The Savannah Classical Academy: Roger Moss

The Skidaway Island Rotary Club welcomed Roger Moss, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Savannah Classical Academy, at its breakfast meeting this week.  .

Introduced by Professor Barbara Fertig, a club member and a teacher of History at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Roger gave members a description of the goals, mission, and organizational details of this new charter school.  A Charter school is a public school with open enrollment, run by its own board. It is held to very high standards and, Roger told us, if its children do not succeed, the school loses its charter.  The school’s stated mission is to “Provide every child with a classical and academically rigorous education while instilling a commitment to civic virtue and moral character.”  Conversations with parents in Savannah indicated dissatisfaction with the public schools, with little choice available, and this realization was the impetus for the new venture.  The new school is scheduled to open in August 2013.  Its teachers will be scientists, mathematicians, historians – skilled in the subjects they are teaching.  If the incoming students cannot read up to grade, remedial teaching is available.

When the school opens it will have K-6 with an enrollment of 340 students and will add one grade each following year until it is K-12, with 640 students.  The student-teacher ratio will be 24:1, with 20 students per kindergarten class and 25 students per class for all other grades.  There will be two classes per grade.  Funding is from the Savannah-Chatham School System and the school is the recipient of several grants from various sources.  Roger indicated that volunteers are needed and also there is an on-going search for a school director.  He emphasized the importance of parental involvement, and said the school will make this convenient for parents who work.  For the children themselves, Roger said, there must be a challenge; the ones who act out, he said, are bored, not engaged and interested.  Children must be taught to dream big, they must know what’s out there for them, and we will help them to get there.

Answering questions, Roger said that amelioration, when needed, will be in an extended school day.  If the open enrollment yields too many applicants, there will be a lottery.  The disciplinary policy for behavioral infraction is that the offending student will be sent home; in order to return the student must have a parent attend with him/her for one day.  Teachers will be recruited by means of a national search.