By Rebecca Gaunt
Two new charter schools in southern Cobb County will open their doors to students this fall.
Amana Academy West Atlanta will welcome its inaugural class on August 8 to its woodsy Mableton location at the Girl Scouts’ Camp Timber Ridge property. Amana has entered a long-term lease agreement with the Girl Scouts. This will be the second location for Amana. The Alpharetta campus has been in operation since 2005.
Miles Ahead Charter School also plans to open in August at 4665 Macland Rd. in Powder Springs.
Kolt Bloxson, the founding principal of Miles Ahead, told the Courier that the statewide attendance zone is an attractive feature for families.
“In some of our initial meetings and conversations, our families expressed concerns related to uprooting children from schools when they moved. The statewide attendance zone allows us to provide continuity in education for young children when stability is just so critical,” she said.
There were two other big motivators for the decision to start Miles Ahead. One was the desire to use a whole child approach. The other a preference for a smaller environment. Some parents wanted a different middle grades experience than a traditional middle school offers and wished for a more intimate setting.
Miles Ahead classes will have a cap of 26 students. It will open with four Kindergarten classes, two first grade classes, one second grade and one third grade. The school will add one Kindergarten class annually until full capacity for grades K-8.
Amana will also start out enrolling K-3 and build up to grades K-8.
Because they are state-funded charters, neither school charges tuition and both can accept students from anywhere in Georgia.
Miles Ahead is already fundraising to keep fees for field trips, uniforms, and supplies free or low cost for students. Members of the founding team have also been building relationships with the community since 2019 by providing free STEM kits, hosting free virtual STEM Fridays, tutoring and volunteering.
The Miles Ahead Macland Road location is a temporary space. According to Bloxson, there will be a “deep dive analysis to determine where we are drawing families from, plot transportation routes, and consider long-term financial implications for facility-related decisions…with a focus on what is best for our children” the first year.
Bloxson encourages interested families to go ahead and enroll so the school can plan transportation from satellite stops.
The schools are currently accepting applications for students and staff. Both will follow the EL education model.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.