What is your curriculum focus?
Is the curriculum effective?
Our students score above state and national averages on every section of standardized
tests. On Georgia’s CRCT tests, more than 90% are meeting and exceeding in most
subjects (see details under our testing tab). Over one-fourth of our 8th
graders qualified to enter into specialty high school programs. We had 100% pass
rate for 8th graders taking high school exams in Math I, Spanish I, and 9th
grade literature/composition. 88% of Oglethorpe’s 8th graders met
or exceeded on the 8th grade writing exam, compared with 64% in the system
and 75% in the state. Our former students consistently tell us that they are “more
than prepared” for high schools throughout the county.
What innovations have made the students successful?
The most important curriculum innovations are that we have split the traditional
language arts curriculum into a reading class and a writing class. This allows teachers
time to teach the important skills of reading comprehension, vocabulary, Latin and
Greek root words, and literary terms in reading. Writing teachers can focus on grammar,
mechanics, spelling, writing, and research.
Oglethorpe students have had so much success with the extra time on task that we
also split our math curriculum into two parts – one class focuses on algebraic concepts,
and the other focuses on geometry.
How are classes grouped at Oglethorpe?
We use heterogeneously grouped classes, meaning that there are students of low,
medium and high ability in each classroom. Gifted students are “clustered”
in groups of 8-10 students per class.
How are students enriched at Oglethorpe?
Students who are motivated may participate in a number of academic teams and academic
competitions. Oglethorpe participates in the Science Fair, the Social Science Fair,
the Spelling Bee, the Geography Bee, the PAGE Academic Bowl, the Reading Quiz Bowl,
several math competitions, Odyssey of the Mind competition, and the media festival,
as well as local, district and national writing competitions. At the end of the
school year, students who have earned an 85 average and have no discipline
infractions higher than a level 1 are allowed to choose one Talent Blitz trip to
attend. These trips are highly anticipated each year by the students and faculty,
and include such activities as trolley tours of the city, kayaking to Little Tybee,
dolphin cruises, trips to the newspaper and television station, pottery painting,
and other highly engaging activities. All students are encouraged to participate.
Why is it important to attend a middle school?
Young adolescents experience more change during the middle years than at any other
time of life except from birth to age three. Since its founding, Oglethorpe Charter
School has been structured using a model endorsed by the National Middle School.
Our culture includes:
Educators who value working with this age group
Collaborative leadership, where administrators and teachers work together in the
best interests of the students
A shared vision that guides all school-based decision-making
High expectations for every member of the learning community
Students and teachers engaged in active learning
Character education programs infused throughout the school year
School-initiated family and community partnerships
Because of the way the school is structured, every student participates in a club
that takes place during school hours. Middle school athletics are encouraged. After-school
clubs include the National Junior Beta Club, the National Junior Honor Society,
and the National Association of Student Councils. School-wide social events help
create a spirit of community - Fall Fling, Spirit Week, a Beta Dance and the
Yearbook Party. Assemblies are geared toward showcasing student accomplishments.
Highlights include the annual Talent Show and the Poetry Slam.
Where do the students come from?
Oglethorpe enrolls approximately 400 students each year, all of whom are selected
by lottery. We have a diverse student body – in the 2009-2010 class, we have 54%
African-American students; 4% Asian students; 2% Hispanic students; 2% mixed
raced students; and 38% Caucasian students. Approximately one-third of Oglethorpe’s
students are identified as gifted.
How can families participate at Oglethorpe?
All families sign and must abide by a family contract, which requires that students
complete and turn in homework, study for tests, turn in projects on time, and abide
by the school’s discipline code. Parents are required to donate volunteer time to
the school, and must attend two mandatory parent conferences. In addition, parents
are encouraged to attend sporting events and academic activities, as well as
chaperone field trips and participate in school activities. We believe that parental
support is the cornerstone to Oglethorpe’s continuing success story.