One of the new charter schools approved today is a public school version of the well known Fugees Academy. a private school for refugee children started by Luma Mufleh, shown here teaching at the Clarkson school. 

State approves seven new charter schools today

Today’s State Charter Schools Commission meeting devoted a lot of time to a discussion about delaying action on a petition for a new online charter school devoted to career tech. But there was other news. Seven new charters were approved, most in metro Atlanta.

While most of the schools are open to any Georgia residents, the founders anticipate their students coming from neighboring communities. The schools intend to open next year, although not all have firm locations yet. 

Most are already soliciting interested families via their web sites. (Links below for all the web sites.)

Several of the approved schools are tailoring their offerings and their approaches to minority children in low-income communities. Reading through their applications tonight, there is a lot of attention to science and math and to instruction that acknowledges and celebrates the children’s cultural backgrounds. 

Here is the list:

Amana Academy West: This west Atlanta school will be a replication of the existing Amana Academy in Alpharetta, which was approved 15 years ago and serves only students in Fulton County. The new school will be open to any students in Georgia, although Amana West expects to draw students largely from Atlanta, Cobb, Fulton, Douglas, Paulding, and Dekalb.

Atlanta SMART Academy: The new middle school will open in 2020 in southwest Atlanta and be open to any student in Georgia. The school will focus on science, math and art and feature four extended days and a shortened fifth day. 

Atlanta Unbound Academy: This K-8 school will have statewide attendance and be located in Fulton County. There will a literacy focus and smaller classes with extended learning. The school’s web site also explains: “AUA will be an official affiliate and lab school of the Black Teacher Collaborative, which trains teachers to leverage their shared racial identity with students to develop transformative learning environments.”

Collegiate Academy of Albany: One of the few new schools outside of metro Atlanta, the academy will be based in a church in downtown Albany with a statewide attendance zone. The school will be part of Sabis, a global education network. While Collegiate will open as a K-3 school, the intent is to expand to high school. 

D.E.L.T.A STEAM Academy: A multi-county school based in Douglas County, this K-8 will focus on science, technology, math and arts. Its name stands for “Deliberate Excellence Leads to Achievement.” The founders expect to draw students from Douglas, south Fulton, south Cobb and Atlanta. 

Furlow Charter School: This is an existing Sumter County charter school that is now becoming a state charter school. School leaders pledged to expand diversity in the Americus school that serves 65 percent white students in a county that’s 53 percent African American. 

Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School: Serving students from middle to high school, the school will accept students statewide but the focus will be refugees and English language learners. The school promises rigorous academic support and English proficiency. The charter school will embrace the approach already in place at the Fugees Academy, a private school for refugee children in Clarkston begun by Luma Mufleh. The private school grew out of a soccer team for refugee boys that Mufleh coached. A soccer program will be an integral part of the new public charter school as well. (Mufleh is now living in Ohio where she is expanding her Fugees school concept.)

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.