Local Charter Wins State Charter School of the Year
- School: Amana Academy
- Award: Coca-Cola Foundation Georgia Charter School of the Year
ALPHARETTA – Amana Academy, one of the state’s highest performing elementary/middle schools, has been selected as the Coca-Cola Foundation’s 2011 Georgia Charter School of the Year. That earned the school a $50,000 prize.
The announcement was made by Holly Mattingly, Coca-Cola Community Partnerships director, as part of the ninth-annual Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) State Charter Schools Conference, being held in Macon.
Along with State Schools Superintendent John Barge and Georgia State School Board Member and Charter School Committee Chair Linda Zechmann, nearly 400 charter school teachers, school leaders, board members, school district administrators, law makers and charter school supporters attended the event.
The Coca-Cola Charter School of the Year Award is a $50,000 grant established to honor excellence in education throughout the charter sector in metro Atlanta. There are 113 charter schools in Georgia. The other two finalists for the award were Charles Drew Charter School in Atlanta and Brighten Academy Douglasville from a field of 15 applicants.
Mattingly said, “The three finalists went through a rigorous application process including a selection committee panel interview. It was a tough decision for the committee because of the quality of the finalists, yet Amana stood out for its ability to replicate its innovative instructional program to other schools.”
In his acceptance remarks, Ehab Jaleel, the school’s executive director, said, “Given the competition we are humbled by the outcome. On behalf of our 534 students and families from north and south Fulton, our brilliant staff, and Fulton County Schools we thank the selection committee for bestowing this honor.”
Amana Board Member Andrea Cooper Gatewood was in the audience for the presentaiotn.
“This is our year – our students did exceptionally well on the CRCT last spring; and it’s a great feeling to be recognized for excellence by the Coca-Cola Foundation on the heels of awards by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation,” Gatewood said.
To qualify for the award and accompanying grant, the applicant school must have been operational for five or more years, serve students in the metro Atlanta area, demonstrate academic excellence as measured by standardized achievement tests, and show evidence of operational sustainability and sound fiscal practices.
According to Mrs. Jelena Naim, Amana’s director of Curriculum & Instruction, “The most impactful thing Amana Academy can do with the award is to reinvest in our minds-on instructional program in a sustainable way. Our students are smart; and we want to challenge them with customized lessons by purchasing a suite of computer applications that applies the latest in brain research about how students think and learn."
Naim said the program provides interactive, self-paced, challenging, and engaging activities, plus project-based activities promote exploration, individual and cooperative learning, problem solving, reflection and real-world connections.
This announcement comes amid Amana Academy’s effort to move locations in Alpharetta.