Morehouse Student Opens Charter School in DeKalb County

Every man of Morehouse comes into the school with a desire to be a Renaissance man with a goal to change the world. Some choose to make their mark through academic excellence, some through political prowess and some through service. For sophomore Jonathan Wall, the avenue is education reform and the mark is the Peachtree Hope Charter School.

For Wall, a political science major from Raleigh, N.C., it all started with a note on Facebook entitled “Something Has Got to Give.” It chronicles Wall’s experience as a judge at a math competition and his extreme distaste with the racial disparity present in the winning teams. Eight grades were represented in the competition meaning there were 40 individual winners total; three of these winners were Black. In response to this, Wall wrote:

“It troubles me that America’s public schools… are unequal and lack not only diversity, but equality in distribution of education […] There is no reason for there to be such a wide gap in the academic skill-set of students in the same grade, in the same state.”

It is not a secret that the Georgia educational system has its fair share of issues. The state is currently 48th in the country in meeting education standards and 61 percent of students that enter into the school system in 9th grade will not graduate.

To Wall, these numbers and standards are unacceptable. But instead of just writing about it, Wall decided to do something about it.

Wall’s note was eventually published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and caught the attention of high ranking officials such as Lonnie King who worked with Wall to make this dream and call for change a reality.

Just over a year later, the Peachtree Hope Charter School has accepted its first round of applications and will be fully operational in August of this year.

The mission statement of the school presents Peachtree Hope Charter School as a solution to the issues Wall raised:“The mission of the Peachtree Hope Charter School (PHCS) is to be a provider of top-quality education to a highly diverse student body. PHCS will prepare all students for success in college, equip them with the ability and desire for lifelong learning, and strengthen their civic, ethical and moral values. PHCS will maintain high standards of efficiency and accountability throughout its operation.”

Wall sits on then Peachteee Hope Charter School Board of Trustees with the aforementioned Lonnie King as well as General Marcely Harris, Dr. Mamie Darlington, Dr. Charles Bennett, Mr. Jose Thompson and Mr. Clarence Williams.

The school is currently K-5 and a grade will be added each year the school is open until it reaches K-12 status. The Peachtree Hope Charter School is only the beginning of a much larger project. Five more charter schools will be opened in Fulton, Richmond, Bibb and Clayton counties by Fall 2011.

The company in charge of the entire project is SABIS® International Schools Network. Founded in 1886, SABIS® is a global management operation that is currently operating 75 schools in 15 countries. The incorporation of this global company is what sets PHCS apart from the other schools in Georgia.

“Georgia’s standards are too low,” Wall stated. “SABIS® brings an international standard.”

SABIS® international curriculum will be honed to incorporate the elements of the Georgia educational standards and this marriage will allow PHCS students to receive a broader education that will better prepare them for the world.

In addition to providing quality standards for its students, it will act as preparatory school for Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. Respective presidents Robert Franklin and Beverly Daniel Tatum have endorsed the new charter school and when the school opens, Morehouse and Spelman students will be encouraged to work with and tutor the PHCS students.

It all began with Wall making his opinions known and calling for educational reform. Now, a year later, John Wall has helped to make his desire for change come true with Peachtree Hope Charter School. This school provides a much needed modification, a stable foundation, and a sense of empowerment. But most of all, it provides what its name implies: HOPE.

-Elizabeth Sawyer

i am VERY proud of you Jon! the AUC just won't let up http://twitter.com/imfromraleigh

No comments: