New Thomasville Scholars Academy opens - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New Thomasville Scholars Academy opens

August 7, 2006

Thomasville-  It's back to school in Thomasville. For some students, it means more rigorous schedules and a new way of learning. Sixth grade students attending Thomasville's new Scholars Academy could eventually graduate with an associates degree from Thomas University.

Police on patrol, nervous and excited students, a normal start to school in Thomasville, but a different experience for new Scholars Academy students.

"We've had our normal, Do I have an extra copy of the schedule? Things going on and what is my first period class?" questioned Dr. Dale Graham, Scholars Academy Director.

Students quickly learned how different this year will be. Students will learn two languages before graduation.

"That's an immersion, make them hear the Spanish that way they're not always depending on the translation," said Graham.

What makes this school a little different is the lessons being taught inside the scholar academy classrooms.

"When you walked in the door today, that's who you became, you became an astronaut," said Teacher Dana Miller to her class.

"We are able to extend and enrich that curriculum, we're able to be creative and flexible in our teaching methods and styles," continued Miller.

It's a rigorous schedule, 7 classes instead of 6. A math and science emphasis plus hands on lessons and field trips and a stronger emphasis on college.

"We start talking about college in the sixth grade, not 11th or 12th but sixth grade where they can start thinking about what they want to do," said Graham.

Students can get college credit by examination or dual enroll in Thomas University. Ambitious students can graduate with an associate degree. On the first day, expectations are high.

"As long as you see that excitement and that anticipation you know it's going to be a good year," said Graham.

Student participating in the Scholars Academy can also participate in extracurricular activities and must complete 20 hours of community service each school year. The academy includes students in grades six through 12.

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