First Bibb County charter school session draws 200

jkovac@macon.comNovember 11, 2013 

Two hundred or so parents turned out Saturday to learn more about a Bibb County charter school set to open next fall.

About 60 people handed in applications to send their children to the Academy for Classical Education, a K-8 school with an expected first-year enrollment of about 760. Others applied online at More forums are coming.

It may be a couple more weeks before the school selects a location.

Laura Perkins, one of the academy’s founders, said Monday there are a handful of potential sites.

“We want to be able to tell people where we’re gonna be,” Perkins said.

For startup charter schools, she said, deciding where to put them -- more precisely, where they can afford to be put -- is often one of the main hurdles.

At one time, academy founders had considered the old Miller High School on Montpelier Avenue as a possible home, but the estimated $10 million price tag to renovate it was too steep.

“Our goal is to be a vibrant part of the community,” Perkins said.

At Saturday’s gathering at Macon City Hall, Perkins said parents of prospective students and students themselves asked questions about the school.

Some of them wanted to know if they would change classes during the school day -- sixth through eighth grades will.

Some parents asked whether the school would offer sports -- chances are it will.

Perkins said the school will aim to teach children “how to think, not what to think.” Students will be taught the importance of reading and writing about ideas, and that approach will be used in all subject areas.

She said she told parents “we want this to be the hardest school that their kids ever loved.”

A teacher recruiting fair is being held at 10 a.m. and at noon this Saturday in the Religious Life Center on Mercer University’s campus.

One of the most frequent questions Perkins gets asked is about how the school will handle disciplinary issues.

“When you choose to come, it is our way,” she said.

“No child will disrupt the classroom and hold (the learning of) other children hostage.”

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