Cobb charter schools await fate; School board to consider renewing two existing schools, granting two new charters
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
September 02, 2011 12:36 AM | 7610 views | 14 14 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Imagine International Academy of Mableton is one of four schools seeking charter renewal.<br>Staff/Lindsay Field
Imagine International Academy of Mableton is one of four schools seeking charter renewal.
Staff/Lindsay Field
slideshow
MARIETTA — The Cobb school board will decide the fate of four charter schools later this month.

After a nearly 90-day extension, the school board will consider renewals and start-ups for four charter schools in Cobb County for the 2012-13 school year at its Sept. 14 work session. Imagine International Academy of Mableton, located at 6688 Mableton Parkway Southeast in Mableton, and International Academy of Smyrna, formerly known as Imagine International Academy of Smyrna, located at 2144 South Cobb Drive in Smyrna, are asking for renewals, and Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math Academy, or STEAM, of Cobb and Turning Point Academy of Excellence Charter School are asking for charters. Locations for STEAM and Turning Point have not been disclosed.

“I have been contacted a few times from people in support of renewal,” board member Tim Stultz said about International Academy of Smyrna, which is in his southeast Cobb district. “I still favor renewal because I support letting parents continue to make the choice of what is best for their children’s education.”

However, board member David Morgan said he hasn’t had an opportunity to speak with students, parents and teachers at Imagine International Academy of Mableton, which is in his southwest Cobb district, so he doesn’t know how he will vote. He also said he has requested a meeting with the school’s principal.

During the Aug. 25 board meeting, supporters of Imagine International Academy of Mableton asked board members to renew the school’s charter.

“I believe that we have a fine area and a fine system,” said Teri Kangas, a lifelong Mableton resident. “Unfortunately, there have been some changes in the Mableton area, and I chose to send my son to Imagine International of Mableton.”

Kangas said her 9-year-old son, who has attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, has been excelling at the school, exceeding in four out of five areas on the CRCT last year and maintaining an A-B average.

“Because of the inclusion model, he’s never been labeled, and he’s succeeding,” Kangas said.

Tyron C. Lewis of Mableton said the school helped his daughter develop confidence.

“When I relocated to Georgia, I had several business associates who recommended Cobb schools,” said Lewis, who moved to the area from Minnesota. “We have four children, three of them girls. We wanted them all to be able to attend the same school, so the Imagine school really appealed to us.”

Lewis said one of his daughters “came out of her shell” while attending the Mableton charter school.

“She’s become an excellent student … I can honestly say that the diversity within the school, the leadership in the school and the way the children really have a distinct level of confidence and security and comfort,” he said. “I just ask that you vote to keep it open.”

Imagine International Academy of Mableton, which serves kindergarten through eighth-graders, is about to begin its fourth year with about 650 students.

Dr. U.S. Davidson, director of alternative education for Cobb, said board members should review the petitions during the Sept. 14 work session and consider approval at the Sept. 29 night meeting. He said he has not received any e-mails or phone calls from Cobb parents or teachers regarding the petitions.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, a charter school is a public school of choice that operates under the terms of a charter with a state or local school board or formerly by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court in May.

Charter schools receive flexibility from certain state and local rules in exchange for a higher degree of accountability for raising student achievement.

Renewals were granted for Kennesaw Charter School, Walton High School and Sedalia Park and Addison elementary schools last year.
Comments
(14)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
monken
|
September 29, 2011
I am a parent with children who attend Mableton Academy and I must say it will be very disappointing to have this school closed. My children are doing much better in school and since moving here from California, they are getting an education much better than the Cobb Co schools have to offer. The teachers care and the students are excellent. With every new start you will have issues.Its the fact that they are getting up and have turned things around that matters most. Please do not vote to close the school.
Lori Harness
|
September 15, 2011
Imagine has had a very positive impact on my three boys. I love the personal attention, the lessons on integrity and character building. My children have excelled academically and have shown great pride in their work. I enjoy the events that they offer the children and most of all the inclusion of the parents. It would not be right to take away such an effective source of learning for the children. I am in total support of keeping Imagine International Academy open for many years to come!!
IIAM Parent
|
September 15, 2011
I am glad that we have the freedom of speech to say what we want and everybody is welcomed to their opinions. In response to David Morgan's comments, it is not true that he has not heard from parents because I personally sent an email to him as well as all the board members and spoke directly to him via phone prior to this article being written. In addition, my children have been at this school for 3 years and have received a great education. The teachers believe in this school and they enjoy teaching. We are IMAGINE and yes WE BELIEVE! Stop harboring on the past and look at where the school has grown in the past 2.5 years. Allow parents to have the right to choose even if it is not your choice!
Cobb Parent
|
September 09, 2011
I have walked through the Mableton school and other schools in Cobb county. The Mableton school is a fine school that is working very hard to educate the children and doing a great job. Yes, they made AYP when nearby Cobb schools did not make it. I was also able to see learning gains by grade levels among the schools in that area and the Mableton school is ranked near the top. This school is TEACHING our children. Let it continue to do so.
IIAM Parent
|
September 09, 2011
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. My child has been at IIAM since Kindergarten. While no school is perfect, IIAM has shown so much potential in the education of all the children. I have volunteered and feel comfortable that my child is receiving quality education. I have also visited Cobb County Public schools. There is no comparison. IIAM's curriculum is top notch. The teachers my child has had have all been amazing! Please keep this school open!
Concerned parent
|
September 09, 2011
We live in Mableton and our kids go to Imagine. We don't have much of a choice around the area because our public schools are not good. Nobody cares about the Southwest area and we can't afford private schools. We WANT Imagine to stay open. We made AYP and our CRCT results were great. Please let us have a choice! Our kids are not $ amounts. They deserve more if we want to be able to compete globally. For people talking about teacher being bullies, REALLY? Are you involved? Are you a PTSA member? Do you volunteer?

The school is not perfect but is a work in progress. So please, hear us out! GRANT RENEWAL! PLEASE!
Parent - Smith
|
September 07, 2011
To whom it may concern I have a child that has been at this school (IIAM) since day one. I really enjoyed this school and my child has really done well here(IIAM). Please concern to keep Charter schools open. I haven't seen no other school in the area I would pick to have my child in. IIAM made AYP!!! That explains alot!!!Please hear the parents wishes!!
Parents Rights
|
September 06, 2011
I'm a parent of several students who go attend the school and I have nothing but the best to say about Mableton. The staff are professional, highly qualified, and care about students. Their students does the best in South Cobb area. If you don't want to send your child there fine but 650 parents choose Imagine. For your information, schools recieve FTE dollars for the students who go there. So if my child goes there then it's the funding that my child is suppose to get. I CHOOSE IMAGINE MABLETON. RENEW THE CHARTER! PARENTS RIGHTS! PLUS THEY MADE AYP THIS YEAR!
Smart Parent
|
September 06, 2011
I seriously considered this school - until I visited it with my children during open house before last summer break.

Our tax dollars are being wasted. Those kids would be much better off in other public schools in the area. All it takes in one stroll through the hallways to see what their agenda really is.
Don't Renew IIAM
|
September 05, 2011
Board Members, make unannounced visits to IIAM and you will see our tax dollars being wasted. Do your homework! IIAM should NOT have it's charter renewed. Those kids are better off at the other Cobb County Public Schools in the South Cobb area. At least they will be taught by competent highly qualified staff
cobb citizen
|
September 05, 2011
Cobb County school board: I beg you to do your homework before voting to renew these 2 charters Things are not what they seem. Things may look good on paper but check out the real reality by visiting these schools, talking to staff, parents and former staff and parents if possible.

I am very concerned about what my tax dollars are funding.
Cobb Teacher
|
September 03, 2011
So NOW Tim Stultz says "I support letting parents continue to make the choice of what is best for their children’s education.” EXCEPT when the majority of parents want a balanced calendar. Folks...please recall this bonehead!
Kennesaw Resident
|
September 02, 2011
Close the Charter Schools! This is simply another educational fad that will eventually run it course.

I certainly don't want my taxpayer dollars supporting them.
IIAM
|
September 02, 2011
As a former parent/student of Imagine of Mableton this school is full of BS. Honestly this school needs to close and our children need to go to Cobb County Public School. The tecaher's and staff are bullies they are not honest, they do not care about our kids they care about the "pay check".

This school needs to be investigated.!!!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides