From the Executive Director’s Desk
May 30, 2020
Dear Atlanta Classical Academy Families,
I am writing to thank you for your support and patience and to commend you for your perseverance during this very challenging semester. It is hard to believe that, in March, we thought we would be out of school for a week or two. And yet, here we are eleven weeks later! You have finished well and should be proud of your accomplishments.
When I consider our community’s response to this whole episode, a Latin phrase Mr. Andrew shared with us recently comes to mind: Virtus tentamine gaudet: “Strength rejoices in the challenge.” That’s us! Although each has faced (and may still be facing) serious challenges because of COVID-19, we have demonstrated grace under pressure, and we will emerge a stronger school and a stronger school community.
If you missed our digital graduation ceremony, I encourage you to watch it here (password: 1u@m0aM+). While we had hoped to have a traditional, in-person event, our team designed an online experience that honored the Class of 2020 with heartfelt language that has come to characterize our relationship with our students. I want to call your attention to the speeches of our salutatorian, Lucy Eagleson, and valedictorian, Charlotte Taylor, because they beautifully displayed the characteristics of the young adults our little ones will become. Having had the opportunity to talk about anything under the sun, Lucy chose to celebrate the character of several of her classmates who embody the pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty. Charlotte described shared experiences like their trip to Washington, D.C. and discussing The Brothers Karamazov with her teachers and classmates. She challenged us all to find hope in our memories and in our relationships with our friends. Speeches like these let us peer into the souls of the speechmaker, and in Lucy and Charlotte, we find selfless young women who are entering adulthood with the intellectual and moral preparation to live well. My friends, that is why we are here! In all, we are extremely proud of the forty-six young men and women in our Class of 2020!
Thanks to PTCA Leaders
Please join us in celebrating the outstanding work of this year’s PTCA Co-Presidents, Mrs. Cam Reynolds and Mrs. Diane Respess! Often behind the scenes, they have enthusiastically served our school community with love and professionalism; they have done much to build community and partnership among our students and families. Building on the work of those who went before them, Cam and Diane have established a volunteer force that includes over 40 named leadership positions and helped hundreds of parents find opportunities to support the mission of our school. They attended weekly school leadership meetings, where they represented the interests of our parents and volunteers well. Cam and Diane are passing the torch having made the PTCA and the entire school better, and I hope you will thank them for their hard work this school year.
Having served this past year as PTCA Co-Presidents-elect, Mrs. Errett Kirkland and Mrs. Wendy Herndon have graciously agreed to serve as our 2020-2021 PTCA Co-Presidents. You will hear more from them very soon.
The Atlanta Classical faculty and staff are already preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. We are monitoring local, state, and federal guidelines and working diligently with the Georgia Department of Education, Atlanta Public Schools, and the Georgia Charter Schools Association to develop a plan for reopening that addresses the risks to our students, families, and employees. Our top priority is to provide a safe place to work and learn while maintaining the quality of every student’s education.
We, along with most schools in Georgia, are presently considering three alternatives.
Face-to-face model. Students and employees would be on campus operating with preventative safety protocols and distancing.
Remote-learning model. Students would engage exclusively in remote learning in a virtual environment.
Hybrid model. The student body would be divided into sections, each alternating between days on campus and days learning remotely.
Each scenario presents a series of challenges and opportunities, and we are carefully studying the implications of each. As the direction from APS and GADOE becomes more clear, the administration will be able to finalize Atlanta Classical’s reopening strategy. In the meantime, our academic team is laying out plans for the various options, and our facilities team is preparing for enhanced health and safety measures. We promise to provide an update on our progress by the end of June.
This was the first year I have had the privilege to work on campus; it was my first opportunity to teach pre-algebra to a delightful class of seventh graders; and it was certainly our leadership team’s first experience responding to the idiosyncrasies of the founder-turned-executive director. I will not wax philosophical except to say humbly that I love and care deeply for our school. I consider it a great honor to serve the board, my colleagues, our students and their families, and our mission to form intelligent, virtuous, young Americans. To our parents especially, thank you for partnering with us to pursue that very good thing.
Mr. Kirby, Executive Director