SCSC Newsletter
December 2020
State Charter Schools Commission Approves Northwest Classical Academy
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) approved Northwest Classical Academy (NCA) to open in the 2021-22 school year. Commissioners voted to approve the charter school petition at its November 18 board meeting.  

NCA is a replication of Atlanta Classical Academy (ACA), an existing charter school approved by Atlanta Public Schools. NCA will locate in Kennesaw, Georgia in the Cobb County School District and serve students through a statewide attendance zone. NCA will open with grades K-6 and expand to grades K-11 by the fifth year of its charter term; its plan is to become a K-12 school.

“Families are eager for additional choices for their students, especially in the current environment,” said State Charter Schools Commission Executive Director Lauren Holcomb. “We are pleased to offer another high-quality charter school for Georgia students through the approval of Northwest Classical Academy.”

Similar to ACA, NCA will implement a classical curriculum with an emphasis on “virtuous living, traditional learning, and civic responsibility.” The curriculum emphasizes intellectual development and character formation.

“Our mission is to form intelligent, virtuous citizens via a classical, liberal arts curriculum in a smaller-school environment,” said Matthew Kirby, Northwest Classical Academy’s Executive Director. “We’re eager to offer this time-tested academic model to all Georgians, and we expect to attract most of our students, families, and employees from Cobb, Cherokee, Bartow, and Paulding Counties.”

The SCSC petition review process for replication schools includes an in-depth staff review of the new school’s petition and budget, as well as an analysis of the original school’s performance history in the areas of academics, finance, and operations.

A panel of staff and commissioners interviews petitioners and makes a recommendation to approve or deny the petition to SCSC commissioners. At all points of the review process, staff and commissioners accept feedback from local community officials.

The petition and supplemental information presented by the ACA and NCA governing boards met all requirements of rule and law and indicate that NCA will operate as a high-quality charter school consistent with the SCSC’s mission and the educational goals of Georgia.

Find more information about NCA at
State Charter Schools Commission
Board Meeting Recap
The State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) held its most recent board meeting on Nov. 18.

By unanimous vote, the SCSC approved the 2021 SCSC board meeting calendar. Additionally, by unanimous vote, the SCSC approved the Northwest Classical Academy charter petition.

A meeting minutes summary can be found on the SCSC website. There is no December meeting scheduled. The next SCSC board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2021. For a complete list of meetings scheduled for 2021, visit
SOLVE Scholarships Now Available
for State Charter School Students
Schools authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) are now eligible to apply for SOLVE Scholarships. The SOLVE (Supporting Onsite Learning for Virtual Education) Scholarship Program provides financial assistance for working families during the pandemic by paying for a student’s care, support, and supervision during the school day while they engage in virtual learning. This program is supported through the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund and administered by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL).

Students must be between the ages of 5 and 12 years old and attending a primarily virtual school to be eligible for a SOLVE scholarship. Primarily, virtual schools are defined as schools that do not offer in-person options for all grades, K through 7, and/or an in-person option is available but is only available 50% or less of the time. The student’s family must also meet income eligibility and activity requirements.

Please see the this list to note your school’s eligibility status. If your school’s status changes, notify the SCSC immediately so that we can alert DECAL.
To apply, families should go to and for more information, visit
Georgia Department of Public Health
Releases New Quarantine Guidelines 
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) released new guidance related to quarantine based on CDC guidance. A few specific points to highlight are as follows:

If you do NOT live in a congregate setting* you can discontinue quarantine:

  • After 7 full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred, if you fulfill all THREE of the following criteria:

  • Are tested for COVID-19,
  • The test should be a diagnostic test (PCR or antigen) and the specimen for your test may not be collected more than 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation. If you plan to discontinue quarantine after 7 full days, this means you should not have a sample collected for a test until after you have completed 5 full days of quarantine
  • Receive a negative result,
  • You may not discontinue quarantine until you have completed a minimum of 7 full days since your most recent exposure, even if you receive your negative test result earlier. If your result is positive, you must follow DPH isolation guidance.
  • Do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period

  • After 10 full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred, if you fulfill BOTH of the following criteria:

  • Are NOT tested for COVID-19
  • Do not experience any symptoms during your monitoring period

If you discontinue quarantine prior to 14 days, you should continue to monitor your health and follow mitigation strategies until 14 days after your most recent exposure and isolate immediately if symptoms develop. Mitigation strategies that should be practiced include correct and consistent mask use, social distancing, hand and cough hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, avoiding crowds, and ensuring adequate indoor ventilation. 

* Congregate settings include long term care facilities, jails, prisons, shelters, etc.

DPH will soon update the specific guidance for Return to School, which will address additional concerns such as athletes returning to play sports. For more information, please review the following documents below.

State Charter Schools Foundation to Host
Art of Connection Student Art Exhibit 
All state charter school students are encouraged to show their creativity in the State Charter Schools Foundation's (SCSF) first annual Art of Connection Exhibition of Student Art. This year's theme of "How I Stayed Connected to Others" invites students to express how they have stayed in touch with family, friends, and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Entries will be presented in the SCSF's virtual art gallery. Winners will receive an Amazon gift card. Students may submit their entries online between Jan. 11 and Feb. 28, 2021. For more information, see the SCSF website.
State Charter Schools Foundation Helps to Provide 130 Dozen Donuts for Teachers
Donuts for Teachers
Thanks to the generosity of supporters, the SCSF has given digital certificates for 130 dozen donuts to state charter schools through its Donuts for Teachers program. Every state charter school received at least one dozen donuts, and some schools received up to 20 dozen based on donors' designations. Teachers and staff from the International Charter Academy of Georgia have already enjoyed their donuts and express their gratitude to everyone who gave.
State Charter Schools Foundation Reviewing COVID-19 Grant Applications
The SCSF is currently reviewing applications from state charter schools for COVID-19 Relief Fund grants. The foundation expects to grant nearly $170,000 to schools to support students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards will be announced on December 11th.

State Charter Chatter
  • Kennesaw State University honored Odyssey Charter principal Scot Hooper. Read the story here.
  • Deonte Bridges, a teacher at Atlanta Heights Charter School, was featured in the AJC for his work with using social media to help his students learn. Click here to read the feature.
  • Academy for Classical Education celebrated its Blue Ribbon School status with a ceremony. More details about the event are here.
SCSC Meetings
The next SCSC monthly board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. A list of upcoming meetings for 2021 can be found on the meetings page of the SCSC website.
FY21 Reporting Calendar
The State Charter Schools Commission’s (SCSC) FY21 Reporting Deadlines calendar is available on the SCSC website here. Please note that most deadlines are established by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and are subject to change. The SCSC makes every attempt to ensure that it maintains all dates as accurately as possible. However, all schools are encouraged to stay up to date of any changes to the timeline made by GaDOE. Any failure by a state charter school to meet deadlines established and enforced by the SCSC and GaDOE will be reflected in the school’s assessment through the SCSC Comprehensive Performance Framework.
SCSC Upcoming Trainings & Events
Staffing and Recruitment Practices for New Schools
Target Audience: Governing board members and school leaders
Jan. 21, 2021- SCSC Training Room

This training is to help new schools plan for staffing and hiring as well as student recruitment. Topics to be covered include: effective marketing strategies that target the communities within your attendance zone, the impact of student recruitment and enrollment on funding, health insurance and benefits practices for teachers and staff as well as state charter-specific staffing considerations for teachers and finding the right school leader/ leadership model. Sign up here for this training.

Governance Training Live Session (Opportunity 2 of 3)
Target Audience: Governing board members and school leaders
Feb. 2, 2021- Held Virtually

Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2084(f), requires every member of a governing board of a state charter school to participate in annual governing board training. State charter school governing board members may attend one of the two governing board training opportunities provided to state charters by the SCSC at no charge to fulfill this obligation.

The SCSC strongly encourages state charter school governing board members to attend one of the governance trainings conducted by the SCSC as these trainings provides board members the unique opportunity to discuss issues and concerns directly with their authorizer. The SCSC staff’s unique understanding of the compliance issues facing state charter schools ensures that SCSC training sessions are always topical, relevant, and timely.

Topics will include the roles and responsibilities of board members and administrators, the SCSC Comprehensive Performance Framework, school finance, legal obligations, among others. Sign up here for this training.
Funding & Professional Development Opportunities
2021 Winter Instructional Leadership Conference 
The Office of School Improvement will host the 2021 Winter Instructional Leadership Conference – Reimagining K-12 Education virtually on March 2-3, 2021. The two-day event will provide information on new and practical resources from divisions across the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), hear from successful practitioners across the state, and learn about available assistance from partnering agencies to support improvement efforts.

  • Registration: Registration information will be released on GaDOE’s Events and Conference webpage on Feb. 1, 2021. We encourage early registration, as seats are limited for each session. There are no registration fees associated with this conference. For more information, you may contact GaDOE’s professional learning program specialist, Dawn Ashmore by email at

  • Requests for Proposals: GaDOE is currently looking for school and district leaders to share innovative and successful practices with conference attendees. The goal is to highlight the great work happening in Georgia schools in support of the whole child. Presentations can be presented individually, in groups, or by partnering with GaDOE or RESA specialists to share success stories and provide detailed information on the processes used to increase instructional effectiveness, teacher and/or leadership capacity, and ultimately, student achievement. Leaders may submit a request for proposal to present during the conference using this link. Detailed information can be found within the JotForm on the process and requirements. Proposals are due by the close of business on Jan. 6, 2021.  

Further information from GaDOE about the 2021 Winter Instructional Leadership Conference is available at the document here.
Advanced Placement Teacher Training Grant Application Now Open
The Georgia Department of Education has announced its Advanced Placement (AP) Teacher Training Grant. The grant will provide financial support for teachers to receive training during the summer of 2021. This will allow schools to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses during the 2021-2022 school year or the 2022-2023 school year.

Local school districts may apply for a grant to fund AP teacher training in up to two courses per school. Funding is to cover costs, or to partially cover costs, of training expenses, including registration, travel (based on current state rate per mile), meals and lodging, if necessary. The grant award may not be used for supplies, classroom resources, or stipends. The grant may only be used to train classroom teachers, not administrators. For more information, review the application from GaDOE here.
GCSA Facility Resource Center Lunch & Learn Series

Georgia Charter Schools Association will host a lunch and learn series focusing on charter facility issues in January and February. The four, 45-minute sessions will be held starting at noon on January 13, January 27, February 10, and February 24. A description of each of the sessions are listed below. Register for the upcoming sessions here. If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Bonnie Holliday, GCSA's Executive VP of Policy and External Relations, by email at

  • January 13, 2021: What came first, the students or the building? Where to start.
Looking to embark on tackling your next facility challenge? Every charter school will have to address this challenge and oftentimes aren't sure where exactly to start. Do we need to find a location first? Who do we hire first? Who do we bring on to join our team? How do I pay for this process?  If I am launching my second campus, do I have a different set of steps to follow?

  • January 27, 2021: Shop Local
Every school is going to need to build out their "facility team" and the "team" has the opportunity to make or break the school opening up on time. During this training we are going to focus on the importance of shopping local, the timelines and approaches to building out the team, and how to qualify the experience to match the project at hand.  

  • February 10, 2021: Money Problems
Every facility project is going to be faced with the challenge of figuring out how to finance it.  With over 17 different types of capital markets to access, charter schools have a variety of unique lending tools they can leverage. Each capital market is unique and offers different benefits and restraints. Tune in to learn more about how to navigate the various markets and enhance your school's credit profile so you can access competitive rates and terms.

  • February 24, 2021: Facility Issues
No two properties are identical. However, many of the challenges and issues faced by schools are overcome using common techniques and strategies. During this training we will cover the most common mistakes and challenges schools face and provide attendees with some tangible strategies and questions the facility team should be considering.
Grant Opportunities

  • Innovation Fund: Pandemic Education & Restart presented by RedefinED Rolling deadline - Grants of up to $15,000 are available for schools that serve students from the Atlanta Public Schools attendance zone. Proposals should be aligned with one or more of Transcend Education's 10 Leaps for Equitable, 21st-Century Learning. To apply follow the link here.

  • Kids Gardening - Due Dec. 18 - Grants are available to create a school garden. To apply follow the link here.

  • Classics for Kids - Due Dec. 31 - Grants are available to provide stringed instruments. To apply follow the link here.
Get Georgia Reading Campaign
This campaign is geared toward getting all of Georgia’s children on a path to third grade reading proficiency by 2020. The campaign unites public and private partners to pursue language, literacy, development, and sustainability to reach this goal. Get involved or read more about the initiative here.
State Charter Schools Commission |
The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate state charter school contracts in accordance with Georgia law.
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