 770-946-4700. K4-12th. 170 students. $3,500-$6,400/yr. biblebaptistministries.com.

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The Walker School

Blessed Trinity Catholic High School. 11320 Woodstock Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 678-277-9083. 9th-12th. 970 students. $11,850/yr. btcatholic.org. Bridgeway Christian Academy. 4755 Kimball Bridge Rd., Alpharetta (Fulton). 770-751-1972. K38th. 200 students. $2,350-$10,900/yr. bcalions.com. Cherokee Christian Academy and Cherokee Christian High School. 3075 Trickum Rd., Woodstock (Cherokee). 678-494-5464. K-12th. 380 students. $6,500-$12,200/yr. cherokeechristian.org.

[ Focus on Education ]

Chosen Generation Christian Academy. 3800 Big Miller Grove Way, Lithonia (DeKalb). 770-3221414. PreK2-3rd. 10 students. $650$740/month. Christ the King School. 46 Peachtree Way, Atlanta (Fulton). 404-233-0383. K-8th. 560 students. $8,750-$12,060/ yr. christking.org. Cont’d on page 90

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 89


A Sampling of Atlanta’s Private Schools Collins Hill Christian School. 1612 Collins Hill Rd., Lawrenceville (Gwinnett). 770-9620642. K4-8th. 200 students. $2,000-4,300/yr. chcscrusaders.org. Colonial Hills Christian School. 7131 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs (Douglas). 770-9416342. K3-12th. 245 students. $6,395-$8,020/yr. chrams.org. Community Christian School. 2001 West Jodeco Rd., Stockbridge (Henry). 678-432-0191. Nursery-12th. 900 students. $4,600-$8,300/yr. communitychristianschool.net. Cornerstone Christian Academy. 5295 Triangle Parkway Norcross (Gwinnett). 770-441-9222. K-8th. 320 students. $9,450$10,915/yr. cornerstonecougars.org. Covenant Christian Academy. 6905 Post Rd., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-674-2990. K4-12th. 260 students. $7,500/yr. covenantrams.org. Covenant Christian Academy. 3425 Hwy. 20, Loganville (Gwinnett). 770-466-7890. K3-12th. 235 students. $7,000-$8,000/yr. covenantcougars.org. Covenant Christian School. 3130 Atlanta Rd. Smyrna (Cobb). 770-435-1596. K4-8th. 200 students. $5,000 - $8,100/yr. ccssmyrna.org. Creekside Christian Academy. 175 Foster Dr., McDonough (Henry). 770-961-9300. K3-12th. 705 students. $3,800-$5,800/yr. creeksideacademy.org. Cumberland Christian Academy. 2356 Clay Rd., Austell (Cobb). 770-819-6443. PreK3-12th. 485 students. $3,790-$7,680/yr. cumberlandchristian.org. The Davis Academy. 8105 Roberts Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 770-671-0085. Kprep 1-8th. 560 students. $17,778-$21,255/yr. davisacademy.org.

FULTON COUNTY SCHOOLS IS HERE TO HELP FAMILIES… For any child age 3 or older, the school system can evaluate for a suspected disability, at no cost. • DIAGNOSTIC AND EVALUATION SERVICES • SPEECH/LANGUAGE THERAPY • SPECIALIZED COMMUNITY-BASED AND SCHOOL-BASED EDUCATION We serve students with disabilities such as developmental delays, speech/language delays, autism spectrum disorders, hearing and vision impairments, orthopedic impairments who are three to five years of age and reside within the Fulton County School District. It is the policy of the Fulton County School System not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability in any employment practice,educational program, or any other program, activity, or service.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 470-254-0404 OR VISIT WWW.FULTONSCHOOLS.ORG

90 Atlanta Parent    January 2016

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The Gallloway School

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Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. 2400 Hwy. 42 North, McDonough (Henry). 770957-2927. K3-12th. 1,100 students. $3,312 $11,064/yr. elcaonline.org. Eastside Christian School. 2450 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-9712332. K-8th. 358 students. $5,900-$8,613/yr. eastsidechristianschool.com. The Epstein School. 335 Colewood Way, NW., Sandy Springs (Fulton). 404-250-5600. 18mos.-8th. 550 students. $6,195-$20,850/yr. epsteinatlanta.org. Excel Christian Academy. 325 Old Mill Rd., Cartersville (Bartow). 770-382-9488. K-12th. 275 students. $9,180-$9,840/yr. excelca.org. Faith Lutheran School. 2111 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-973-8921. 18mos.-8th. 200 students. $3,400-$7,435/yr. faithlcms.org. Fellowship Christian School. 10965 Woodstock Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-9931650. K4-12th. 863 students. $3,570-$14,610/yr. fellowshipchristianschool.org. The Friends School of Atlanta. 862 Columbia Dr., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-373-8746. PreK-8th. 173 students. $16,900-$20,300/yr. friendsschoolatlanta.org. Grace Christian Academy. 355 McDonough Rd., Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-461-0137. K3-12th. 189 students. $4,765-$6,701/yr. gracechristian.info.

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Hebron Christian Academy

Greater Atlanta Christian School. 1575 Indian Trail Rd., Norcross (Gwinnett). 770243-2000. K3-12th. 1800 students. $12,070$20,205/yr. greateratlantachristian.org.

Harvester Christian Academy. 4241 Central Church Rd., Douglasville (Douglas). 770-9421583. K4-12th. 385 students. $4,277-$7,574/yr. harvesteracademy.com.

Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academic Center. 3250 Rainbow Dr., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-486-6737. K-12th. 223 students. $6,790-8,390/yr. greenforestacademy.org.

Hebron Christian Academy. 2975 Old Peachtree Rd. and 570 Dacula Rd., Dacula (Gwinnett). 770962-5423. K-12th. 900 students. $6,500-$8,125/yr. hebronlions.org.

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Cont’d on page 92

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 91


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North Cobb Christian School

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. 805 Mt. Vernon Hwy., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-255-4026. 3yrs.-12th. 1,374 students. $9,380-$24,300/yr. hies.org.

Love and Learn & North Gwinnett Christian Academy. 15 E. Moreno St. Buford. 6 weeks8th. 47 students. 770-271-8979. $4,150-$5,400. loveandlearnacademy.com

Holy Redeemer Catholic School. 3380 Old Alabama Rd., Johns Creek (Fulton). 770410-4056. K-8th. 484 students. $7,750/yr. hrcatholicschool.org.

Marist School. 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 770-457-7201. 7th-12th. 1,081 students. $18,100/yr. marist.com.

Holy Spirit Preparatory School. 4465 and 4449 Northside Dr.; 4820 Long Island Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 678-904-2811. PreK212th. 575 students. $6,005-$22,465/yr. holyspiritprep.org. Horizon Christian Academy. 2160 Freedom Pkwy., Cumming (Forsyth). 678-947-3583. K-12th. 203 students. $8,750-$9,950/yr. horizonchristian.org. Immaculate Heart of Mary. 2855 Briarcliff Rd. NE Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-636-4488. K-8th. 500 students. $7,135-$9,490/yr. ihmschool.org. Intown Community School. 2059 Lavista Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-633-8081. K-8th. 235 students. $4,500-$9,000/yr. intownschool.org. Killian Hill Christian School. 151 Arcado Rd., Lilburn (Gwinnett). 770-921-3224. K5-12th. 370 students. $6,125-$10,225/yr. khcs.org.

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King’s Ridge Christian School. 2765 Bethany Bend, Alpharetta (Fulton). 770-754-5738. PreK-12th. 850 students. $6,500; $18,094/yr. kingsridgecs.org. Landmark Christian School. 777 Robinson Rd. and 50 SE Broad St., Peachtree City and Fairburn (Fayette) and (Fulton). 770-306-0647. K4-12th. 805 students. $4,760-$14,975/yr. landmarkchristianschool.org. Loganville Christian Academy. 2575 Hwy. 81, Loganville (Walton). 770-554-9888. PreK-12th. 570 students. $3,725-$9,500/yr. lcalions.com.

[ Focus on Education ]

Midway Covenant Christian School. 4635 Dallas Hwy., Powder Springs (Cobb). 770-5901866. K3-8th. 300 students. $2,800-$5,500/yr. midwayschool.org. Mohammed Schools. 735 Fayetteville Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-378-4219. PreK312th. 150 students. $5,000-$12,000/yr. mohammedschools.org. Mount Paran Christian School. 1275 Stanley Rd., Kennesaw (Cobb). 770-578-0182. K3-12th. 1,190 students. $3,090-16,095/yr. mtparanschool.com. Mount Pisgah Christian School. 9820 Nesbit Ferry Rd., Johns Creek (Fulton). 678-336-3443. 6wks.-12th. 1,000 students. $14,400-$18,980/yr. experiencepisgah.org. Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. 471 and 510 Mt. Vernon Hwy., Atlanta (Fulton). 404252-3448. 6 weeks-12th. 932 students. $7,650$19,975/yr. mountvernonschool.org. Mt. Bethel Christian Academy. 4385 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-971-0245. PreK-12th. 600 students. $9,900-$14,500/yr. mtbethelchristian.org. North Cobb Christian School. 4500 Lakeview Dr., Kennesaw (Cobb). 770-975-0252. K3-12th. 925 students. $4,325-$13,360/yr. ncchristian.org. Notre Dame Academy. 4635 River Green Pkwy., Duluth (Gwinnett). 678-387-9385. PreK3-9th. 564 students. $2,450-$13,950/yr. ndacademy.org.

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Shiloh Hills Christian School. 260 Hawkins Store Rd., Kennesaw (Cobb). 770-926-7729. K3-12th. 212 students. $3,400-$8,400/yr. shilohhills.com.

Old Suwanee Christian School. 4118 Old Suwanee Rd., Buford (Gwinnett). 770-9455451. K4-12th. 169 students. $5,750$6,000/yr. oldsuwanee.org.

Sola Fide Lutheran School. 1307 Webb Gin House Rd., Lawrenceville. 770-972-1771. Pre-K-8th. 55 students. $1,600- $5,900/yr. solafide.com

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School. 861 Evander Holyfield Hwy., Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-461-2202. 9th-12th. 400 students. $11,600/yr. mercycatholic.org.

Solid Rock Academy. 106 Commerce St., Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-997-9744. Preschool-12th. 125 students. $6,880-$8,250/ yr. solidrockacademy.com.

Our Lady of the Assumption School. 1320 Hearst Dr., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404364-1902. PreK4-8th. 500 students. $8,155$9,655/yr. olaschool.org.

Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. 3911 Campbellton Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-346-2080. Preschool-12th. 200 students. $6,850-$10,000/yr. sacanet.com.

Our Lady of Victory Catholic School. 211 Kirkley Rd., Tyrone (Fayette). 770306-9026. K-8th. 225 students. $8,423/yr. olvcatholicschoolk-8.org. Peoples Baptist Academy. 850 Mill Rd., McDonough (Henry). 770-914-7388. K3-12th. 215 students. $4,200-$5,100/yr. peoplesbaptistacademy.org.

Sugar Hill Christian Academy

Perimeter Christian School. 9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Duluth (Fulton). 678-405-2300. K-8th. 562 students. $5,493$10,461/yr. perimeterschool.org.

Providence Christian Academy. 4575 Lawrenceville Hwy., Lilburn (Gwinnett). 770-279-7200. K-12th. 667 students. $9,870$14,670/yr. providencechristianacademy.org.

Pinecrest Academy. 955 Peachtree Pkwy., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-888-4477. PreK312th. 808 students. $6,500-$15,345/yr. pinecrestacademy.org.

Queen of Angels Catholic School. 11340 Woodstock Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770518-1804. K-8th. 504 students. $7,450/yr. qaschool.org.

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[ Focus on Education ]

St. Benedict’s Episcopal Day School. 2160 Cooper Lake Rd., Smyrna (Cobb). 678-2794300. Preschool-8th. 440 students. $6,800$10,300/yr. stbenedictsdayschool.org. St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School. 1618 Ben King Rd., Kennesaw (Cobb). 770419-8601. K-8th. 228 students. $7,350/yr. scsiena.org. St. John Neumann Regional Catholic School. 791 Tom Smith Rd., Lilburn (Gwinnett). 770-381-0557. K-8th. 305 students. $7,440-$9,700/yr. sjnrcs.org. Cont’d on page 94

January 2016    Atlanta Parent 93


A Sampling of Atlanta’s Private Schools Casa Montessori. 150 Powers Ferry Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-973-2731. 18 mos.-6th. 150 students. $8,500-$10,500/yr. casamontessori.com.

St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. 240 Arnold St., Hapeville (Fulton). 404-767-4312. PreK-8th. 315 students. $7,200-$8,600/yr. sjecs.org.

Counterpane Montessori. 839 Highway 314 Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-461-2304. 3 yrs.-12th. 100 students. $11,500/yr. counterpane.org.

St. Joseph Catholic School. 81 Lacy St., Marietta (Cobb). 770-428-3328. K-8th. 480 students. $6,329-$8,229/yr. stjosephschool.org.

Country Brook Montessori School. 2175 N. Norcross-Tucker Rd., Norcross (Gwinnett). 770446-2397. 18 mos.-3rd. 75 students. $6,750-$9,950/ yr. countrybrookmontessori.com.

St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School. 7171 Glenridge Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 770-3942880. K-8th. 506 students. $7,935-$9,590/yr. saintjude.net.

Covered Bridge Montessori School. 3941 Covered Bridge Pl., Smyrna (Cobb). 770-8018292. 3yrs-5th. 100 students. $6,200-$10,500/yr. coveredbridgeacademy.com.

St. Martin’s Episcopal School. 3110-A Ashford-Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-237-4260. PreK3-8th. 635 students. $11,250-$18,900/yr. www.stmartinschool.org. St. Paul Lutheran School. 700 Ardenlee Pkwy., Peachtree City (Fayette). 770-4863545. 12 mos.-8th. 190 students. $1,525$6,600/yr. stpaulptc.com. St. Pius X Catholic High School. 2674 Johnson Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-636-3023. 9th-12th. 1,100 students. $13,500/yr. spx.org. St. Thomas Moore Catholic School. 630 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. Decatur (DeKalb). 404-373-8456. K-8th. 464 students. $7,340$10,100/yr. stmga.org.

Montessori School at Emory

Torah Day School of Atlanta. 1985 Lavista Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-982-0800. K-8th. 325 students. $12,000-$14,000/yr. torahday.org. Weber School, The. 6751 Roswell Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-917-2500. 9th-12th. 224 students. $25,675/yr. weberschool.org.

Montessori Schools

Still Waters Learning Center. 2650 North Druid Hills Rd., Atlanta. (DeKalb) 678-7054108. Pre-K-8th Grade. 35 students. $6,200$8,000/yr. stillwatersumc.org

Montessori schools use the teaching technique developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. Schools listed below have elementary classes through at least the third grade.

Strong Rock Christian School. 4200 Strong Rock Pkwy., Locust Grove (Henry). 678-8331200. PreK3-12th. 813 students. $5,605$11,305/yr. strongrockchristianschool.com.

Arbor Montessori School. 2998 Lavista Rd., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-321-9304. 18 mos.-14yrs. 293 students. $9,060-$18,100/yr. arbormontessori.org.

Sugar Hill Christian Academy. 4600 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Sugar Hill (Gwinnett). 678745-4121. K4-8th. 370 students. $2,400$8,032/yr. sugarhillchristian.org.

Atlanta Montessori International School. 1970 Cliff Valley Way NE, Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-325-6777. 8wks.-15yrs.. 200 students. $11,000-$17,000/yr. amischool.com.

Crabapple Montessori School. 12387 Crabapple Rd., Alpharetta (Fulton). 770-569-5200. 18mos-12yrs. 160 students. $7,000-$12,000/yr. crabapplemontessori.com. Discovery Montessori. 1453 East Cleveland Ave., East Point (Fulton). 404-767-5005. 2mos.-12yrs. 115 students. $6,100-10,020/yr. discoverymontessoriacademy.com. The Duluth Montessori School. 1768 Old Peachtree Rd., Duluth (Gwinnett). 770-476-9307. 14 mos.-15yrs. 140 students. $7,963-$12,662/yr. duluthmontessori.com. Fayette Montessori. 190 Weatherly Dr., Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-460-6790. 20mos.-6th. 70 students. $2,624-$8,160/yr. fayettemontessori.com. Harbour Oaks Montessori. 1741 Athens Hwy., Grayson (Gwinnett). 770-979-8900. 18mos.-12th. 130 students. $6,600-$9,000/yr. harbouroaks.org. Home Away from Home Montessori School. 40 Dodd St. SE, Marietta (Cobb) 404-510-3203. PreK-3rd. 20 students. $660/month. hahacademy.com Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs. 2830 Old Atlanta Rd., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-2056277. 18mos.-15yrs. 220 students. $6,000 $10,500/yr. montessoriacademygeorgia.com.

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Montessori Academy at Vickery. 6285 Post Rd., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-777-9131. 18mos.-9yrs. 150 students. $7,000-$11,000/yr. montessorivickery.com. Montessori In Town. 1085 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-784-1038. 14mos.9yrs. 100 students. $9,000-$11,500/yr. montessoriintown.com.

Inclusive Preschool

Montessori School at Emory. 3021 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur (DeKalb). 404-634-5777. 15mos-14yrs. 150 students. $883-$1,475/mo. montessorischoolatemory.com.

ALC offers an inclusive preschool program in partnership with 9 Community Preschools around the Atlanta area. Atlanta • Buckhead • Dunwoody • Druid Hills Marietta • Roswell • Sandy Springs

Montessori School of Cumming. 4601 Post Rd., Cumming (Forsyth). 770-205-6773. 15mos-12yrs. 60 students. $4,450-$10,700/yr. montessorischoolofcumming.com. Northwoods Montessori. 3340 Chestnut Dr. and 1879 Columbia Dr., Doraville and Decatur (DeKalb). 770-457-7261. 12mos.12yrs. 100 students. $7,935-$14,890/yr. northwoodsmontessori.com. Oak Meadow Montessori School. 2145 Collins Hill Rd., Lawrenceville (Gwinnett). 770-9638303. 15mos.-5th. 130 students. $6,000-$9,500/yr. oakmeadowmontessori.com.

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Bedford School

Heart of Hope Academy at the Elaine Clark Center. 5130 Peachtree Ind. Blvd., Chamblee (DeKalb). 770-458-3251. 6-22yrs. 70 students. $18,000/yr. elaineclarkcenter.org.

Old Peachtree Montessori. 33 Hills Shop Rd., Hwy. 324, Auburn (Gwinnett). 770-963-3052. 8weeks-8th. 100 students. $2,900-$7,600/yr. opmontessori.com.

The Howard School. 1192 Foster St., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-377-7436. K-12th. 246 students. $28,000-$30,000/yr. howardschool.org.

Riverstone Montessori. 455 Casteel Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-422-9194. 2.5yrs.-9th. 120 students. $8,462-$16,570/yr. riverstonemontessori.com.

Jacob’s Ladder Neurodevelopmental School and Therapy Center. 407 Hardscrabble Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-998-1017. PreK-12th. 90 students. $29,600/yr. jacobsladdercenter.com.

Springmont. 5750 Long Island Dr., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-252-3910. 18 mos.-14yrs. 260 students. $9,010-19,980/yr. springmont.com. Village Montessori. 1610 Woodstock Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-552-0834. 18mos.-8th. 150 students. $5,100-$14,000/yr. vmschool.com.

Special Needs Schools

Joseph Sams School. 280 Brandywine Blvd., Fayetteville (Fayette). 770-461-5894. Birth-22yrs. 70 students. $8,600-$20,600/yr. josephsamsschool.org. MDE School. 1517 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta (Cobb). 770-971-4633. K-8th, educate 9-12 with vocational rehab program. 31 students. $17,000/yr. mdeschool.com.

Alexsander Academy. 1090 Powers Place, Alpharetta (Fulton). 770-777-0475. K-12th. 35 students. $11,000$16,500/yr. alexsanderacademy.org.

Mill Springs Academy. 13660 New Providence Rd., Alpharetta (Fulton). 770360-1336. 1st-12th. 340 students. $22,151/yr. millsprings.org.

Atlanta Speech School. 3160 Northside Pkwy., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-233-5332. 2yrs.-6th. 363 students. $13,781-$34,454/yr. atlantaspeechschool.org.

The Piedmont School of Atlanta. 1330 North Druid Hills Rd., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-382-8200. K-6th. 12 students. $23,000/yr. thepiedmontschoolofatlanta.org.

Bedford School. 5665 Milam Rd., Fairburn (Fulton). 770-774-8001. 1st-9th. 153 students. $18,250/yr. thebedfordschool.org.

Porter Academy. 200 Cox Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 770-594-1313. PreK-8th. 72 students. $18,000-$19,000/yr. porteracademy.org.

Brookwood Christian School. 4728 Wood St., Acworth (Cobb). 678-401-5855. 1st-12th. 55 students. $13,000/yr. .brookwoodchristian.com.

The Schenck School. 282 Mt. Paran Rd., Atlanta (Fulton). 404-252-2591. K-6th. 250 students. $30,235/yr. schenck.org.

Center Academy. 3499 South Cobb Dr., Smyrna (Cobb). 770-333-1616. 4th-12th. 50 students. $16,295/yr. centeracademy.com.

Sophia Academy. 2880 Dresden Dr., Atlanta (DeKalb). 404-303-8722. K-12th. 100 students. $15,000-$22,000/yr. sophiaacademy.org.

Cumberland Academy of Georgia. 650 Mt. Vernon Hwy. NE, Atlanta (Fulton). 404-8359000. 4th-12th, post grad. program. 100 students. $22,100-$21,500/yr. cumberlandacademy.org.

The Swift School. 300 Grimes Bridge Rd., Roswell (Fulton). 678-205-4988. 1st-8th. 270 students. $24,820-$25,220/yr. theswiftschool.org. c

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January 2016    Atlanta Parent 95

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