• Top 10 Reasons to Choose Advantage Academy

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 5/4/2022 9:00:00 AM

    There are so many things that make our free-tuition public school a wonderful place to learn. In fact, it can be hard to choose only 10! But when we ask our students, families and staff, they often agree that these are some of the best reasons to attend Advantage Academy(AA): 

    AA Students holding up science project

    1. Our Students

    At Advantage Academy, students come first. Our students are central to our mission, and to our success. They come from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and communities, but at our school they are all Eagles. We love our students and it shows: our small school environment enables our 1,200+ students to be recognized by AA teachers and staff, and they are known by name when they walk through our doors.

    2. Our Teachers

    Our students will tell you that Advantage Academy teachers are what advance our schools from good to great. We pay our teachers competitive salaries and support their commitment to continuing education. Our Superintendent Dr. Angela McDonald is passionate about character education and family engagement – a passion that her staff and faculty share. Our teachers are inspired leaders both inside and outside of the classroom, and pass on their values to our students. 

    3. Our Community

    Our school community includes families, caregivers, community members, business owners, and nonprofit organizations. Family engagement is important at AA, that’s why we started our Parent University and Parent Ambassador Program. But family is more than blood relations or caregivers, and AA wants to be our students’ family when they are away from home. The AA family includes mentors and teachers who invest in our youth and provide trust and inspiration.  Our internship program gives students exposure to small businesses, helping them explore interests and apply real-world lessons to academics.

    4. Our Values

    Our 7 PIllars set us apart.  Integrity, Humility, Authority, Stability, Community, Prosperity, and Victory are the components of character and leadership that are at the core of our education model.  Each pillar highlights an attitude, goal, or mindset – tools that can help our students develop the confidence and capability to be productive citizens. Our district-wide Pillar of the Month incorporates grade-level lessons into the curriculum for all PK-12th grade students. 

    5. Our Heritage

    Advantage Academy was founded in 1998 as a free-tuition public school with a mission to prepare each student for the global society by meeting their unique needs - mind, body and spirit - and we have never wavered from that mission. Our approach is "building champions with a future and a hope" through a focus on character and leadership, social and emotional learning, family engagement, and a faith-friendly environment. At Advantage Academy, we are also proud of our heritage as Americans and incorporate the lessons of American history into every grade’s curriculum. 

    6. Our Commitment to Character

    We prepare each and every unique PreK-12 student on our four campuses to be the leaders of tomorrow with our Leadership & Character programming. Our focus on mind, body and spirit includes a wide variety of opportunities for students to learn and build character inside and outside of the classroom. Our coaches use Leadership & Character lessons in working with their players - encouraging student athletes to be respectful with coaches, teammates and officials.  

    7. Our Faith-Friendly Environment

    Advantage Academy’s faith-friendly environment 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.  We also offer an optional Bible elective for students who choose to learn more about Christian History. 

    8. Our Eagles Pride

    Advantage Academy Eagles don’t stop being Eagles when they graduate. Our secondary students access college, career and military readiness, dual credit courses, and career & tech programs, as well as a community service graduation requirement that encourages meaningful self-reflection. We support student involvement in athletics and extracurricular student-centered clubs, to help explore interests that may grow with them beyond graduation. Our students go out into the world ready to start college, the military, or a vocation with the confidence and knowledge that make them Eagles for life.

    9. Our Support for All Learners

    Whether it’s help with a math problem or ongoing academic support throughout the school year, we offer a range of programs for students of all learning abilities. Students who show the potential to perform at a significantly higher academic level than their peers enroll in Gifted & Talented programming. For all of our public school students we offer personalized, robust academics in a longer school day, free before/after care, and free tutoring. 

    10. Our Belief in YOU!

    When you enroll in Advantage Academy, you’ll find a community of people who want you to succeed. We believe in the underlying character of each one of our students, and we are committed to giving them the tools they need to succeed - both today, inside the classroom, and tomorrow, as they take their next steps in the world.

    Are you ready to become an Advantage Academy Eagle? Find out more and enroll today!

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  • 7 Pillars: The Foundation of Student Success

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 4/27/2022 9:00:00 AM

    If you’ve ever visited Advantage Academy, you’ve probably heard references to the “7 Pillars”. These Pillars may not be made of stone, but they are every bit as fundamental to the strength of our school. They are at the core of our education model, and they are helping us build Champions every day. So what are they? Good question!

    Columns at the edge of a building walkway

    Our public school was founded with a vision to help students develop the tools and confidence to make a difference in the world around them – beyond just core subjects. The “7 Pillars” are components that every Advantage Academy Eagle recognizes as essential to developing strong character and leadership skills. Each Pillar highlights an attitude, goal or mindset that can help our Eagles become confident and productive citizens.     

    Our 7 Pillars of Character and Leadership

    • Integrity
    • Humility
    • Authority
    • Stability
    • Community
    • Prosperity
    • Victory

    Advantage Student in front of wall of hearts and quotes

    The 7 Pillars at School…

    The Pillars are incorporated into classroom curriculum for all Eagles – from PK through 12th grade! Lessons are developed to be grade-level appropriate through collaboration of campus counselors and the district Curriculum & Instruction Department.

    Our district-wide Pillar of the Month program and enrichment curriculum help students learn and incorporate these traits as part of their everyday language and culture. 

    Advantage Academy’s Champion Auxiliary Period (CAP) sets aside time during the first hour of each school day to focus on the Pillars and character building, including lessons on leadership, personal health & safety, intrapersonal and interpersonal effectiveness, post-secondary planning, and career readiness. 

     …and at Home

    We value the partnership between school and home and believe that this connection helps students to become better learners and citizens.” (Dr. Angela McDonald, Advantage Academy Superintendent)

    Experts agree that the home is the first and most effective place for young people to learn the lessons of life, virtue, personal responsibility, hard work, and the value of education. Our Power of Why program (POW) is an at-home and at-school interactive curriculum that integrates the 7 Pillars character development teachings with each student’s family values. POW improves our 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, students are assigned a topic to discuss at home about their family’s core values. These discussions can help students develop a deeper understanding of their family values while affirming parents’ role in developing their child’s purpose in life.  

    Advantage Academy’s 7 Pillars support a foundation for student success – providing tools to become the community leaders of tomorrow. Find out more and enroll today!

    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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  • Celebrating Our Founder: Dr. Allen Beck

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 4/19/2022 9:00:00 AM

    April 19th is Founders Day at Advantage Academy, as well as the birthday of our founder, Dr. Allen Beck. To celebrate, we sat down with Dr. Beck and asked him to take a look back on his life. Dr. Beck overcame incredible obstacles to open our public charter school in August 1998 with just 60 students. Here is a glimpse at his journey.

    Advantage Academy Founder Dr. Allen Beck

    Dr. Beck was born and raised on a farm in western Oklahoma. Starting at 5 years old, he got up at 5am to feed the animals with his dad. He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse where one teacher taught all eight grades! His first grade teacher Miss Peck encouraged him to believe in himself, setting him on a successful path throughout his school years - including graduating as Valedictorian of his senior class. Miss Peck also taught him an important lesson about the transformative role that caring educators can play in the lives of students. 

    When he was 8 years old, Dr. Beck moved with his family to California. They were migrant workers, and Dr. Beck worked alongside his parents harvesting fruits and vegetables and picking cotton. They were poor - living in a leaky one-room converted chicken coop. But when Dr. Beck lay in bed at night he could see the stars through a hole in the roof. A bright future was waiting for him.  

    Dr. Beck was born a dreamer - he always wanted to do big things. After teaching in public schools and witnessing the unmet needs of the students, Dr. Beck pledged to find a new way to educate, dedicated to providing students with a purpose and a hope for their future.  In 1998 he beat out over 650 other applicants and was approved by the State of Texas to open one of the state’s first charter schools. It was a new day for education in Texas! He had less than 6 months to plan the school, but the community pitched in - some even agreeing to work without pay - to help his school get up and running. During the early years Dr. Beck’s school faced plenty of challenges, but he never lost faith in it because he believed his vision was a gift from God. 

    The vision that inspired Dr. Beck to found Advantage Academy has never changed. It is rooted in the history of education in America. The Northwest Ordinance passed by George Washington in 1787 outlined the teaching of religion and morality in schools: “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Dr. Beck is so passionate about restoring morality and the Bible in schools that he wrote a book about it! Regardless of your religion, Dr. Beck believes that everyone should learn about the Bible because it is key to understanding the history of America. 

    Dr. Beck likes to say “It takes unusual people to do unusual things.” From his humble beginnings he had the faith to dream big and take on the challenges that accompany those dreams. What dreams do you have? How will you make a difference? As an Advantage Academy Eagle, your journey starts now.   

    Interested in joining us? Advantage Academy is enrolling now - contact us to learn more!

    About Advantage Academy 

    Advantage Academy is a PreK-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 PreK-12 tuition-free public charter school, today! Enrolling now. 

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  • How Helping Others Helps You

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 4/13/2022 9:00:00 AM

    At Advantage Academy, we prepare each and every unique student to be the leaders of tomorrow with our Leadership & Character programming. We focus on mind, body and spirit through activities inside and outside of the classroom. And sometimes our learning takes us off campus entirely – and into the community! 

    AA Eagles are active as volunteers, both during - and after - school hours. But Service Learning is more than just volunteering - our students are developing social and leadership skills for life. Service learning projects build real-world skills like problem-solving, collaboration, and time management. They show our students that they can make a difference, and give them a new perspective of the world around us. 

    AA students packaging food in community service

    The AA Service Learning Program is a graduation requirement for all of our students. AA Eagles choose a local nonprofit to support with 40 hours of volunteer time, often working alongside their parents or family members. Qualifying charities include hospitals, food banks, nursing homes, churches and more – our school counselors can work with families to help in the charity selection.   

    Each year our Social Studies program offers students of all ages opportunities to volunteer in the classroom. Students can campaign for specific jobs and tasks to help out their classmates and contribute to a positive learning environment. These opportunities help students improve their communication skills, learn how to build and maintain trust, and work with their peers to manage conflict. 

    Throughout the year we partner with local businesses and nonprofits to provide volunteer and internship opportunities for our students. Students can choose from a variety of industries, including accounting, graphic design and manufacturing. These connections give students real-world experience, enabling them to explore career options that can influence their future plans. 

    AA students raising american and texas flag

    Our Flag Club relies on student volunteers to raise and lower our campus flags each day. Students learn about the significance and history of our American flag, maintaining a cherished tradition that reflects the values and mission of our school.

    Volunteering doesn’t stop at graduation! AA alumni are invited to return to campus and volunteer their time with current students. They visit our classrooms and share their stories of success, inspiring the next generation to dream big. 

    AA Eagles serve our community – and each other - in countless ways, and the results can be beneficial to everyone! Find out more and enroll today!

    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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  • All Learners Can Grow Here

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 3/30/2022 9:00:00 AM

    Advantage Academy is committed to serving all of our students – mind, body and spirit. But learners come in all shapes and sizes! What works for some may not work for all – and that’s what makes us unique. We value every student by reaching them where they are – from struggling learners to exceptional students, all Eagles can expect to receive a quality education that sets them up for success in life. 

    Advantage students help each other

    For Struggling Students – the Support to Succeed

    Whether it’s help with a math problem or ongoing academic support throughout the school year, we offer a range of programs for students of all learning abilities. From accommodations within a classroom to pull-out programs that reach students with 1-on-1 support, we work with each learner to address their unique needs. We partner with FEV Tutor to offer individualized tutoring instruction for students in grades 5-12, FEV incorporates social emotional learning for Special Education students - including students on 504 plans and IEPs. Guardians may request an evaluation for special education services at any time – simply contact our staff to get started. We also support our English Language Learners (ELL) with classroom and pull-out services conducted by an ESL specialist. To access EL/Bilingual Education services, contact your campus front office to learn more. 

    For Exceptional Students – the Tools to Reach Higher

    For students who show the potential to perform at a significantly higher academic level than their peers, we offer Gifted & Talented programming. Students are identified by teachers or guardians throughout the year, and depending on grade level can participate in enriched curriculum in reading, math and science and social studies. In addition to supporting a deeper level of academic learning, our Gifted & Talented program helps students develop skills in leadership and character. Year-round clubs and high school electives give all motivated students the opportunity to explore new interests. We also partner with area colleges and nonprofits to offer summer enrichment programs and resources for families of gifted children.

     

    For All Students – Testing and Tracking

    Student achievement can change from year to year. Strong math students can find themselves needing support around new concepts. Young readers may miss milestones that could affect future academic success if they remain unidentified. To track our students, Advantage Academy conducts regular testing throughout the school year, including Texas State assessments. This helps us determine individual student academic support needs as well as the overall effectiveness of our curriculum. We also conduct testing for ELL students and Special Education students, to help qualify students for in-school support services. 

    AA reaches all of our students with learning options that support their skill level. Find out how your student can join us and become a Champion today!

     

    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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  • Staying True to Ourselves

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 3/7/2022 9:00:00 AM

    We live in a world filled with distractions. Texting, social media, learning loss worries and even the fast pace of current events create seemingly endless opportunities to pull student attention away from the tasks at hand. At Advantage Academy, we understand the challenges of distraction. And we meet those challenges by drawing on our strength: an unwavering commitment to the vision that founded our school. 

     Founded 24 years ago, Advantage Academy continues to fulfill our mission to develop character and leadership in our students. Today we remain committed to that vision, through a curriculum that supports the whole student – mind, body and spirit. What does that mean in today’s terms? Here are some examples!

    It Starts with Success

    From Pre-K through High School, Advantage Academy Eagles are supported in their journey to become successful and productive members of our global society. Our caring teachers and staff focus on “building champions with a future and a hope” through individualized learning that emphasizes character building and personal responsibility. We look to American history for real-life inspiring examples of leadership and service. Each student learns our “Champion Pledge”, affirming their belief in their own success:

    “I have an amazing brain and unique gifts; Great things lie ahead of me; I can achieve what I need to achieve; I won’t quit believing in myself because I am a champion!”

    Advantage Academy student with certificates of achievement

    We are Always Improving

    We recently won a Teacher Incentive Allotment from the Texas Legislature,  recognizing the teaching excellence in our four public schools. Our teachers and staff are continually assessing the work we do and looking for ways to improve student outcomes. Meeting regularly, we collaborate with each other and our team learns best-practices around teaching strategies.  

    Advantage Academy Mentors get trained

    7 Pillars Set Us Apart

    Walk through the halls of Advantage Academy and you will see many references to the “7 Pillars” – the components of character and leadership that are at the core of our education model. Each pillar highlights an attitude, goal, or mindset – tools that can help our students develop the confidence and capability to be productive citizens. Our district-wide Pillar of the Month incorporates grade-level lessons into curriculum for all PK-12th grade students. 

    Centered on Family

    Family involvement in student learning is critical to success. Each day our Champion Advisory Period (CAP) supports character development with real-world examples, explored within the framework of their family’s core values. Our monthly Parent University program offers tools and support for families in our schools. And family members are encouraged to volunteer both inside the classroom, on field trips and at special events. 

    Parents attending Zoom Parent University at Advantage Academy

    At Advantage Academy, our students’ “family” extends beyond their relatives to include teachers, mentors, community members and staff who truly care about them. Our Mentors Care program supports students in their journey towards graduation. And local internships provide opportunities to learn about career paths from caring adults. 

    Looking for a tuition-free charter school that is unwavering in our mission to support student success? Enroll in Advantage Academy today! 

    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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  • Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 11/18/2021 9:00:00 AM

    George Washington“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”  

    –George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1789 

     

    Ready for a little history lesson? The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. The feast lasted three days, and was attended by 90 Wampanoag and 53 Pilgrims. But the Thanksgiving National Holiday which we celebrate didn’t come into existence until 1789, when President George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26 of that year as a National Day of Thanksgiving to recognize the role of providence in creating the new United States and the new federal Constitution. 

    This Thanksgiving, as we get ready to gather and celebrate the holiday, the staff and students of Advantage Academy are also considering the many things that we are grateful for – beyond the usual turkey and pumpkin pie. 

    Our Families

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – families are our most important partners! Our monthly virtual Parent University engages caregivers on district and campus level topics. Our Family Engaged Learning program connects families with the curriculum their kids are learning in school. And regular family-teacher conferences help set benchmarks for student achievement. 

    Our Students

    Advantage Academy students are at the center of everything we do. Their unique needs – body, mind and spirit - are thoughtfully cultivated so that each student can grow into a productive member of their community. We prioritize social and emotional learning to support life skills in all of our students. 

     AA Student with Achievement Award

    Our Staff

    Since our founding in 1998, Advantage Academy staff have been committed to “building champions with a future and a hope”. Our Superintendent Dr. Angela McDonald is passionate about character education and family engagement – a passion that her administrative staff and faculty share. Our teachers are inspired leaders both inside and outside of the classroom, and pass on their values to our students. 

    Our Country

    We live in the land of the free, because of the brave. At Advantage Academy, we are proud of our heritage as Americans and incorporate the lessons of American history into every grade’s curriculum. This month all Advantage Academy staff members and students are making holiday cards to send to our military troops overseas – as a way of saying thanks, and letting them know that we value them. 

    American Flag

     

    Wishing everyone in the Advantage Academy community a very Happy Thanksgiving – we are grateful for you! 

     

    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... Superintendent Dr. Angela McDonald

    Posted by Advantage Academy on 10/27/2021 9:00:00 AM

    Advantage Academy Dr.McDonald and mascotDr. Angela McDonald has had a long career, in a variety of roles, helping young people achieve their full potential. Her personal experiences shaped the kind of Superintendent she is today.

    When did you know you wanted to be an educator?

    I first wanted to be an educator in 4th grade. My 4th grade teacher was instrumental in this.  She would talk to me individually about me being a good reader. She encouraged me to read to other students who did not read as well as I did. She even allowed me to go to lower grades and read to struggling readers in Kindergarten and first grade.  I was a quiet student and very shy and this allowed me to get out of my shell by reading to others. It also placed a tiny seed in me that I wanted to do that when I was older.  

     Also, education was always very important to my parents and our family so it was instilled in me from a very young age, how important it was to learn. I think this made teaching an important career choice for me. 

    Who was your favorite teacher and why?

    I would say my first grade teacher was my favorite teacher. She was always very kind and showed interest in me.  She had funny ways to remember how to learn. She always made me feel loved and valued. Funny thing though, I remember her name because her name was Mrs. Reese. I thought it was cool that she had a name that was named after a candy bar!   

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

    The reason I love working at Advantage Academy is because of our mission and vision. As a young adult, I have always had a desire to do something meaningful and to make a difference in the lives of children. Later, after college, I realized I wanted to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.  

    Advantage Academy’s purpose is to plant seeds of hope into students’ and families’ lives. That is the core of what we do. I have always lived, knowing that we all need a purpose for living. So many children and adults do not know what their purpose is and I think that is one reason why so many people are unhappy. When I was younger, especially right out of college, when I was struggling to know my purpose, that is the number one reason why I was not happy, because I felt that I didn’t have a purpose. Even though I have been a Christian since I was a young child, I needed to know why I existed and how I could make a difference. Everyone needs to know that they have a purpose and can make a difference in the world.

    What do you love most about your role?

    I love knowing that as the District Leader, others in the organization are looking to me not only as a leader, but one that hopes to lead by example. This is a challenge, but also keeps me grounded, knowing that what I do affects others in many ways. I take that very seriously. I don’t come to play, I come to work so I can see positive changes. I love that the decisions I make can make a huge difference in the lives of others and because of that, I want to make sure that my decisions are good decisions for our students and for our employees. I have learned many things with “on the job” training. It’s been hard when I have seen decisions that were not good, but I work to make sure that any decisions I make are helping our cause. But the number one thing I love the most is helping what started as a dream come to fruition and to help that dream get bigger and better to impact others in a positive way. I love the people that I work with who are truly committed to the mission and who love our students!

    What else would you like us to know about YOU?

    I am a wife, mother and empty-nester, now that both my son and daughter have completed college and both are now married. I am so proud of the adults they have become and I love being able to see them (and now their spouses) as much as possible. That is my greatest joy. I do take my role as a Superintendent very seriously. I started out in education as a kindergarten teacher but quickly realized that although I loved education, I didn’t necessarily feel that teaching was my calling. I always had a pull towards business and in the legal world. After teaching, I worked at several law firms for a few years before I started working at Advantage Academy. They were great stepping stones, but I knew they were only temporary. I knew God had something else for me. 

    I found my true calling in education in 2000, when I began to work here and I never doubted it. I started out in many different roles, from PEIMS coordinator, business manager, special education director to assistant superintendent then to Superintendent in the 2013/14 school year. However, I was always just willing to take on any responsibility that was handed to me.  I guess that is one of my strengths.  I am not afraid of responsibility. I am also proud and grateful to be able to follow in the founder’s footsteps, who so happens to be my father. Although it has been challenging at times, it has also been very rewarding. I try hard not to look at the challenges, but to see the goal ahead. My goal is to continue to pursue excellence in everything we do and to build a strong team in all areas, especially in every classroom. When I go to campuses and visit classrooms, I look to see if it is a place I would want my own children to attend or learn in. That is my standard. I want every child to have a great learning opportunity, with loving teachers who care about them. I also look forward each year to seeing students walking across the stage as they receive their diploma. That is a great joy every year!

    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...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.

     

    Comments (-1)