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DSC_3307Two Ivy Preparatory Academy scholars recently shared their views on charter school education at a national conference sponsored by the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

The scholars, Devante McDaniel, an eighth grader at Ivy Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy, and Khelsei Dorsett-Wilson, a seventh grader at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett, were invited to speak at BAEO’s 7th Annual Seminar on Education Policy and Parental Choice.

More than 80 school administrators, teachers, lawmakers and community organizers from across the country attended the two-day conference at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Hotel. The meeting featured seminars on promoting school choice, fighting for national standards in education, and improving access to quality schools through scholarships.

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BAEO is a national nonprofit organization that believes that all children deserve a quality education. The group empowers parents and students to exercise school choice and find educational options that fit their needs. BAEO offers guidance to families seeking enrollment in high-performing charter, magnet, and private schools.

Ivy Prep’s Dorsett-Wilson, who spoke at the BAEO conference luncheon, said that she chose Ivy Prep because it was the best fit for her as a scholar.

“Ivy has changed me in many ways,” the seventh grader told the audience. “I have broken out of my shell, and I have become a leader. I have seen and experienced many wonderful things like college tours and the first graduating class at Ivy Prep and much more. I have a whole new college mindset.”

Dorsett-Wilson said that Ivy Prep offers college planning for students that is typically not found at the middle school level in traditional public schools. “There are college flags all around the campus,” she said. “We even have a college and career planning class.”

Dorsett-Wilson told the group that Ivy Bound classes have helped her to research colleges that she is interested in and choose a major. “I am going to Stanford University to study law.” Her announcement was greeted by applause.

DSC_3319Ms. Alisha Morgan, executive director of Ivy Prep Academies, and Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett, attended the luncheon with Dorsett-Wilson. Morgan also spoke at the BAEO conference.

“We welcome the opportunity to provide our scholars with a chance to highlight their journey and success at Ivy Prep,” Morgan said. “School choice is a civil rights imperative. We hope that other families will be empowered to pick the schools that are right for their children.”

McDaniel spoke during the conference’s closing session. He was eager to share insight about the benefits of single-gender education and leadership training at IPYMLA. He was accompanied by his principal, Mr. Derick Brown.

“I feel very honored to represent my school,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel told the audience that IPYMLA is preparing him for the future. He said that he is learning in classes with few distractions led by caring teachers who even come in on Saturdays to help students learn.

McDaniel said Ivy Prep believes that he is college material. McDaniel plans to study business at the University of Georgia and work for Nike someday. He also wants to own a business.

“Ivy Prep pushes me to my limits because they want me to succeed,” McDaniel told the audience. “They want me to go to the college of my choice and succeed there and in my career.“

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