The Museum School of Avondale Estates has been in the works for over two years now, but it wasn’t until the State Charter Commission approved their application on December 14, 2009 that the school’s dreams became a reality. To learn more about one of Atlanta’s newest charter schools, we turned to Peggy Pusateri, a member of the school’s communications team, and Katherine Kelbaugh, the school Principal.
Why did you decide to pursue opening a Charter School in Avondale Estates?
With the 2008 passage of legislation allowing for state-chartered schools, many parents in Avondale Estates and neighboring communities felt the time was right to create a public school of choice. The Museum School is the recognition of what many families in this area have been looking for: a results-driven community school that is innovative in its nature, accountable for achieving its goals and dedicated to quality education.
What is the educational mission of The Museum School of Avondale Estates?
Our mission is to inspire students, teachers and the community to collaborate to develop strong critical thinking, interpersonal and academic skills in our students, which will prepare them for real-world success.
What will differentiate The Museum School from other area schools?
As a state-chartered school, The Museum School operates under a contract with the Georgia Department of Education, has the flexibility to develop and implement its own educational goals and is accountable to the state for achieving those goals.
The Museum School is the first of its kind in Georgia. By partnering with museums and other learning institutions, it provides real-life experiences. Learning expeditions offer students a chance to ask questions, make observations, reflect on experiences and draw their own conclusions. Learning is student-centered and project-based. Museum learning brings a depth of understanding on subjects rather than merely asking students to memorize facts. Four nights a year, the school opens to the community for Exhibit Night, an opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned and created from their studies.
In addition, in-class instruction at The Museum School is individualized to each student, focusing on each child’s individual learning style, readiness and prior understandings and experiences. Teachers are trained to evaluate each child’s skills and needs and then tailor curriculum accordingly.
Our curriculum programs include Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop and Everyday Mathematics.
When will the school open?
In August 2010.
How many students will be enrolled initially?
The Museum School will open with 140 students in Kindergarten through third grade. We will add one grade level each year until we reach the eighth grade.
Which students are eligible to attend?
The school is open to all children who live in the Avondale Elementary School and Midway Elementary School districts, as defined for the 2009-2010 school year. If the number of applicants for a particular grade level exceeds the number of available slots, students are chosen through a random selection process that provides every child equal opportunity for admission.
Does The Museum School charge tuition?
No. The Museum School is a public school, free of tuition and fees. Parents are required to contribute volunteer hours each year.
Where can people find out more about your school?