Prep school holds meeting
to answer parents' questions

NORCROSS - Stone Mountain resident Benita Smith knew that Ivy Preparatory Academy will be an all-girls school, but she said she wanted to know more about what the charter school plans to offer its students.

Her questions were answered Monday evening during an informational meeting at the A. Worley Brown Boys & Girls Club in Norcross. She joined about 20 people who listened as the founders of the newly-approved, state-chartered school talked about their beliefs, the school's mission, what will be offered to the students and what will be expected of the parents.

"Our mission is within a structured and supportive environment, Ivy Preparatory Academy develops middle and high school girls into thoroughly equipped scholars who are prepared to enter and succeed in the colleges and universities of their choice," said Nina Gilbert, the school's lead founder. "It will be a college preparatory school for every single student. We will provide a rigorous college preparatory curriculum for every girl who enters our doors."

The tuition-free school will open this August with a class of 120 sixth-grade girls. Because Ivy Prep was approved at the state level, the school will not receive any local education tax dollars. The school is, however, open to any rising sixth-grade girl in Georgia, and applications will be accepted until March 24.

After the meeting, Lilburn resident Kim Huston submitted an application for her daughter, who is currently in fifth grade at Camp Creek Elementary School.

Huston, who teaches at Cedar Hill Elementary, said she thinks a single-gender environment would be good for her daughter. The school will offer an extended day, as well as an extended year, and Huston said she thinks her daughter would benefit from the smaller class sizes.

Maria Bruner, who is a board member for the school, said she became involved with Ivy Prep after she began researching the middle school her daughter would attend in Gwinnett County.

Snellville Middle School has failed for two consecutive years to meet the standards required under the No Child Left Behind Act. Her research further showed that the school had the highest number of disciplinary infractions among Gwinnett County Public Schools.

"I don't think that environment is conducive to the learning experience," she said.

She said she decided to join Ivy Prep's board after its petition was rejected last year by the Gwinnett Board of Education. She said she knew the school had to open.

"If not for my child, for someone else's," she said. "I knew it had to happen."

For more information about the school or the application process, visit www.ivyprepacademy.org or call 770-448-6273.