Staff Photo: Erin Evans
Challenge Charter School operates out of the Cousins Community Center on Geiger Street in Covington. The school’s middle school science teacher Kyla Ollie, who has been at the school since it opened in 2008, assisted seventh-grader Khalia Clyde using the triple beam balance during class on Tuesday morning. This week, her students are working on finding mass and volume at different stations around the classroom.
COVINGTON — The first charter school in Newton County is looking toward growth — both in numbers and academically — going into its third year as a school.
Challenge Charter Academy houses about 100 students in grades six through 12 and hopes to enroll up to 50 more as the school year progresses.
• What: Challenge Charter Academy
• Address: 8134 Geiger St., Suite 12, Covington
• Phone: 678-625-3975
• Fax: 770-784-9345
• School Leader: Ernetta Dailey-Worthy
• Assistant School Leader: Sally Wade
• Registrar: Michelle Bowers
• Date Opened: August 1, 2008
• Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
• AYP Status: Met for 2009-10 school year
• Title I Status: Targeted Assistance
• Grades Served: 6-12
• The Full Value Contract: Be here; Be safe; Commit to goal; Be honest; Let go and move on; and Care for self and others
"We are not an alternative school, but we are a school for the kids who don't fit in a traditional setting, for those who need a small setting and support," said Sally Wade, assistant school leader at the charter school.
Last year, the student-teacher ratio was about 1-to-15, and this year it could go up to 1-to-20, but it won't go higher than that, said school leader Ernetta Dailey-Worthy.
The school leaders said their school is open to any Newton County student, falls under the Newton County School System, uses Georgia Performance Standards, has the same graduation requirements as other public schools and is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, just like the other public schools.
"It's a school of choice," said Dailey-Worthy, adding that they have had students enroll from other NCSS schools, as well as private schools and home schools due to the tough economic times.
Although the school is on a smaller scale than most other schools — it is housed in a wing of the Cousins Community Center near Troy University on Geiger Street in Covington — it still offers core classes and elective courses like physical education and business education. It hopes to offer a consumer science course again in the future, as it did last year, based on student needs.
Club day is every Friday and includes groups that enjoy guitar, sports, step dancing and Girl Scouts. The school also plans to add a Students Against Destructive Decisions group, thanks to a recent $2,000 award from the Georgia Office of Highway Safety.
Wade said because the school's classes are smaller, students have more opportunities for small group discussions and individualized instruction when needed. Free credit recovery courses also are offered to high school students, along with before- and after-school tutoring for all students.
"We are not obligated to keep with (the state-required) seat times, so if a student needs additional time in (a certain subject) ... we are able to do that," Wade said, adding that the school met Adequate Yearly Progress for this past school year.
Additionally, NCSS provides transportation for the charter school students, a free and reduced lunch program is available for qualified students and certain students are under a Title 1 targeted assistance program.
The charter school will hold a beginning of the year kickoff party from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at its location, 8134 Geiger St., Suite 12, in Covington. It is open to current and prospective families, as well as other community members, organizations and businesses that are interested in becoming a Partner In Education or getting more information about the school.
At the event, guests can enroll students, learn about volunteer opportunities and get more information about the school. Hot dogs, chips, ice cream and beverages also will be provided.