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Gwinnett for Girls News

Education Reform Leader Alisha Thomas Morgan To Head Ivy Prep Academies

ATLANTA- Alisha Thomas Morgan, the former state legislator who co-sponsored a Constitutional Amendment expanding school choice in Georgia, will continue her advocacy in public education as the new head of Georgia’s first single-gender charter schools network.

Morgan was recently named as executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies, which serves more than 1,300 students in three metro Atlanta public charter schools. She was appointed by the Board of Directors of IPA to lead the charter network after a national search for a new executive director picked Morgan as a top contender among 100 applicants. read more…

Ivy Prep Gwinnett Welcomes New Leaders For 2015-16

IPA_Gwinnett_LeadershipIvy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett will begin the 2015-16 school year under new leadership.

The Governing Board of Ivy Preparatory Academies has promoted Mr. Chaz Patterson to serve as principal of Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett. Mr. Patterson, a veteran educator for nearly a decade, has worked as an assistant principal at IPA Gwinnett since 2011. He has been instrumental in building academic achievement and preserving the culture of professionalism, responsibility, engagement, and perseverance demonstrated by Ivy Prep scholars.

IPA Gwinnett’s former principal, Ms. Joy Treadwell, has been promoted to Director of Academic Affairs for Ivy Prep Academies’ network.

“I know that Ivy Prep Gwinnett is in great hands,” Treadwell said. “Mr. Patterson is going to bring additional programs to the school and additional rigor. The 2015-16 school year will be awesome.”

Under Mr. Patterson’s leadership, IPA Gwinnett will make lessons more challenging for scholars and increase their exposure to careers. Mr. Patterson also plans to boost parent engagement by adding more family events that build school spirit. More than 400 scholars will attend IPA Gwinnett’s middle and high school this academic year.

“I am a very structured individual, but at the heart of hearts, I am a fun person, ” Mr. Patterson said. “I want to make sure that the girls are performing well academically and also having fun at the same time.”

Mr. Patterson joined the staff of IPA Gwinnett in 2009 as an English teacher. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Florida State University; a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction from the University of Phoenix; and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from University of Georgia.

Mr. Patterson plans to build on the success of IPA Gwinnett’s first graduating class, which boasted a 100 percent graduation rate, a 100 percent college placement rate and scholarship offers of more than $170,000. The Class of 2015, now alumni of IPA, will be college freshmen this fall.

“After seeing their growth and development over the years, it was very heart-warming to see them walk across the stage and enter into the colleges and universities of their choice,” Mr. Patterson said. “I look forward to the rising seniors reaching those same goals and even more goals.”

The Class of 2016 will graduate with more exposure to careers. Mr. Patterson is working to build partnerships with local businesses and organizations that will lead to internships for scholars.

“I don’t want any of the girls that graduate from Ivy Prep to choose a major and have to change it later on because they don’t know what they want to do,” Mr. Patterson said. “We want our girls to take over positions at partnering businesses and learn what the operations are so when they go to college they are savvy and really have a passion for a career.”

Mr. Patterson also plans to host family events including health seminars, blood drives, and other activities to increase parent involvement.

“We are a school of choice and our parents choose to bring their scholars here,” he said. “Some families live close to Ivy Prep. Some live far away. We want to make sure that we are not just here for the students; we are here for everyone.”

Mr. Patterson will be supported in the administrative office by Dr. LaShaunda Hawkins, who will serve as the new assistant principal at IPA Gwinnett. Dr. Hawkins is a former interim assistant principal at IPA Kirkwood School for Girls. She has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.

Like Mr. Patterson, Dr. Hawkins says she will “sweat the small stuff” when it comes to making sure scholars follow school rules established to help them grow and succeed. “In today’s society the small stuff is important – it can be as simple as being polite, respecting yourself and respecting others,” Dr. Hawkins said.

“Sometimes respect can lead you further in life than being a straight-A student,” she added. “I tell students all of the time that I’d rather have a hard working ‘C’ students that’s teachable than an all-A student that is not teachable because they don’t have respect.”

Leaders at Ivy Prep Academies believe that Mr. Patterson and Dr. Hawkins have the experience necessary to keep IPA Gwinnett moving ahead as a state leader in single-gender education.  

“Ivy Prep Gwinnett’s new leaders will work to ensure that scholars have a quality education that prepares them for success in college,” said Nina Gilbert, founder at IPA.

Read more about Dr. Hawkins in this Q&A (.pdf download). Read more about Mr. Patterson in this Q&A (.pdf download).

Meet Chaz Patterson, New Principal at IPA Gwinnett

“I think that rigor is important and necessary to prepare students for college. I also like to have fun. No one ever said that learning should be boring.”

Q: Why did you want to become an educator?
A: I have always had a passion for working with kids and leading them in the right direction. I have been an educator for eight years. Everyday that I
wake up I am happy with my choice. I began my career working as a teacher in Miami Dade Public Schools. I taught sixth and eighth grade English. I
think that rigor is important and necessary to prepare students for college. I also like to have fun. No one ever said that learning should be boring.

Q: Why did you want to work at IPA?
A: I came to Ivy Prep in 2009 as a seventh grade English teacher. I was attracted to the school because it has a very unique model that resonated very well with who I am and what I believe that a school should be. A school should be a structured environment that is not only preparing students to be academically savvy, but also socially savvy. It
should equip them to be contributing citizens in a global society. I am ecstatic about the growth and success of scholars at Ivy Prep Gwinnett. I was promoted as an assistant principal in 2011 and got to see some of the girls that I taught graduate this year. We recently celebrated the commencement of our inaugural senior class. The Class of 2015 had a 100 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent college placement rate. It was very heartwarming to see them walk across the stage.

Q: Are you excited about your promotion?
A: Yes. My first experience with a school principal as a new teacher in Miami really inspired me to want to work as an administrator. She told me the ins and outs of what I would need to be a successful teacher. She was supportive and encouraging. I try to be the same way with my staff. I will lead our teachers and scholars to the best of my abilities and make sure that they get what they need to be successful. We will increase rigor, parent involvement, and launch programs that train scholars for careers by exposing them to internships.

Q: You often say that Ivy Prep “sweats” the small stuff. What do you mean by that?
A: At IPA we have high expectations for scholars. We require that they come to school dressed professionally in uniforms and are ready to learn. We require that they are respectful to teachers and their fellow classmates. We require scholars to follow the Code of Conduct, complete their homework assignments, and we push them to excel. Our mission is to prepare our scholars for success at the colleges and universities of their choice. It’s important that scholars learn that the small things attitude, appearance, ambition, and commitment really matter. They are the things that can help to determine someone’s fate.

Team Ivy Cheer Partners with Norcross High’s Blue Devils To Host Spirit Camp at IPA Gwinnett

Norcross High School’s Blue Devil cheerleaders partnered with Team Ivy Cheer recently to host a skills camp for girls interested in trying out for spirit squads in the fall.

The camp was held for a week at IPA Gwinnett for new and returning scholars. Six Norcross High cheerleaders, including rising freshman Makiya Reid, an alumna of Ivy Prep Gwinnett, volunteered as coaches for the summer training camp. The high school cheerleaders helped Ivy Prep students learn chants, spirit dances, cheers, and basic stunts.

“The Blue Devils are assisting Ivy Prep for our first year of camp,” said Ivy Prep Gwinnett Cheer Coach Nichole Wysinger, a substitute teacher who is earning her certification in science education. “We are happy to have Makiya among them. She is one of our Ivy Prep girls who transitioned to Norcross High.”

The other Blue Devils volunteers were cheerleaders Quinnci Thomas, Christiane Massey, and Taylor Imolode, all rising juniors at Norcross High; and rising freshmen Jada Simmons and Venae Glover.

Ten IPA middle school cheer candidates signed up for the camp. Many of the girls had no prior experience in cheering. The campers learned the fundamentals of cheering to help prepare them for tryouts in September. Last year, there were 15 cheerleaders on Team Ivy Gwinnett’s squad. Several of those girls continued cheering competitively in outside programs throughout the school year.

“For many years, I never wanted to be a cheerleader because I thought it was one of the most boring things,” said Ysa Lutchman, a rising seventh grader at IPA Gwinnett who attended the camp. “Now, I want to give it a chance. It’s like a new challenge for me.”

Lutchman bonded with other first-time cheerleaders Arissa Maxwell, Victoria McDonald, Gabrielle Sampson, and Mikiah McQueen as they practiced jumps and chants again and again. Their high school “sisters” watched closely and took time to help each camper perfect the moves.

“It’s fun,” McQueen said.

Maxwell agreed. “I like to try new things.”

IPA students with cheer experience also helped fellow campers polish new moves. Rising seventh grader Summer Wysinger, who cheered for Ivy Prep last year, and Nadia Burton, a rising eighth grader, said they enjoyed working with the Blue Devil’s squad and learning high school cheers.

IPA cheer coach Wysinger said the campers “made a lot of progress” a short time. “It has been a tremendous experience for the girls,” she said. “They have learned to tumble and stunt. Thank God for the Blue Devils!”

The partnership with the Blue Devils was forged with the help of former Ivy Prep student, Makiya Reid. “She told me that she would introduce me to her coach,” said Wysinger. The Gwinnett cheer coach followed up after the introduction and asked the Norcross High cheer coach for assistance with summer camp.

“She texted me and said asked, ‘What I needed?’ She came through with sixth girls. I really appreciate her help and support.”

Reid said she was honored to return to Ivy Prep to help lead camp.

“They are doing really well,” Reid said of the campers. She hopes that they will come to enjoy cheering as much as she does.

“For me, cheering helps me to do better in school,” she said. “It pushes me to get great grades because it is something that I want to do. I have to have good grades to cheer. I want to get a cheer scholarship.”

Cheering also helps students to gain confidence in themselves because it pushes them out of their comfort zone as leaders.

“If they are shy, by the end of the season they won’t be shy anymore,” Wysinger said. “In our program, they learn morals and values that help them to respect themselves and others. They become leaders in the classroom and in their communities. They carry those lessons throughout their everyday life.”

Summer Reading Lists and Logs for All Grades

Greetings, Ivy Parents! Please see below for the reading lists and reading logs for all schools and all grades.

K-2 Reading Log (Kirkwood)
3-5 Reading Log (Kirkwood)
6-8 Reading List (Gwinnett)
6-8 Reading List (Kirkwood for Girls)
6-8 Reading List (YMLA)
High School Reading List (All Schools)

Ivy Prep Cheer Camp

Get ready for a week of fun! Come learn and practice the fundamentals of becoming an IPA cheerleader. This camp is open to all scholars 6th – 8th grade. No experience required. Just a good attitude and school spirit!*

  • Where: Ivy Preparatory Academy – Gwinnett Campus 3705 Engineering Drive Norcross, GA 30092
  • When: June 22-26 9am – 4pm
  • Cost: $100.00 (includes camp attire & lunch)
  • Contact: Coach Wysinger 404-697-6339/

We’ve got SPIRIT Yes We DO!
We’ve got SPIRIT How ‘Bout YOU?

Come Join Us at the Ivy Preparatory Academy on June 22-26. Please pick up and drop off your student at the Second building by the gym. We Will Be Teaching: *Cheers *Jumps *Motions *Spiriting *Dance

Download the Flyer

Ivy Prep Academy Scholars Accepted to College Immediately At Recruitment Fair

Ivy Preparatory Academy is close to achieving its goal of successfully preparing scholars to graduate and land at the colleges and universities of their choice.

Four Ivy Prep seniors who attended the Black College Expo recently were recruited by admissions officers at four-year universities in the Southeast who were impressed by their academic course load, their grades and professionalism.

The scholars – Deja Washington, Rebekah Bills, Sana Memon and Angel Hodo – were accompanied by members of the Ivy Prep Foundation. The foundation launched a task force in December to help guide the senior class through the college entrance exam and application process. Foundation volunteers have been visiting the seniors weekly on Wednesdays to give them advice on preparing for college interviews, writing academic resumes, and crafting essays for college applications.

When the seniors arrived at the Black College Expo, they were ready to impress. They wore their business dress blazers and carried copies of their academic transcripts, resumes, recommendation letters, and a record of their work in clubs and in community service.

“The four acceptances were all onsite,” said Dr. Nina Gilbert, founder of Ivy Prep Academy. “They are supposed to receive official letters of acceptance from the colleges soon.”

Washington, an Ivy Prep scholar since freshman year, said she struggled to keep her poise when recruiters accepted her at first meeting. She was so surprised she didn’t know what to do.

“I wasn’t expecting to get accepted onsite,” said Washington, of Covington, who was offered a spot at Clark Atlanta University and Bennett College in North Carolina. “I cried on the inside, but I didn’t cry on the outside. I was very happy.”

Bills said she had doubts about getting accepted onsite, too. “You hear about it happening, but I didn’t think it was possible because usually you have to go through the long essay writing and application process,” she said. “Then it happened to me. I got into the school I wanted to go to – Clark Atlanta. It was very exciting.”

Gilbert said as word spread about the polish and professionalism of Ivy Prep scholars, Black College Expo recruiters sought them out. Bills was also accepted to Bennett, Alcorn State University in Mississippi, and Fort Valley State University in Georgia.

So was Memon. “I was really proud of myself,” she said.

Mrs. Victoria Wiley, executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies was thrilled about the good news.

“It shows what can happen for scholars when you have a village supporting them and helping them to succeed,” said Wiley. “I think it speaks very highly to the professionalism of our scholars, the commitment of our staff to ensure that they had all of the proper documentation, and the support of the foundation. The foundation has been instrumental in assisting our seniors this school year as they applied to college.”

Hodo, who wants to study psychology in college, said she was accepted to her first and second choice schools at the Expo – Bennett and Clark Atlanta. She credits her Ivy Pep education for preparing her for success and the expert advice from the foundation.

“Dr. Gilbert has really shown us that we can believe in ourselves and accomplish anything that we put our minds to,” Hodo said. “Getting accepted on the spot taught me that even when I have doubts, that I should continue to push forward.”

Earlier this school year, Ivy Prep administrators predicted that the Class of 2015 would have a 100 percent graduation and college placement rate. College offers have been steadily coming in since August.

Brittany Gilbert, the first scholar enrolled at Ivy Prep, was the first to be accepted to the college of her choice. Gilbert was accepted to Hampton University, her top college choice, in August 2014 during Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center. Hampton University admissions officials recruiting students at the Expo’s College Fair interviewed Gilbert, looked over her application and transcripts, and gave her a letter of acceptance to take home with her.

Since then, seniors in the Class of 2015 have received acceptances to attend Georgia State University, Oglethorpe University, Agnes Scott College, and Fort Valley State University, all in Georgia; Tennessee State University; and Averett University in Virginia.

“I am weighing my options,” said Washington, who is deciding from acceptances at the Expo and an earlier one to TSU. “Ivy Prep taught me a lot about hard work and being independent. I am ready for college.”

Memon has decided to reject the four college offers she got and stick with her top choice. “I chose Georgia State,” she said. “I’m going to study business management.”

Ivy Prep administrators and supporters are confident that at this rate of college acceptance, the school will achieve a perfect score before the inaugural class heads to commencement ceremonies. Ivy Prep will honor the journey and success of the Class of 2015 at the school’s first high school graduation on May 23 at Georgia Gwinnett College.

“We will have a very special ceremony to celebrate the achievement, perseverance and sisterhood of our girls,” Wiley said.

Ivy Prep Welcomes New Families As Lottery, New Boundaries Boost Enrollment

Teresa Reeves drove by Ivy Prep Kirkwood routinely on her commute to work for more than a year, but when a family member gave her “rave reviews” about the school she decided stop in for a tour.

“I really liked what I saw immediately,” Reeves said.

Her fifth grader, Tiffany Reeves was one of more than 150 students to gain entry into Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood in the annual school lottery, which offered prospective families “red carpet” hospitality and a ceremony inspired by the Academy Awards.

Scholars were greeted by paparazzi when they entered the door.

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester pulled the student names at random. Mrs. Victoria Wiley, executive director of Ivy Prep Academies, and Kendra Shipmon, principal of IPA School for Girls, greeted new scholars and consoled those who were waitlisted.

New scholars and those on the waitlist were invited to stay for an Oscar-style after party, which was attended by more than 200 people.
“It wasn’t just mom and dad, it was grandpa, aunt and cousin,” said Gabriel Haggray, IPA Kirkwood’s Recruitment and Registration Specialist. “They all came to celebrate that their scholar got in. It was really exciting. We had a lot of fun.”

Tiffany Reeves, a rising sixth grader, enjoyed the entertainment with her family as IPA scholars on the school step team gave a performance. Reeves said she hopes to join them someday.

“I am glad to be here,” she said. “I will be able to learn more and won’t be distracted by boys.”

IPA Kirkwood’s annual lottery ended the competition for seats in grades 7 and 9 at IPYMLA and the competition for seats in grades 2,7, 8 and 9 at Kirkwood’s School for Girls. (Open seats are available in other select grades at both schools.)

“We are very excited to welcome all of our new scholars to the Ivy Prep Network as they begin their journey to college,” Wiley said. “We look forward to supporting each scholar and their family as they strive for success.”

Siblings were able to take advantage of the new policy crafted to ease the transportation burden on families. For the first time, IPA offered automatic admission to the younger siblings of scholars whose names were selected if the younger siblings enrolled in the same single-gender Ivy Prep school.

“Often times you lose families because students have to split up. A one stop shop is ideal,” Haggray said. “We had twins to get in the boys school in sixth grade and twins to get in the eighth grade in the girls school. “

Student enrollment at IPA Kirkwood is slated to grow next school year as the School for Girls and IPYMLA add a new grade level for rising sophomores. The state also approved a boundary expansion for Ivy Prep Academies that doubles the attendance zone for the charter schools network.

Under IPA’s new boundaries, students who attend or are eligible to attend Fulton County Schools and DeKalb County Schools can now enroll at Ivy Prep Gwinnett, which is located at 3705 Engineering Drive in Peachtree Corners. Students who attend or are eligible to attend Atlanta Public Schools can enroll in IPA Kirkwood School for Girls or IPYMLA, which is located at 1807 Memorial Drive in Atlanta.

School administrators advise parents who are considering IPA for 2015-16 to act fast. “Seats are filling up quickly,” Wiley said.

More than 300 scholars at Kirkwood’s School for Girls have filed re-enrollment forms to continue their education during the 2015-16 school year. Approximately 252 IPYMLA students signed re-enrollment forms for next school year.

IPA Kirkwood, which is near the border of APS, can accommodate 460 students at each single-gender school. The campus is currently going through an expansion. Earlier this school year, Kirkwood’s School for Girls received a $14 million bond issue to purchase the strip mall it and the boy’s school is housed in and build-out new classroom space.

IPA Gwinnett administrators estimate an enrollment of more than 400 students in the fall. Wiley said the school can accommodate 500 if additional teachers are hired.

IPA schools have extended days, an extended year and a college preparatory curriculum. The mission of IPA schools is to help prepare scholars to enter and succeed in the colleges and universities of their choice.

Ivy Prep Academy Doubles the Size of Its Attendance Zone

ATLANTA – Ivy Preparatory Academies has received state approval to double the size of its attendance zone opening the door to thousands of new students from Fulton County and the City of Atlanta.

The petition to expand Ivy Prep’s school boundaries was unanimously approved recently by the State Charter Schools Commission. The expansion is in response to metro Atlanta parent interest in the single-gender school network’s academic program.

“This is very significant because we have a great deal of interest from students and parents who live outside of our current attendance zone,” said Mrs. Victoria Wiley, executive director of IPA. “We wanted to be able to serve families who are unhappy with their home schools by offering them school choice.”

IPA operates three free single-gender public charter schools: Ivy Prep Gwinnett, its flagship school for girls, Ivy Prep Kirkwood School for Girls, and Ivy Prep Young Men’s Leadership Academy (IPYMLA), both in DeKalb County.

Under IPA’s new boundaries, students who attend or are eligible to attend Fulton County Schools and DeKalb County Schools can now enroll at Ivy Prep Gwinnett, which is located at 3705 Engineering Drive in Peachtree Corners. Students who attend or are eligible to attend Atlanta Public Schools can enroll in IPA Kirkwood School for Girls or IPYMLA, which is located at 1807 Memorial Drive in Atlanta.

The new attendance zone restores some of the footprint IPA originally had when its high-performing Gwinnett campus opened in 2008. IPA Gwinnett lost its statewide attendance zone following a Georgia Supreme Court case filed by metro Atlanta school districts who challenged Ivy Prep’s ability to exist and attract students and education dollars from across county lines.

School administrators advise parents who are considering IPA for 2015-16 to act fast. “Seats are filling up quickly,” Wiley said.

IPA Kirkwood, which is near the border of APS, can accommodate 460 students at each single-gender school. The campus is currently going through an expansion. Earlier this school year, the IPA School for Girls received a $14 million bond issue to purchase the strip mall it and the boy’s school is housed in and build-out new classroom space.

IPA Gwinnett administrators estimate an enrollment of 400 students in the fall. Wiley said the school can accommodate 500 if additional teachers are hired.

In 2012, IPA Gwinnett was the only public middle school in Gwinnett County to be named as a “rewards school” by the state Department of Education for high standardized test performance among low income students. IPA Gwinnett has a record of out-performing state and local district averages in several areas on state exams. IPA Kirkwood’s School for Girls has experienced similar success. The academic program at IPYMLA has helped students to improve their behavior and close gaps in learning.

IPA schools have extended days, an extended year, and a challenging college preparatory curriculum.

“We would like to thank the commission for allowing us to offer more school choice to parents in Georgia,” Wiley said. “This gives us an opportunity to expose more students to the Ivy Prep brand as well as to college.”

New Attendance Zones!

The leadership of Ivy Preparatory Academy is thrilled to announce that the Georgia State Charter Schools Commission has approved our request to expand our attendance zones at each campus.

Families eligible for Fulton County Schools and DeKalb County Schools may now enroll at Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett. Families in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) district may now enroll at Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood for Girls and Ivy Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy. Scholars who enroll now will be eligible to start at Ivy Prep in the 2015-2016 school year.

Ivy Prep petitioned the commission in early 2015 after receiving over 300 signatures requesting Ivy Preparatory Academy as a school choice option in Fulton County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools districts. Ivy Prep believes having access to a high-quality, free education is a right, not a privilege. By expanding our attendance zone, more families now have access to an excellent school of choice. Additionally, increased enrollment means more programs, resources, and activities for the whole Ivy Prep family–both current families and newly-enrolled families.

Do you know families in our new attendance zones? Help us spread the word by sharing this message with your network and social media. Don’t wait to share the news, as seats are going fast for 2015-2016.

If you’re ready to enroll (or know families who are), head to:

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett (Girls’ Academy)
3705 Engineering Drive. Peachtree Corners, Georgia 30092
Now serving families in Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Fulton counties

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood (Boys’ and Girls’ Academies)
1807 Memorial Drive. Atlanta, Georgia 30317
Now serving families eligible for DeKalb County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools

Gwinnett for Girls Parent Center

Summer Reading Lists and Logs for All Grades

Greetings, Ivy Parents! Please see below for the reading lists and reading logs for all schools and all grades. K-2 Reading Log (Kirkwood) 3-5 Reading Log (Kirkwood) 6-8 Reading List (Gwinnett) 6-8 Reading List (Kirkwood for Girls) 6-8 Reading List (YMLA) High School...
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