1. Are there additional costs to parents associated with this program?
The program is funded through a combination of state and local tax dollars and grants. There are no costs associated with the core program. Students who enroll in Accel college courses may be required to pay for books and special supplies. Funding for Accel courses in future years is dependent upon continued appropriations by the state legislature. Parents may be required to pay tuition costs associated with elective college courses which students may choose to take as part of the Associates of Arts degree, but enrollment in those courses is optional. Students who take full advantage of all Advanced Placement courses and state funded Accel courses will be able to earn most of the required credits for the A.A. degree with no significant costs to the parents. Grants, tuition reduction agreements, and other funding will be sought to assist students with the costs associated with courses that are not funded through the Accel program.
2. What will the schedule be like?
The school day begins at 8:00 and ends at 3:00. The schedule operates on a modified A/B block schedule with three 105 minute blocks and one 50 minute block which meet Mondays through Thursdays. Courses taught in 100 minute blocks are taught on alternating days, and the courses taught during the 50 minute block are taught every day. All courses meet each Friday which is designated as a C day.
3. Will high school students be able to take any classes at Thomasville High School?
The 50 minute block in the middle of the day is aligned with fifth period at Thomasville High School. Students are given the opportunity to enroll in any available fifth period class at Thomasville High School. This includes electives or other academic courses offered during that time slot. Every effort will be made to align the course needs of students at the Scholars Academy with course offerings at the high school. Elective courses are also offered at the Scholars Academy.
4. When and where will students eat lunch?
Students are assigned to the two lunch periods during the 5th period block: 11:40-12:10 or 12:40-1:10. Lunches will be provided at no charge to middle or high school students from the MacIntyre Park Middle School cafeteria, or they may bring lunch from home. High school students may eat lunch in the “Bulldog Café.” High school students attending a 5th period elective at Thomasville High School may eat lunch on the THS campus. Middle school students may eat lunch in the MPMS “Park Café” or under the “Oak Tree.” During inclement weather, students may eat lunch in the “Multi-Purpose Room” (former MPMS Media Center). Students eating lunch with their parents may eat lunch in any of the above locations or walk across to the park.
5. What foreign languages will be taught?
Students may take up to 7 years of Spanish and 5 years of Latin. Two years of American Sign Language is currently offered. Students who enroll in the Scholars Academy in middle school will have the opportunity to master two foreign languages prior to graduation.
6. How can college credit be earned through this program?
A combination of Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses are offered to students. Ambitious students who enter the program by ninth grade and who are successful with both AP Exams and Accel or Early College classes may complete requirements for the Associate of Arts degree prior to high school graduation.
7. What AP courses will be offered?
AP English Literature and Composition, Government & Politics, American History, Art History, Biology, Latin, World History, Chemistry, Calculus, Psychology, Environmental Science, Art Studio, and Spanish are offered.
8. Will all students enrolling in the program earn the Associates of Arts degree?
No. The earlier a student begins the program, the greater his or her chances of earning enough college credit to receive the A.A. degree. The A.A. degree is a goal for the high achieving student who earns high scores on Advanced Placement exams and who completes the required Accel and Early College courses.
9. What is the difference between "Accel" and "Early College" courses?
Both "Accel" and "Early College" classes allow students to take college courses and receive both high school and college credit. Accel classes are limited to courses on a state approved list. Accel classes are funded through the Georgia lottery. Early College classes are classes that students may take for both high school and college credit but which are not funded by the state. The school system will seek tuition reduction agreements with participating colleges and universities, special grants, and other funding to assist students with tuition costs for Early College classes. The school system has been able to fund all Early College for students to date, but funding is always subject to future budgetary constraints. Early College classes will not be required of any student in the Scholars Academy, but the staff will assist students who are interested in those courses with scheduling.
10. Where will the Scholars Academy students receive counseling services?
The Scholars Academy has its own counselor, Mrs. Karen Bryan.
11. What is the relationship between the program director and the middle school and high school administrators?
Students in the Scholars Academy will be considered students at their base schools, and the school administrators will be considered their principals and assistant principals. The program director will plan and direct the Academy program in coordination with the building administrators.
12. Are students with disabilities eligible to apply for admission and are special services provided to students in the Academy?
Yes and yes. Students with disabilities are eligible to apply for the program. If accepted, the student's IEP team will determine how to deliver services in the Academy. To be accepted to the program, students must be capable of doing the advanced and accelerated work required with the appropriate accommodations.
13. Is the program open to students who live outside the city limits of Thomasville?
Any Georgia resident may apply.
14. Are students in the Scholars Academy eligible to compete in extracurricular activities including athletics?
Yes. Since the Academy is structured as a "school within a school," students are eligible to participate in all activities offered by the base school.
15. How is the middle school curriculum different from the curriculum taught in the traditional program?
Students in the Scholars Academy are taught the prescribed Georgia Performance Standards, but the curriculum is heavily supplemented with the College Board's "Pre-Advanced Placement" recommendations. This accelerated curriculum better prepares students for the rigorous demands of multiple Advanced Placement courses once they reach high school.
16. How will gifted services be provided in the Academy?
Gifted services are provided through three avenues. First, advanced content courses are offered by gifted certified teachers. Second, gifted students may also receive services of a collaborative gifted teacher who works with the regular classroom teacher to better meet the needs of gifted students. Third, students may register for gifted enrichment courses such as Creative Thinking and Science Connections which culminate in competitions like Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, Spelling Bee, and Quiz Bowl.
17. Where will the high school students take their college courses?
Some college courses will be taught on the Scholars Academy campus, and others will be taught on the college campus.
18. Is enrollment in the Scholars Academy a good choice for a high school junior or senior?
This is very much an individual decision. Students who are rising juniors or seniors and who have already planned their junior and senior years may want to complete their program as they have it planned. Students who begin the program in early grades will find that their course progression will be more orderly than those students who enter the program in grades 11 or 12. The high school counselor can assist students in making the most informed decision about whether to apply for the program. Every effort will be made to accommodate the individual needs of the students.
19. How will students be selected for the Scholars Academy?
A committee of educators appointed by the superintendent reviews application packets and makes selection decisions. In the event that the committee is unable to arrive at a final roster based on the selection criteria due to students with tied rankings, a lottery will be used to create the final roster. A waiting list will be generated for qualified students who are not selected based on available seats.
20. Is the Scholars Academy just another gifted program?
No. Eligibility for gifted services is not a criterion for admission to the program. A history of academic success and a strong motivation for accelerated learning opportunities are the benchmarks that are considered by the selection committee. Gifted services will be provided in the Scholars Academy.