Ivy Preparatory Academy administrators, teachers, and scholars observed National School Choice Week recently by participating in local events. The national focus on school choice highlighted the increasing educational options for students across the country.
Ms. Alisha T. Morgan, executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies, returned to the State Capitol during School Choice Week to lead a panel discussion at the Educate GA Summit. The conference, hosted by Rep. Valencia Stovall, featured workshops on education funding; increasing parent engagement; improving student achievement; and expanding the use of technology in the classroom.
Morgan’s panel discussion was held at the summit’s “State of Education Luncheon.” Panelists discussed strategies being used to narrow the achievement gap between students and to reduce the remediation rates for Georgia high school graduates who enter college behind their peers academically. Morgan served as moderator for the session. Her panelists included Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Program Director for the Walton Family Foundation; Patricia Levesque, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Excellence In Education; and Louis Erste, Associate Superintendent for Policy, Charter Schools, District Flexibility, and Governmental Affairs for the Georgia Department of Education.
Gov. Nathan Deal and Richard Woods, Georgia Schools’ Superintendent, also spoke at the luncheon.
“It’s an honor and great opportunity to impact the education of our scholars at the school level as well as the state and federal policy level,” Morgan said. “To be on the same stage as our Governor, Speaker of the House, State Superintendent, and national leaders in education places Ivy at the forefront in the minds of key leaders in our state. We are grateful for those relationships and look forward to leveraging them to benefit our scholars.”
More than 150 people attended the luncheon including community leaders, lawmakers, philanthropists, educators, and students. Ivy Prep’s founder Nina Gilbert, a national education consultant, also was among the attendees.
In other School Choice Week news, more than 100 Ivy Prep Kirkwood scholars showed their school pride at the annual School Choice Rally celebrating educational options available to Georgia students. The rally was held at Liberty Plaza in the shadow of the State Capitol building. Fifth graders from Ivy Prep Young Men’s Leadership Academy and Ivy Prep Kirkwood School for Girls represented their schools at the event.
Nearly 1,000 people braved the cold to attend the rally. The event, sponsored by the Georgia Center for Opportunity, empowers parents to pick the schools that meet their children’s needs.
“Being able to pick your school is important,” said Jaiden Harold, fifth grader at YMLA. “You have to shop around just like you do when you buy shoes or a car.”
The school choice rally featured appearances by celebrity guests. Actor and rap mogul, Ludacris, and actress and director, Keisha Knight-Pulliam, who gained fame for her role as “Rudy” on “The Cosby Show,” addressed the crowd of cheering students.
“All children should be able to access a great school,” Ludacris said.
After the talk, students danced to show pride for their charter schools, cyber academies, and private schools. Teachers also joined the fun.
Alana Gilbert, a fifth grader at Kirkwood School for Girls said she had a blast at the rally. “We got to see famous people for free!”
Jaden McKinney, a fifth grader at YMLA, said it was “awesome” to see Ludacris. “I like all of his songs.”
Jaylen Crumpstepp said that School Choice Week reminded him why he chose YMLA. “It’s a great place to learn about science, get good grades, and get prepared to get your college degree.”
Veronica Brackett, a fifth grader agreed. “Ivy Prep is helping me to learn about careers and colleges,” she said. “What I am doing now will help me to get into Spelman.”