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UTOPIAN ACADEMY FOR THE ARTS

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UTOPIAN ACADEMY SCHOLARS PARTICIPATE

IN STEVE HARVEY MENTORING PROGRAM

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STEVE HARVEY SHOW SEGMENT TAPED AT UAFA

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLEscreen-shot-2017-06-06-at-2-29-22-pmUTOPIAN ACADEMY WELCOMES CELEBRITY GUESTS:

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAM DEBUTS WORK BY OPRAH NETWORK ACTRESS


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Utopian Academy Teachers, Administrators Prepare Scholars For Strong Finish to Second Half of School Year

Utopian Academy receives visit from state school superintendent Richard Woods

RIVERDALE – Utopian Academy for the Arts recently hosted a special visitor. State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods visited the school Oct. 5 following an invitation from Artesius Miller, the academy’s executive director. Woods attended an arts assembly titled “The Color of Reality” and was treated to breakfast made by the school’s culinary arts class.

 

After challenging beginning, Utopian Academy reaches third year of operation

RIVERDALE – Utopian Academy for the Arts students started the school year with a lesson on their school’s short, but complicated, history. “I think it’s truly been a journey for us as we have gone through the arduous process of getting a charter,” said Artesius Miller, the state charter school’s founder and executive director.

Utopian Academy For The Arts

Utopian Academy Expands Music Program. Click here to read more about the launch

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy for the Arts graduated its first class of eighth graders

The inaugural graduating Class of 2018 set a legacy of excellence for the school: Half of scholars completed the rigorous academic and arts program with either straight-A’s or mostly A’s and B’s. Several scholars in the Class of 2018 got the opportunity to hone their skills under the guidance of film and recording industry professionals outside of the classroom.

Utopian Academy youth showcase film-producing prowess

Utopian Academy for the Arts hosted its first student-driven film film this month, during which some 50 visual arts and broadcast video production students produced and showcased their short film and music video works.

Youngsters show their works at student-driven film festival

RIVERDALE – The cafeteria erupted in laughter, where parents sat in the dim glow of short films produced by students at Utopian Academy for the Arts. The state charter school hosted its first film festival Thursday to showcase the collective works of some 50 visual arts and broadcast video production students.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Hollywood Film And TV Execs To Judge First Annual Utopian Academy Film Festival

Hollywood Film And TV Execs To Judge First Annual Utopian Academy Film Festival Utopian Academy for the Arts will host a student short film and music video competition at 6 p.m. tonight that will be judged by Hollywood movie and television execs now located in Atlanta.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Student Council Leaders Attend State Conference

Utopian Academy scholars Jabari Godfrey and Julie Nguyen attended the Georgia Association of Student Councils conference recently to learn more about leading the organization at their school. Godfrey will serve as president of Utopian’s student council in the fall. Nguyen will be vice-president.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy Welcomes Movie Industry Execs And State Leaders To Partners In Education Celebration

RIVERDALE – Utopian Academy for the Arts will welcome state legislators, movie producers, and Georgia education leaders at a Partners In Education Open House celebration Friday, May 6.The event, which runs from 8:15 a.m.

Utopian Academy Scholar To Share Space Travel Invention With NASA

Xavier Foster, a budding inventor, will share his idea for a new spacecraft with scientists from NASA today. Foster worked with a team of students at the iSTEM enrichment program at Morehouse College to develop a concept that could improve lunar travel and save the space program millions of dollars.

Clayton County Families Consider Enrolling at Utopian Academy

More than 150 people attended Open House meetings in March to learn more about enrolling in grades 6-8 at Utopian Academy, the state’s first public charter school for the arts. Nearly 100 seats at Utopian Academy are open to Clayton County students for the 2016-17 school year.

Elite Dance Team Celebrates First Place Win

The Utopian Academy for the Arts dance squad recently won first place in a majorette tournament that featured some of Georgia’s top competitors. The Elite Elegance Dance Team received a perfect score of 10 in every category for their technique, costumes, and musicality and the complexity of their choreography.


Utopian Academy Scholars Honored For High Achievement

Utopian Academy for the Arts has inducted 27 scholars into the National Junior Beta Club, a prestigious organization honoring students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and good behavior. The scholars were chosen as the inaugural members of Utopian Academy’s new Beta Club chapter.Beta Club, which has been serving students for 80 years, is the country’s largest independent youth organization.

Utopian Academy for the Arts Wins Promise Of Lease Extension From Clayton County School Board

Clayton County school board members told Utopian Academy for the Arts supporters that the school will receive an extension of its lease agreement. The news came about a week after more than 100 Utopian Academy parents, students, and staff packed a school board work session urging Clayton County Schools not to bulldoze the Riverdale campus in June.

Budding Actors, Culinary Arts Students Shine In Spotlight At Dinner Theater

More than 350 people attended Utopian Academy for the Arts’ Black History Month Dinner Theater in Forest Park last week. The show, “A Letter to my Young Brothers and Sisters” combined the talents of the school’s budding actors, film editors, singers, dancers, and chefs. Scholars shared original essays on heroes and pivotal moments in black history.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy For the Arts Kicks Off Enrollment Season

Utopian Academy, the state’s first public charter school for the arts, is enrolling new scholars for the 2016-17 academic year. Nearly 100 seats will be open to students within the boundaries of Clayton County Schools. A series of Open House celebrations will be held at 6 p.m.

Student Actors, Culinary Arts Students Take Center Stage At Black History Event

Utopian Academy for the Arts will host a special Black History Month Dinner Theater performance tonight in Forest Park that will highlight the talents of culinary arts and creative writing students. The program, “A Letter To My Young Brothers and Sisters,” will feature original essays on heroes and historic moments in black history that link to present day issues facing African-Americans.

Two Utopian Academy Scholars Direct Union City Mayor Video

RIVERDALE – Two Utopian Academy for the Arts scholars were recently recognized by Union City Mayor Vince Williams for their role in directing the Mayor in a video that was prominently featured in his municipal address.

Utopian Academy Scholars Take Center Stage During School Choice Week

More than 200 scholars at Utopian Academy for the Arts showed their school pride by participating in National School Choice Week activities last week. The national focus highlighted the increasing educational options for families across the country that exercise school choice and pick the schools that meet their needs.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Student Journalists Report Live From The State Capitol

Student Journalists Report Live From The State Capitol Nearly a dozen students, teachers, and administrators at Utopian Academy for the Arts participated in the Educate GA Summit Tuesday hosted by Rep. Valencia Stovall at the State Capitol in Atlanta.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Outstanding Scholars Named Eagles Of The Month

Outstanding Scholars Named Eagles Of The Month Nine Utopian Academy scholars were named as “Eagles of the Month” for high achievement, academic improvement and good citizenship during the first half of the school year. The scholars were nominated by their teachers for the honor and praised as student leaders by Utopian Academy for the Arts’ founder, Artesius Miller.

Discovery Channel Series Host Visits Utopian Academy

Adam Savage, co-host of the Emmy-nominated Discovery Channel series “MythBusters,” and his crew recently visited Utopian Academy for the Arts to share television and film industry insight with students. Savage stopped at Utopian Academy during his 32-city national tour for MythBusters, which uses explosive experiments, stunts, and humor to make scientific discovery a thrill ride for viewers.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy Welcomes Community Leaders

Utopian Academy Welcomes Community Leaders Utopian Academy for the Arts recently welcomed visits by key community leaders dedicated to public service. Representatives from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department recently came to Utopian Academy to donate school supplies. The contribution was part of an outreach effort to bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement.

Utopian Academy Scholar Spends Saturdays Studying At Morehouse College

While his peers spend Saturdays sleeping late, overloading on video games and playing outside with friends, seventh grader Xavier Foster is hard at work. He takes Saturday classes at Morehouse College as a student in the iSTEM program. From 9 a.m.

Students donate to Bahamas hurricane victims

RIVERDALE – Students from Utopian Academy for the Arts joined relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Joaquin. Relief effort officials said the storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, has left hundreds, including school children, homeless in the southern Bahamas. Utopian Academy assisted in the aftermath by donating school supplies as rebuilding takes shape.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy Launches Internet Radio and Television Programming

Utopian Academy for the Arts has launched new Internet radio and television channels to showcase the creative talents of student actors, singers, dancers and young filmmakers. The curriculum expansion was made possible through a partnership with Kingdom Business Communications Network of Ellenwood, GA, a metro Atlanta-based media company that provides online radio and television programming and business services.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Rap Superstar Ludacris Supports Utopian Families During Holiday Season

Rap Superstar Ludacris Supports Utopian Families During Holiday Season Entertainment mogul Ludacris recently delivered turkey baskets complete with the trimmings to help three Utopian Academy families over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Grammy Award winning artist and his mother, Roberta Shields, also donated $500 Walmart gift cards to the Clayton County families who received the meals.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy’s Budding Actors To Star In “The Wiz”

The debut performance at 4295 Hendrix Drive features a cast of 30 students working onstage and behind the scenes. It is the first musical produced by the Fine Arts Department. The timeless musical comedy was chosen for its electrifying ballads, exciting choreography, and bold set designs.

Students Named To SWAG Team For Outstanding Achievement

Twenty Utopian Academy scholars were honored for outstanding academic achievement on the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment, a standardized test that evaluates student performance in reading, math, and science. The scholars were recognized recently at an awards ceremony where they were presented with T-shirts boasting their accomplishment.

Receive Tips From Hollywood Star-Maker

RIVERDALE – Celebrity casting director and talent scout Reuben Cannon visited Utopian Academy for the Arts recently to give scholars working on student films and scripts some expert advice from a Hollywood insider. Language arts and broadcast journalism classes were buzzing with excitement in anticipation of Cannon’s visit.

 

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Warns Riverdale To ‘Cease And Desist’ Bullying After City Tries To Shut Down School Cafeteria

RIVERDALE – A lawyer representing Utopian Academy for the Arts has put the City of Riverdale on notice that if illegal “bullying” of the public charter school continues, Utopian will sue the city for intentionally interfering with school operations.

Gift of Tickets Means Family Fun For Utopian Academy

Utopian Academy supporter and rap mogul Ludacris made the month of September special for scholars and their families by giving the school a gift of more than 100 Braves tickets.The free tickets allowed some scholars and staff members at Utopian Academy for the Arts to experience their very first professional baseball game.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School ” Utopian Academy Scholars Stand Up For Single-Gender Education In Class Debate

Scholars at Utopian Academy for the Arts went head to head recently in a lively debate over the value of single-gender education at the college level. The lesson, a battle of the sexes, pitted eighth grade girls against sixth grade boys.

Sign of the times: Riverdale vs Utopian Academy charter school

Anyone looking for the Utopian Academy for the Arts would be hard-pressed to find the tiny charter school.

State charter school to pay rent, where local charter schools would not

RIVERDALE – Utopian Academy for the Arts will spend at least $36,000 on a 12-month lease with the Clayton County Board of Education this school year. The fledgling school negotiated the contract requiring a security deposit and a $3,000 first-month payment last month, said Artesius Miller, founder and executive director of Utopian Academy.

Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School “Where Is Utopian Academy for the Arts?” City Prohibits School From Using Sign

RIVERDALE – When 300 students at Utopian Academy for the Arts reported to classes last week, there was no sign on the lawn letting them know that they had reached the right place.

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RIVERDALE - When 300 students at Utopian Academy for the Arts reported to classes last week, there was no sign on the lawn letting them know that they had reached the right place. The name of the school had been removed by order of the City of Riverdale.This week the sign is still bare.The City of Riverdale has prohibited Utopian from using its school sign to welcome visitors or identify the building until administrators secure a business license. School officials, however, maintain that Utopian is a public school so a business license is not necessary. The debate has caused the school to accrue fines in the hundreds of dollars for violating city code. Administrators say the fees and threats are just another attempt to “bully” Utopian into pulling out of Riverdale.“They don’t want people to know that a school exists at 6630 Camp Street,” said Artesius Miller, executive director of Utopian. “They have stripped us naked and said basically ‘You all will not have anything so that people will know that you are even here’.”Similar tactics last year resulted in delaying the opening of school for more than a week. A Clayton County fire marshal denied administrators, teachers, and students the right to access the building saying that Utopian needed a last minute inspection among other things to occupy the premises. Utopian lost 80 students after its delayed opening.Utopian’s rocky start inspired legislation to protect state-approved public charter schools from similar stall tactics. The "Utopian Academy for the Arts Act," which went into effect in July, prohibits local governments from requiring public charter schools approved and inspected by officials with the state Department of Education to be forced to obtain any other licenses from local government entities to operate their school.The law does not protect a charter school’s signage, however.In the weeks before classes began this school year, a City of Riverdale code enforcement officer left a violation notice on Utopian’s door warning administrators to take action immediately: “Remove banner until permit is issued and apply for a business license.” Miller said that a member of the Clayton County School board advised him that other county schools in Riverdale are not required to have a sign permit or a business license. “Every time that we have attempted to have some type of signage, we were told that we needed a permit or we were being fined because we are not affiliated with the Board of Education in Clayton County,” he said. [columns] [column half][pullquote left]

Where Is Utopian Academy for the Arts? City Prohibits School From Using Sign[/pullquote][/column] [column half]

“It got really nasty,” Miller said of a recent surprise visit from code enforcement before school began."

Miller said that he has received calls and notes from the city warning that Utopian has accrued fees in the hundreds of dollars for violating city business license and sign codes. “It got really nasty,” Miller said of a recent surprise visit from code enforcement before school began. “The guy came and tossed the [fee list] in the face” of a school supporter.Miller took video footage of the visit that shows a code enforcement officer telling him and a school supporter that an inspection of the school’s signage was necessary because “the Georgia Department of Education does not look for stuff like this on buildings.”For the second year in a row, Miller turned to the State Charter Schools Commission for reinforcement. Miller got a letter explaining to the city that schools authorized by the commission are indeed public schools, not businesses.“Utopian Academy for the Arts is a public charter school authorized by the SCSC- a state level authorizing entity under the authority of the state Board of Education,” wrote Gregg Stevens, general counsel for the commission.“Accordingly, Utopian Academy for the Arts should at all times be treated like a public school with the privileges, rights, and obligations afforded thereto …” Utopian opened in August 2014. It was denied the right to exist by the Clayton County School board in 2011, 2012, and 2013 when the district rejected its charter application. The local denial was over-ruled by the state in October 2013. The state Charter Schools Commission granted Utopian Academy the authority to serve kids for five years as a state charter school. It was the first charter school to win approval from the new commission.[/column] [/columns] State Rep. Valencia Stovall, who supported the opening of Utopian in Clayton and co-sponsored the new law protecting charter schools from harassment, said it was “disheartening” to learn that Utopian is still having trouble with local government.“They should be treated as any other public school opening in the city,” Stovall said. “Instead, they have been hit from both sides from the City of Riverdale and the Clayton County School Board.” Stovall said that in addition to racking up fines from the city, Clayton Schools is exercising its right to charge Utopian much higher rent than the building’s earlier tenant. Utopian pays $3,000 a month to use the building compared to the Riverdale Development Authority, which had a lease allowing it to pay $1 annually for 20 years.School leaders say they refused to be forced out of Riverdale by local leaders who see them as competition. “Being in this fight for so long has been a tedious journey for me not only as a board member, but also a parent,” said Sharon Daniel, who chairs Utopian’s governing board. “We will not give up. We will educate the City of Riverdale.Utopian is a public school. We have a right to be here.” CLICK HERE FOR THIS RELEASE IN A DOWNLOADABLE FORMAT