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

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. – 9:15 a.m., is being held to thank industry professionals and lawmakers who supported Utopian Academy during its first two years of operation.Utopian Academy scholars will showcase their artistic talents during Partners In Education Day. The dance team, pep band, and choir are among those who will perform. Culinary arts students will serve breakfast. Guests also will tour the campus and observe lessons being taught in single- gender classrooms.   Utopian Academy’s dynamic teachers challenge scholars to use their creativity and artistic expression to demonstrate subject mastery. Utopian Academy’s college prep curriculum is designed to produce scholars who are well-rounded in the arts and well prepared for success in high school. Students tackle math, science and language arts, and also take classes in broadcasting, visual art, music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and culinary arts.   “Our name, Utopian Academy, means idealistic social reformer,” explained Sharon Daniel, governing board chair at Utopian Academy. “For the past two years, we have stayed true to our name. It is changing how people perceive education South of Interstate 20. I believe that now people see us in a different light and believe that our kids are talented and can achieve at high levels.”More than a dozen Utopian Academy Partners In Education are expected Friday. Officials with the Georgia Charter Schools Association; State Rep. Valencia Stovall; Hollywood film producer, Reuben Cannon; and executives at Atlanta Metro Studios are among the invited guests.   “We appreciate the financial and in-kind support offered by our Partners In Education this school year,” said Artesius Miller, executive director of Utopian Academy. “Our partners have been there for us in every way possible. They have mentored students, provided industry expert guidance to our classrooms, and helped us to fund school materials and equipment. We are grateful for their generosity.” Utopian Academy currently educates more than 200 scholars in grades 6-8. This is Utopian Academy’s second year serving students. The school recently received a one-year lease extension from Clayton County Schools for its site at 6630 Camp Street in Riverdale.   Some of this year’s scholar highlights include:
  •  Fourteen scholars were selected to participate in the 2015 and 2016 Alvin Ailey Summer Camp
  • Two scholars attended the 2015 Steve Harvey National Male Mentoring Program
  •  Eight broadcasting students participated in the Through My Lens Atlanta Program
  • Fifty scholars attended leadership training session sponsored by The Ludacris Foundation and Usher’s New Look Foundation
  Utopian Academy was initially 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 students for five years as a free public charter school. It was the first charter school to win approval from the new commission. The school’s opening was later delayed for nearly two weeks in August 2014 when city officials insisted that Utopian Academy needed a business license and other permits to operate.   Utopian’s rocky start inspired legislation to protect state-approved public charter schools. Before the end of Utopian’s inaugural year, the school was immortalized in Georgia law. Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill in April 2015 called the “Utopian Academy for the Arts Act” that 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.    

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