New charter school seeks to empower student learning

Savannah Exploratory Charter Academy is accepting applications for enrollment

click to enlarge The Savannah Exploratory Charter Academy, a charter school authorized by the State of Georgia, is set to open in August and looks to empower children through gaining knowledge through learning about the world around them. - IMAGE COURTESY OF SECA
Image courtesy of SECA
The Savannah Exploratory Charter Academy, a charter school authorized by the State of Georgia, is set to open in August and looks to empower children through gaining knowledge through learning about the world around them.
A new charter academy in Savannah is looking to harness the fact that people learn something new every day and transform it into the way school-age children are taught, according to Chris Tuttle, chief academic officer for the school.

“I am both honored and excited to be a part of the Savannah Exploratory Charter Academy’s mission to provide its students with a uniquely engaging, interactive learning experience,” Tuttle said.

SECA, a charter school authorized by the State of Georgia, is set to open in August and looks to empower children through gaining knowledge through learning about the world around them.

“What we’re doing differently is project-based learning,” Tuttle said. “This is a very individualized method of instruction where it is interdisciplinary. All of the core standards are included, we also include art, music, physical education all focused on one specific project.”

Project-based learning allows students to experience the diverse curriculum through teacher-guided, integrated projects and presentations.

PBL involves hands-on, interactive application rather than reading from a book, taking a test, and moving on to the next subject, Tuttle said.

“It’s all about learning all of the standards through one unit of study,” Tuttle said.

SECA will welcome children attending kindergarten through fourth grade,and fifth grade will beadded the following year, Tuttle said.

“That’s really something we want to be sure the community know is that if they enroll their child as a fourth grader, will they have to go to a different school for fifth grade, and the answer is no,” Tuttle said. “We will add fifth grade the next year.”

“Because we’re a public school, everyone is eligible,” Tuttle said. “We do not turn anyone away.”

Local charters, while they have their own boards and make their own decisions, are still under the local school board, said Roger Moss, SECA chief operating officer. SECA is a state charter and will not report to the local school board; they report directly to the state charter school commission. They are required, however, to meet state standards, Tuttle said.

“We make our own decisions,” said Roger Moss, chief operating officer for SECA. “We are our own school system. So, decisions on whether we are in school or virtual, that’s totally up to us.”

“… based on our kids, just our kids,” Tuttle said. “Not the whole county, not the whole state, just our 350 kids.”

The two said they want to do what works best for the students, and feel pretty confident that students should be in school.

Moss was a part of the founding of Savannah Classical Academy, another local charter school, in 2013. He said he put together a group of board members to begin working on SECA two years ago.

Moss and the board found property on Mohawk St., across the street from the park. The property the school will be on will be about nine acres, but initially only five acres until after the first two years.

Tuttle added that long term, SECA would love to grow to a middle school.

Families interested in potential openings or positions on the waiting list are encouraged to attend in-person information meetings hosted by SECA on March 11 at 7 p.m.; March 13 at 10 a.m.; March 25 at 5:30 p.m.; and March 27 at 1 p.m.

The sessions will be at the Spiva Law Group at 1137 Mohawk St. COVID-19 safety protocols will be closely followed, Moss said. Temperatures will be taken at the door, masks will be required for entry and to ensure social distancing seating will be limited.

Admission applications are now available. Visit secawise.org for information.

About The Author

Noelle Wiehe

Noelle Wiehe is a dream-chasing journalist from Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in journalism from the University of Cincinnati and attended the United States Army's Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland. A U.S. Army veteran, Wiehe has a passion for sharing stories of local heroes,...
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