Hampton Elementary School at 10 Central Avenue recently received word from the state Board of Education that it would receive a $275,000 charter planning and implementation grant to help it transition into Hampton Elementary Charter School.
Although the school’s new charter status will take full effect in the fall, planning of the program has been ongoing for about a year.
“A charter school is one that enters into an agreement with an educational board or authority to reach certain achievement levels in exchange for flexibility in various aspects of the school’s operation,” Henry County Schools spokesman J.D. Hardin said in a statement. “Many charter schools are brand-new schools, but several traditional schools are making the switch and becoming conversion charter schools.”
Immediate plans for the funds include purchasing supplies and materials for various classes and stations dedicated to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Cosmetology, science labs, computer skills, engineering, robotics, dance, percussion, chorus, advanced art, problem-solving, horticulture, and creative stitchery are a few of the examples of new classes that will be at STEAM Stations and provide project-based learning for students.
“Just like the first conversion charter school in the district, which was Hickory Flats Elementary in McDonough, Hampton Elementary Charter School will still remain a part of the Henry County school system, and attendance lines will not change,” Hardin said.
Principal Debbie Collins said the students are already proving they are up to the task of increased expectations and expects the conversion will be a positive for the community at large.
“The addition of STEAM programs to our curriculum has really increased our students’ performance on standardized testing like the CRCT,” she said. “Converting the school to a charter school has really been a community-wide effort and we’re incredibly excited for the flexibility and increased learning opportunities that this conversion will allow.”