It Takes Grass and Roots to Make a Difference!

Amazed! I keep waiting for rejection, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve been talking to a few people in the community about my school, they all seem on board. I really expected everyone to balk, but so far, if they are, they’re not saying anything. This seems to be the perfect time for an education revolution and I think we have to use the grass roots model to get it done, but having support from larger entities is helpful too.

I reached out to Dr. Ashley Gess at Augusta University College of Education to find out about STEAM Teams this year, and unfortunately, they are not available… BUT she did tell me about the STEAM classes for certified teachers. Since I’ve let my certification lapse, I’m not eligible for the classes, BUT they are looking at offering a teacher academy this summer for STEAM. She asked if I wanted to be on the mailing list – ABSOLUTELY!

Most amazingly, after listening to my school philosophy and goals, she asked if THERE WAS ANYTHING SHE COULD DO TO HELP ME!  I wrote about her in my previous post “Social Media Infant Starts Blog!” and I cannot stress enough how wonderful she, and the energy she brings with her, is. Being in her presence makes me happier, more focused, and even more excited about learning and teaching!

I asked her to review my progress and plans in 6-8 months and she encouraged me to stay in touch and said she would help in any way she could. She recommended that I check out Jessye Norman School of Arts and Heritage Academy.

It feels really good to have an education expert in my corner!

I attended a North Augusta Service Network (NASN) meeting and learned about grant writing from Faith Edmondson at Gateway Grant Services. Faith and her organization offer not just grant writing services, but all the support needed at any stage from start to finish. I thought it was particularly interesting that she starts with an assessment and makes sure your organization is ready to apply for grants. They’ll help you write your own grants too. This is an amazing resource in our community.

Faith and the other attendees were supportive and encouraging of my school endeavor.

NASN meetings are always informative and it’s a great way to network with others who also provide community services. Thank you Rick Berry for introducing me to this group and for continuing to encourage me, and inviting me to meetings.

Today I met Will Bridges, owner of Two Bridges Automotive Sales at the corner of Gordon Hwy and Milledgeville Rd. and talked to him about my school and an idea for a fundraiser. He asked how much I wanted to put into materials, and I said “Nothing! It’s a fundraiser!” I explained the slide pay scale and the students that really have my heart (the really tough ones), and he offered to help with fundraising  for free, because it’s for the kids. I spoke with his partner Lakesha Harley with Keller Williams Realty. this evening and she will be donating materials with Will.

These are just a few examples of the amazing, supportive people in my community. I am so thankful for every one of them and the talents and services they bring to our area.

I have been fortunate enough to find a few organizations statewide that support my ideas as well.

I spent Friday contacting several organizations in hopes of increasing my understanding of the nuts and bolts of opening an alternative education school. I had reached out to Heartwood Learning Center in Atlanta (stay tuned for more about them later – they are very supportive too!) and they suggested I start with Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.  I left a message, and was called back within a few hours.

I described the school I wanted to start, that I’m thinking of starting with middle schoolers and possibly as a home school. They were not able to tell me much about the overall requirements for the age group or home school reports. What I was able to learn, is that I am required to take a one day workshop, and they will send me the schedule of dates when it comes out next year.

The lady I spoke with was VERY positive and helpful, she was honest about what she didn’t know and directed me to Georgia Department of Education (GADOE). She wished me luck and said my school sounded like a great environment.

In order for me to operate out of my home, I have to be licensed.

“If you are submitting an application for a Family Child Care Learning Home (FCCLH), you must attend a FCCLH Licensing Orientation Meeting (FCCLH – LOM) class prior to submitting an application for licensure. FCCLH – LOM is required for all FCCLH applicants that are not currently licensed.” (2018, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning)

I’m not sure if this is the route I’m going to take, but I want to cover all of my bases. I don’t want to get a year into working toward my goal and realize there was something early on I should have done. The orientation meeting is free, and a drive through rural Georgia is always nice, so really I have nothing to lose by attending.

I also reached out to GADOE, GADOE Home School Division, and Georgia Home Education Association.

Building confidence in my ideas and philosophy is obviously something I need to work on as I am shocked every time someone I don’t know agrees with, or is excited about, my overall education philosophy. I seriously need to work on this!



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