• Talking with...Director of Culture and Engagement, Mark Lukert

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 10/13/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Advantage Academy Mark Lukert

    Mark Lukert, our new Director of Culture and Engagement, shares his background and inspiration for staying in education for so many years!

    When did you know you wanted to be an educator?

    I realized I wanted to be an educator in my 2nd year in college. This is my 45th year in education! I served as a principal for 21 years. I also serve on several boards and can't seem to slow down. I love my job! 

    Who was your favorite teacher and why?

    I loved all of my teachers. My 2nd grade teacher was my favorite elementary teacher. She was very kind and I knew (even as a 2nd grader) she liked me. I don't ever remember her raising her voice.  She was a master at building relationships with her students. One of my favorite High School teachers was my typing teacher. Every time I sit down at a typewriter I think of her and realize what a blessing it is to be a fast typist. Honestly, I could go on and on about my teachers. There is not one that I don't have fond memories of.  

    How does our school’s mission and vision align with your personal values?

    The mission of Advantage Academy and the Seven Pillars of Character and Leadership align perfectly with my values.  I am very thankful we are faith-friendly. I love telling people about Jesus and my relationship with Him. 

    What is your job? 

    My title is “Director of Culture and Engagement”. The position was created to help build morale and a positive culture on each of the AA campuses. We also want to get parents more involved at the campus level.  

    What do you love most about your role?

    The Director of Culture and Engagement is my dream job. I am a speaker, teacher, trainer and coach for the John Maxwell Team.  It is my opinion (and research-based) that servant leadership is the only way to lead effectively. I love building relationships with the AA Staff and want to do whatever I can to help make each campus a successful and happy campus where teachers, students and parents love to be.  

    What else would you like us to know about YOU?

    As I stated earlier, I love the Lord and realize that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. I know I have a purpose at Advantage Academy and I want to serve Him while accomplishing that purpose. I have 4 fantastic children - Kris, Kolter, Kaleb and Katy, and 10 phenomenal grandchildren - Karson, Kase, Keller, Kye, Kenzie, Kip, Kennedy, Kollins and Kamryn! That's a big group of Special K's and each one is a huge blessing in my life.

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 9/29/2021 9:00:00 AM

     

    Body, mind and spirit. At Advantage Academy, we believe all three are connected, and each needs to be cared for to positively impact student learning. So what are we doing to support healthy students? It turns out, a lot!

     AA Student grinning during lunch

    Good Nutrition

    Studies have found that improved nutrition has the potential to positively influence students’ academic performance and behavior. By eating healthy meals, students are better able to learn, have fewer absences, and cause fewer disruptions in the classroom. It can also improve brain health and cognitive ability. Those are great benefits that create a better learning environment for all of our students! 

    Getting a Head Start

    You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At Advantage Academy, we consider it a foundation for success in all of our students. Whether your student eats breakfast at home or at school, we encourage families to prioritize healthy choices to get students started on the right foot. At school, this can mean utilizing our free breakfast and lunch program, which gives kids access to healthy foods before-school and in-school every day. No application necessary!  

    Keep Moving

    Playing sports isn’t just fun, it’s a great way to keep your mind and body healthy!  Our PE program keeps kids engaged with inside and outside activities that accommodate all athletes. All AACA students are encouraged to play sports, and our athletic program offers opportunities for students of all skill levels to try out the sports that interest them, even if they’ve never played before. Team sports include flag football, basketball, softball, volleyball, baseball, cheerleading, tennis and track. Your students will enjoy the benefits of social interaction, stress relief, and teamwork while building physical health. 

     

    AA students learning about food portions

    Healthy Alternatives

    Our popular Before and After School Program offers enrichment programs and academic support for PreK-8th grade students outside of the school day. Beginning at 6:30am and continuing until 6:00pm, these programs are free and offer healthy alternatives for busy families. For our High School students, The Boys & Girls Club of Grand Prairie offers after school care and free transportation is provided!

    Mental Wellness Support

    Did you know that 6% of children ages 6-17 struggle with emotional or behavioral difficulties? Through a partnership with DialCare Mental Wellness, AACA offers free mental health counseling, connecting middle and high school students with licensed professional counselors who can work with conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, addiction and more. 

    We also partner with Mentors Care to provide caring and consistent adult mentors and resources to at-risk high school students. Mentors meet on-campus during the school day – providing students easy access to building relationships with supportive adults.  

    Academics for All

    Our small school environment helps teachers get to know each one of our students on a personal level, taking the stress out of learning and nurturing healthy academic growth. We offer individualized pathways to support student learning, including free online tutoring instruction; assessment and support for students on 504 plans and IEPs; ELL instruction for our English language learners; and a variety of Gifted and Talented programming for high-performing students. 

    Contact us today to learn how Advantage Academy nurtures healthy students!

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now.

     

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  • Talking with… Chief Academic Officer Kimberly Gilson

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 9/15/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Kim Gilson AA Chief Academic Officer

     Kim Gilson, Advantage Academy's Chief Academic Officer, shares her inspirations and gives us some insight into who she is and why she's so committed to Advantage Academy.

    When did you know you wanted to be an educator? 

    I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I would play school in my bedroom and would teach my dolls what I'd learned that day. I had a big, 2-sided chalkboard and a desk. I would have parent conferences with my stuffed animals. When I had spending money, I'd go straight to the school supply section of the store.

    Who was your favorite teacher and why? 

    I was blessed to have so many good ones that this is almost impossible to answer! I'd probably have to say my high school band director and his wife, who was my private clarinet teacher. They believed in me, gave me opportunities, pushed me, and opened doors to expand my horizons.

    How does the charter school’s mission and vision align with your personal values?  

    I believe we are first and foremost spiritual beings. Most schools only believe their mission is to teach the mind, and maybe the body. Advantage Academy is unique in that we honor each person's spirit. You don't have to leave your faith at the door when you come to work each day. Children today are getting so many conflicting, and often harmful, messages from those who don't care about them. It's important that truth and hope are instilled in them. We have to speak louder than the negative messages being sent. 

    What do you love most about your role?   

    The people I work with and for! Their commitment to the mission and vision of this charter keeps me going! 

    What else would you like us to know about YOU?  

    I want to be remembered as someone who brings joy and life into a room when I enter, and impart that into those I meet so some stays behind when I leave. My life motto is "Go Big or Go Home." If you're going to do something, do it big. 

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • I Am Somebody

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 9/1/2021 9:00:00 AM

    At Advantage Academy, we see each child for who they are. But the inspiration for this goes all the way back to our founder, Dr. Allen Beck. Dr. Beck was born into poverty in Oklahoma, and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. His circumstances were challenging, but throughout his youth, he had teachers who recognized his potential – that he was “Somebody”, and not just another struggling student - and encouraged him to stay in school. He graduated as the Valedictorian of his high school and went on to a successful career in education. 

    Throughout his life, Dr. Beck cited the encouragement and care that he received from his teachers as being formative to his character as an adult. It inspired him to find a new way to educate, and provided the vision to build Advantage Academy into the school it is today, dedicated to providing students with a purpose and a hope for their future. 

    There are so many ways that Dr. Beck’s vision for honoring the unique potential of every student is alive in the classrooms and hallways of Advantage Academy. Here are just a few!

    Personalized Pathways

    Our small school environment helps teachers get to know each one of our students on a personal level. AA teachers recognize every student’s strengths and nurture their growth. We offer individualized pathways to support student learning, including free online tutoring instruction; assessment and support for students on 504 plans and IEPs; ELL instruction for our English language learners; and a variety of Gifted and Talented programming for high-performing students. 

     

    AA girl student sitting outside with notebook and pencil

    Character Building

    AA education is not just about core subjects – it’s about helping students develop the tools, abilities, and confidence to make a difference within themselves and the world around them. The 7 Pillars of Character and Leadership represent the components we believe to be essential to developing strong character and leadership skills within our students. Through a district-wide Pillar of the Month and ongoing classroom enrichment, students learn and incorporate these traits as part of their everyday language and culture.

    Encouraging Leadership and Service

    Throughout the year our students have many opportunities to explore their unique interests and develop leadership skills. They can choose to get involved in the community, create their own clubs, get a head start with college courses, and much more. Each year we partner with local nonprofits and businesses to send our students out to serve - developing empathy and humility while addressing real-life community needs. 

    Valuing Students’ Beliefs

    At Advantage Academy, we believe that every person consists of body, mind, and spirit. When schools do not address the needs of the spirit (knowing that they were uniquely created for a special purpose and are valued), it creates a “hole” in “whole child” education. We create a faith-friendly environment that welcomes and engages students’ deeply-held beliefs and provides an inclusive culture of respect and acceptance to all individuals, no matter their beliefs. We help students connect their personal lives to their learning – encouraging each student to develop a deep understanding of their own family values.  

    Contact us today to find out more about how Advantage Academy recognizes each child as “Somebody” – somebody that has unique strengths to be nurtured and somebody that can grow into a Champion with a Future and a Hope.

    About Advantage Academy 

     Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now.

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  • Health & Safety in the 2021-22 School Year

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 8/25/2021 9:00:00 AM

    At Advantage Academy, the health and safety of our students, families and staff is our highest priority. We’ve spent a great deal of time this spring and summer closely monitoring the progression of the pandemic, consulting with educational and medical experts, and seeking guidance from TEA and public health officials to design an updated COVID-19 plan that protects the people who use our school facilities and buses. True to our mission, we've also been engaging our families and community throughout the process, listening to and respecting your perspectives. 

    AA Teacher and Student masked up

    Just like last year, our COVID-19 plan and all of our safety measures will change based on emerging information, both locally and nationally. We remain wholly committed to being safe, being smart, and being kind and ask all of our families to also commit to that intention. We are thrilled to have our entire community back on campus this year!

    Face Coverings

    The CDC continues to recommend universal mask wearing for everyone. However, wearing a face covering is RECOMMENDED BUT NOT REQUIRED by Advantage Academy students in all settings, including on our campuses (classrooms, hallways, and lunchrooms), on our buses, and when participating in athletic and extracurricular programs. All AA employees are required to wear face coverings while around students and visitors.

    Physical Distancing

    The CDC continues to recommend physical distancing for everyone. To the extent possible, student desks/tables are placed three feet apart and we urge students to maintain a distance of at least three feet from other students in classroom settings.  

    Handwashing and Sanitizing

    Students will be expected to frequently wash or sanitize their hands and our teachers provide periodic hand washing reminders during the school day. Hand sanitizer is available on all school buses, at the main entry to each campus, in each classroom, in the cafeteria and in all common areas throughout the campuses. 

    Cleaning and Disinfecting

    Frequent cleaning and proper disinfection following CDC recommendations supports a healthy and safe environment for all Advantage Academy students, staff, parents and visitors. Restrooms, hallways, classrooms, and common areas are cleaned throughout the day and a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of these spaces will be conducted nightly. Cafeterias are disinfected between lunch periods. 

    Daily Routines

    Parents are responsible for daily monitoring of their children for symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses. Children with a fever of 100° Fahrenheit or higher, symptoms or other serious illnesses should not be sent to school. All students will have their temperature scanned upon arrival to our campuses. Parents are required to provide face coverings for their child (for those who choose to wear a covering.) Advantage Academy will provide a replacement should the face covering become lost or unusable during the school day. AA has COVID-19 tests available for students who develop symptoms during the school day. 

    Athletic and Outdoor Activities

    Wearing of a face covering is NOT RECOMMENDED  for athletic activities or outdoor activities at Advantage Academy. According to CDC guidance, students and adults are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks. When outdoors, AA students can have lunch, take part in physical education, recess or have classes without wearing masks or observing strict physical distancing. Athletes should bring their own reusable water bottle, and all athletic areas and equipment will be disinfected throughout the week.  

    AA Staff with Eagle Mascot

    Transportation

    Wearing of a face covering is RECOMMENDED BUT NOT REQUIRED on Advantage Academy school buses. All buses were sanitized and disinfected prior to the start of the school year, and high-touch surfaces are disinfected after each bus run. Students use hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus and should follow physical distancing measures while waiting for the bus and during loading. 

    COVID-19 Protocol Information

    Advantage Academy has an updated contact-tracing, quarantine and school closure protocol for the 2021-22 school year. Click here for more detailed information, including who to contact if your child tests positive for COVID-19.

    Thank you to each of our students, parents and staff for your support and cooperation as we work together to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment. It’s wonderful to have our students back in the building!

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now.

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  • Reimagining Education - Our Legacy & Our Future

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 8/18/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Twenty-three years ago, Advantage Academy opened with just 60 students and a founder’s vision. Today, we operate four campuses serving over 1,200 students, but remain true to the mission set out by our founder Dr. Allen Beck. He pledged to find a new way to educate, dedicated to providing students with a purpose and a hope for their future. We have never wavered from that goal. However, the way we reach it continues to evolve. 

    Advantage Academy free charter school develops future leaders.

    A Legacy of Innovation

    Advantage Academy is recognized for our ability to deliver excellent education that builds character and leadership in our students. As a charter school, we have the flexibility to adapt to the individual needs of students and be innovative in our approach. Our small school environment enables us to be responsive to our students and families, supporting our Eagles as they become the community leaders of tomorrow. 

    Over the years, we have pivoted to reflect the sweeping changes in education and better meet the needs of our students. Some highlights of these innovations include:

    • We have integrated cutting-edge technology into every classroom curriculum at all grade levels. 
    • We have embraced hands-on and group-based teaching and STEM curriculum to develop critical thinking skills. 
    • We have created course offerings to support students' success after high school. 
    • We offer individual lesson plans and learning accommodations, as well as enrichment opportunities for all students who qualify. 
    • We support a growing population of ELL students with programs in and out of the classroom.
    • We have grown to serve new communities of students and have built mutually beneficial partnerships with community businesses and nonprofits. 
    • During the pandemic we prioritized student and staff health and safety, and worked with parents to disseminate safety guidelines and services

    Always Reaching Higher

    At AA, we know that “Reimagining Education” never stops. It requires a continual commitment to improvement – from our faculty, from our leaders, and from our students and families. Together, we uphold the 7 Pillars of Character and Leadership – life skills that help navigate challenges and work effectively with others. We successfully manage the ever-changing education landscape by developing and refining responsive curriculum that reaches and inspires students in new ways. We continually listen and learn from our community, and are committed to the ongoing education of our staff. We learn from our successes and share them within the education community. Because innovation is not just for our students - it’s built into the mission of our school. 

    At AA we are “Building Champions with a Future and a Hope” by remaining grounded in our history of innovation while focused on the future. Visit us today to find out more!

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in North Duncanville/SW Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • Faith and Family Friendly - What Is It Really?

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 8/11/2021 9:00:00 AM

    It’s in our mission. It’s part of our history. In a recent blog introducing all our schoolsour Principals indicated that it’s something they value most about our schools. 

    But what does “Faith and Family Friendly” really mean at Advantage Academy?

    It starts with our students. AA believes that every person consists of body, mind and spirit. Our goal is to educate the “whole child” – which means nurturing all three of these components. Each AA Eagle knows that they are uniquely created for a special purpose, and are valued. 

    Advantage seniors praying before graduation

    How does it work?

    At AA, we create a faith-friendly environment that welcomes and engages students’ deeply-held beliefs and provides an inclusive culture of respect and acceptance to all individuals, no matter their beliefs. 

    We teach about religion through the study of American history and literature, examining the inspirational leadership qualities of historical figures. 

    We recognize January 16th as National Religious Freedom Day – an annual celebration of our Constitutional right to hold our own beliefs.

    We offer an optional Bible elective for high school students who choose to learn in-depth about Christian history and literature. 

    We partner with faith-based community organizations on mentoring opportunities and support services.

    What about families?

    Through our Family Engaged Learning program, we welcome families to partner with us as we teach about religion and faith. We offer resources to support our families as they examine school topics through the lens of their own values and beliefs, shaping students’ lives and their decision-making abilities. 

    The Power of Why (POW) is an at-home and at-school interactive curriculum that is designed to improve each student’s understanding of their own character behaviors and how they fit with their family's foundational values. Each week during the Champion Advisory Period (CAP), our students are assigned a topic to discuss at home. These interactive topics help students be more motivated to learn at school as well as develop a deep understanding of their family values. 

    What are our Freedoms? 

    As a charter school, Advantage Academy upholds eight Student Freedoms outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. Not every AA Eagle may choose to observe these freedoms – but the choice is up to each student and their family. 

    • You can pray, read your Bible or other religious material, and talk about your faith at school.
    • You can organize prayer groups and religious clubs, and you can announce your meetings. 
    • You can express your faith in your class work and homework.
    • You can wear clothing with religious messages.
    • You may be able to go off campus to have religious studies during school hours.
    • You can express your faith at a school event.
    • You can express your faith at your graduation ceremony.
    • You can pass out religious literature at school.

    Advantage students and families praying before school

    “Faith and family friendly” is at the center of all Advantage Academy programs. Our ability to nurture the whole child empowers our students to be leaders in their school and community, to discover their gifts, and to utilize their skills to be the healthy and purposeful citizens that they were created to be. Contact us today to learn more!

    About Advantage Academy 

     Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

     

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  • Introducing Our Schools - In Our Own Words

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 8/4/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, founded in 1998. We have four campuses throughout the Dallas area in North Duncanville/SW Dallas, Grand Prairie (2), and Waxahachie. Although they all share the same mission and passion for educating tomorrow’s Champions, each school has a unique history, identity and spirit.

    To learn more, we asked our four Head Principals to tell us what they value most about their schools. 

    Dallas (PreK-8th)

    Advantage Academy Charter School North Duncanville/Dallas opened in 1998 as the original Advantage Academy campus. The school has been recently renovated and is now home to over 400 Pre-K through 8th grade students. 

    Principal Williams

    Darketsha Williams, Principal -Dallas Campus

    The “Top 5 Favorite Things” about my school are:

    1. The Caring Teachers we have throughout the school.
    2. Our Family engagement model.
    3. Working with our 7 Pillars of Character and Leadership.
    4. Our focus on serving the Whole Child.
    5. Our Commitment to literacy.

    Waxahachie (PreK-8th)

    Opened in 2006, Advantage Academy Charter School Waxahachie was the second Advantage Academy to open after North Duncanville/Dallas. AAWAX is now home to over 175 Pre-K through 8th grade students. 

    Dr. Danna Forbes-Martin head principal AA Waxahachie

     

    Danna Forbes-Martin, M.Ed., Head Principal - Waxahachie Campus

    The “Top 5 Favorite Things” about my school are:

    1. Focusing on mind, body, and spirit for students as well as all stakeholders.
    2. The Family support and connections we build.
    3. Our amazing campus culture.
    4. The experienced, passionate teachers we have at every grade level.
    5. The opportunity for personal and professional growth.

     Grand Prairie West (PreK-8th)

    Built in 2011 and located ¼ mile west of the Grand Prairie East campus, Advantage Academy Charter School Grand Prairie West is home to over 300 Pre-K through 8th grade students. 

    Jimmy Wright II head principal AA Grand Prairie West

    Mr. Jimmy Wright II, Principal - Grand Prairie West Campus

    The “Top 5 Favorite Things” about my school are:

    1. How we work with our Family Engagement values 
    2. We are Faith Friendly!
    3. We provide sound foundational instruction for all our students.
    4. We honor the founding principles and our Founding Fathers in our lessons.
    5. We encourages a growth mindset for all stakeholders.

     Grand Prairie East (9th-12th)

    Advantage Academy Charter School Grand Prairie East is our high school and was established in 2015. Today it is home to over 200 9th-12th grade students. 

    Alirio Carruyo head principal AA Grand Prairie East

    Mr. Alirio Carruyo, Principal - Grand Prairie East

    The “Top 5 Favorite Things” about my school are:

    1. The Safe Environment. Our students only need to worry about their academics and being happy - they do not need to worry about who is going to mess with them today. 
    2. The Family Environment. At Advantage Academy East we handle ourselves as family members and we have one shared goal - for our students to be Champions. We all pitch in.
    3. The Students. Our Scholars are great kids! A big part of why our environment is safe is because they keep it safe and conduct themselves in a great manner. They are true Champions.
    4. Our Teachers, and Front Office Personnel. These amazing individuals are the ones handling the show! They are prepared to teach, they truly care about our students, and are here to serve - they are servant leaders.
    5. Leadership opportunities for our scholars. In order to prepare the students for the demands of the world, our school provides students with different leadership opportunities on and off our campus. Service-learning opportunities are embedded in our curriculum instruction.

     

    Every Advantage Academy campus and principal shares the vision "For every student to live with Wisdom, Purpose, and Victory by instilling America’s founding principles of Knowledge, Character, and Leadership." And each principal works every day to make that vision a reality at their school. We look forward to welcoming new families to Advantage Academy to experience the school culture that feels like family, functions with solid academic fundamentals, and builds champions!

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in North Duncanville/SW Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • Accelerated Learning: Helping Students Catch Up after the Pandemic

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 7/28/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Dr. Angela McDonald, Superintent of Advantage Academy

    COVID-19 presented many challenges to learning for students across our country. As we prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, Advantage Academy teachers and administrators have been working hard to develop strategies to counteract learning loss. This week we asked our Superintendent, Dr. Angela McDonald, to share more about the plans at Advantage Academy. Here's what she had to say:

    “We are currently creating plans to make significant changes in order to catch kids up after a difficult year for many students and families. We are committed to providing the best, most effective strategies and additional support that are needed for students who were not successful this past year, due to COVID-19. We are implementing accelerated learning strategies, including high-impact tutoring, the addition of learning coaches, and additional support staff to ensure that all students are able to learn in a champion culture, with a focus on improving literacy and math skills for all students. 

    Our high-impact tutoring for students this coming school year will ensure that all students who need this support will receive small group instruction with highly trained tutors. Some of this tutoring will be during the school day and some may be either directly before or after school.  

    Our goal is to have a consistent tutor for each group of students so that these tutors can build great relationships with each of our students throughout the school year.  The tutoring sessions will be built around each students’ strengths and areas of need with targeted support and individualized instruction. We will use rigorous materials designed to make up for lost learning and that meets the needs of our students and any learning gaps they may have.  

     We are also using a new highly effective research-based curriculum and teacher development program that is 100% approved and supported by the Texas Education Agency. We were one of the few schools this past year and during our 2021 summer school that piloted this new curriculum. There will be ongoing support and training for our teachers to ensure effective instruction is happening in classes, especially in reading and math.

     We are also making improvements to ensure that any student who has struggled socially and emotionally is provided the support they need. We are adding additional counselors and counseling resources to our programs. We are adding a beginning of the day period that we are calling our CAPSTONE period. This will provide students with time to learn new social and life skills. And we are adding a new facilitator for family and community engagement, to encourage more effective communication and to guarantee our classrooms are filled with happy and positive students and staff, while ensuring that everyone is learning and growing academically, socially and emotionally.

     We are excited about the changes that we are able to make for this upcoming school year, and we believe they will have a positive and lasting impact on our students and families.”

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in North Duncanville/SW Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • 7 Things to Know About Our Robust STEM Curriculum

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 7/21/2021 9:00:00 AM

    “I plan to attend Texas A&M University to obtain a Biomedical Science degree. I want to say, thank you to all of my Advantage Academy teachers who helped me so much this year.” - Alma S., Advantage Academy graduate

     STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Most public schools teach basic math and science, but many do not provide their students with opportunities to learn about engineering, or give them free access to technology. How do we do it? Here are 7 things to know! 

    1. STEM is the future! 

    A solid foundation in STEM education creates critical thinkers and inspires the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. AA STEM classes encourage teamwork, experimentation and creativity – essential skills for success!

    2 boys at Advantage Academy conducting engineering experiment with m&ms cup spoon and tongs

    2. STEM is for all learners! 

    At AA, we incorporate STEM curriculum into every grade level, from pre-k hands-on learning about plants and animals, to high school forensic science coursework and math and science competitions. Students are exposed to STEM ideas throughout the school day. 

    3. We take STEM out of the classroom! 

    AA Eagles connect what they are learning in the classroom with real-world applications, through field trips, mentoring programs, internships, and more.

    4. Technology is accessible and free! 

    All AA Eagles, Pre-K-12, enjoy a no-fee technology device checkout program, which includes access to Chromebooks, iPads, and other laptops.

    5.  We offer technology training! 

    Our 6th, 7th and 8th graders can elect to enroll in technology and digital media courses that enhance their regular curriculum. 

    6. We help our STEM students pursue their passions! 

    AA high school students can choose electives in Technology, Engineering, Computer Technology and Robotics. 

    Advantage Academy student with robot he made

    7.  We support tomorrow’s leaders! 

    AA offers a CTE endorsement in STEM, which gives students the opportunity to earn a prestigious CTE Pathway Endorsement on their diplomas and become more marketable in their college or career search.

    Interested in learning how AA can help your student pursue their interest in STEM? Contact us today!

     

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PK-12 tuition-free public charter school serving students in North Duncanville/SW Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Waxahachie. Advantage Academy prepares our students for bright futures in a safe, healthy and faith-friendly charter school environment. Learning is active, nurturing and individualized, and our commitment to family and community engagement thrives alongside our character development, servant leadership, and focus on personal responsibility. We’re reimagining education to encompass the truth in American history, the importance of civic virtue, and the holistic value of service. Join our PK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now.

    Comments (-1)