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Ivy Preparatory Academies is expanding its K-8 academic program to include more enrichment opportunities and exposure to college and careers for students.

The program expansion will provide additional support services to increase rigor for students meeting and exceeding standards that need more challenging lessons and assist those who are struggling in core subjects.

“We will build on our foundation of excellence and focus on what we do best – elementary and middle school,” said Alisha T. Morgan, executive director of Ivy Prep Academies. “Ivy Preparatory Academies is known for its high-quality single-gender education. We offer students a college preparatory environment that is innovative and rigorous. We are laser-focused on boosting achievement and taking our schools to the next level.”

The K-8 expansion comes on the heels of an approval by the State Charter Schools Commission that formally allows Ivy Prep to focus on serving students in K-8. On Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to approve an amendment that changed Ivy Prep’s charters making them K-8 charter schools.

High school classes at Ivy Prep ended on Oct. 30. High school teachers will continue to offer tutoring, college counseling and test prep for the 90 students that were displaced by the closing of Ivy Prep’s blended model program. A high school transitions coordinator helped to place the students in new high schools across the metro area.

“We have attempted for over three years to adjust the model and accommodate parents who wished to send their children to high school at Ivy Prep, but the stakes are just too high,” Morgan said. “We will not try to build a program while risking on time graduation for the scholars we’ve invested so much in through our elementary and middle school programs.

“We were unable to fulfill our mission to equip our scholars to succeed at the colleges and universities of their choice in our high school program. We apologize to parents, scholars and anyone affected by the decision. It was extremely difficult for our academic leaders, some of whom taught many of the scholars in middle school,” Morgan added. “We have committed ourselves to always do what is in the best interests of scholars. Our mission remains the same, and we will stay connected, and provide the support our departing high schoolers need and deserve as they go to and through college.”

Programs under IPA’s new K-8 focus are already taking shape.

IPA’s flagship campus in Gwinnett will offer gifted classes for high-achieving students next school year. The curriculum expansion will increase the number of gifted certified teachers at IPA Gwinnett adding more rigor to the curriculum. Students recommended for gifted instruction will be tested later this school year, said Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett.

IPA Kirkwood School for Girls will expand its academic coaching efforts. The school began a pilot project this year under the direction of Dr. LaKeascha Jett called the Early Intervention Program. Jett, a veteran educator with 17 years of experience, provides one-on-one academic support to students who are falling behind in their studies.

Ivy Prep Young Men’s Leadership Academy will continue working with the state to improve the literacy and language skills of students. The school has partnered with the Governor’s Office Of Student Achievement in a three-year initiative to boost reading scores. The language and literacy partnership is pushing scholars to read at and beyond grade level. The program provides weekly teacher training and classroom support from an expert coach in the state’s Reading Mentor Program.

IPYMLA is one of nine school districts in GOSA’s North Georgia region to participate in the Reading Mentor Program. Statewide the outreach serves “thousands” of students including those in Atlanta Public Schools and DeKalb County Schools, said Kimberly Turner, program manager for the language and literacy initiative.

As the K-8 program expands, Morgan is seeking partnerships with national foundations and organizations to provide new academic opportunities for scholars. “Parents, our scholars, and our stakeholders can rest assure that we remain ‘Ivy Strong’ and focused on providing a high quality public education to existing and future scholars,” Morgan said.

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