By Curt Yeomans
Parents of middle grade, and junior high pupils, who want their children to take a more rigorous course load , may soon have a choice of where to send them - the Elite Scholars Academy, a charter school.
"This will be an alternative choice to traditional schools in the district for parents," said Graysen Walles, the academy's founder who also runs separate, unrelated Elite Scholars programs at Mundy's Mill High School and the Junior Scholars program at Pointe South Middle School. "The kids will be academically challenged in a way that can't be found in traditional schools."
The community is invited to attend an informational meeting for the Elite Scholars Academy on Monday, Oct. 27, from 7:15-8 p.m., at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, 2530 Mt. Zion Parkway, Jonesboro.
"This is strictly information only, it is not a recruitment meeting at all," Walles repeatedly stressed.
The academy is a Clayton County charter school where students will only take advanced placement and honors-level courses while wearing uniforms. The students will have a year-round school schedule with breaks taking place every nine weeks.
The Clayton County Board of Education approved the school's charter in May, and the Georgia Department of Education is currently reviewing the charter school's application for state approval. Walles said he is holding the meeting now to inform parents about the school and discuss the charter's status.
Dana Tofig, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education, said it can often take months for the state to review and approve charter applications because of questions and concerns state officials may have about the charter proposals. Tofig was not sure when the state board would vote on the charter application for Elite Scholars Academy.
The school will eventually be a sixth-, through twelfth-grade school, but during its first year, only grades 6-9 will be occupied. Each year, a new sixth-grade class will be added as the original students move up a grade level. Only 60 students will be allowed in each grade-level.
During the informational meeting on Oct. 27, Walles will give a 30-minute power-point presentation. A question and answer session will then take place.
Walles said he does not yet have a location for the school, but he is working with officials from Clayton County Public Schools to find a location. He said there are four possible sites for the school, but declined to discuss them.
Anyone who is interested in the school, but cannot attend the informational meeting, can go to the school's website, www.elitescholarsacademy.com, by they can e-mail Walles at firstname.lastname@example.org.